- Send your query or story out again to someone else. Immediately. Before you even feel an emotional reaction.
- Talk to another writer or your critique group. Most of the time, writers are really excited for their fellow wordsmiths’ attempts at publication and are highly supportive and encouraging in the “low” times. They may even suggest additional markets or resources, or help you pinpoint issues with your query letter itself.
- Do something nice for yourself. After all, you put yourself out there – and you’ll keep putting yourself out there, right? Right??? – so reward your own efforts. Buy yourself dinner or a book or a movie (hold off on the good Scotch until you get an acceptance. Alcohol is a depressant, after all.)
- Remind yourself that better writers than you have been rejected. They stuck with it and got published, and so will you.
- Write back (but don’t send it). Say the publisher/agent wrote, “Sorry, I’m just not sure what to do with this piece. It just isn’t quite what I’m looking for.” Okay, so you can’t really respond and make a big joke out of the guy who wrote this to you, but you can pretend you’re writing back. “Dear sir, what you can do with this piece is PUBLISH it. I have to tell you how to do your job now? Okay, but I want extra royalties for that.” Again, don’t actually send something like that to anyone. Ever. They won’t find it funny.
- If you’ve sent the piece/query out to, say 25 places, and haven’t had any luck yet, it may be time to look it over and consider reworking it. You don’t want to rewrite everything every time you get a rejection, but at least look it over after a big chunk of “no”s and see if anything pops out at you that could be done better.
- Think of every rejection as one step closer to the time someone says, “YES! I want your story!” Above all, don’t let it get you down when you get turned down. It happens to everyone (well, almost everyone – but we know about those people who get accepted their first try, right? Deals with the devil never pay off in the end…!) Rejections are to writers what sandworms are to the dead people in Beetlejuice – everyone hates ’em, but you have to deal with ’em if you want to get out into the world. Learn how to use them to
defeat Beetlejuice get published.