Rejection is good for all writers. They are a rite of passage, a learning experience, and more often that we’d like to admit, sometimes unrelated to the quality of the work.

The competitive nature of publishing can be discouraging at times. It’s a long process of stepping on pins and needles while trying to find a clear path. It doesn’t get any easier. My first rejection was a form letter. I’ve received many more since then. I could paper walls with rejection letters and the number of personal rejections is so small I can count them on my hands.


This is part of the process. With every acceptance comes at least 5 or 10 rejections. You hit a point where acceptances are pleasant surprises. But the more you work and the more you submit, the less your confidence is destroyed by the “we’re sorry but your story was not a good fit” responses.

This summer has been kind to me. I’ve had a piece published each month and the next one comes out on the 15th. the anticipation of receiving reader feedback is terrifying as well, but it’s a different kind of anxiety because even if it is not as well-received as you would like, it was still good enough for the editor. And that’s the kicker.

Editors are people. Publications are run by humans. Some slush readers give different works more of a chance than others. Get to know the publications you enjoy and submit to them again and again. Read their issues whether or not you get in.

reading mag

People remember names. They grow relationships with writers who have positive attitudes and present themselves with a professional manner. Never ever send an editor a heated email in response to a rejection.

I am glad to say the thought has never occurred to me. Unfortunately I have heard too many stories from editors who were outraged at a writer for taking a rejection personally. Rejections are NOT personal. Sure some people just don’t vibe well together, but even so, put your energy into your work not a petty attack against someone in the business.

It took me a while to realize that I could even respond. In my early days I revered editors so much that I shook while hitting send on any submissions. You get over that. And eventually you grow enough of a respect for the process that replying to a rejection with a simple “thank you” can be empowering.

dean thank you

Because we should thank everyone who rejects us. Anyone who gives up after a rejection wasn’t ready or willing to put in the work. The rest become authors.