I keep seeing these consolatory things about “Here’s a bunch of famous writers who got rejected! Keep trying!” and I have such mixed feelings.
On the one hand, yeah man. Everyone gets rejected in the biz. The fact is, it’s a business. Not everyone is going to want to/has the resources to invest money in you, so you’re gonna get some rejections along the way. And yeah, some of the most famous artists got rejected because their work was just so crazy that people thought it was too big of a risk to invest in, but then eventually it got out there and the crazy was what made it so great to begin with.
ON THE OTHER HAND, just because a lot of famous people got rejected but ultimately became famous doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your rejection. OK? Like… if you get a rejection, don’t just shrug and assume you’re perfect and it’s all a matter of taste. I mean, it might be. I’m not trying to be pessimistic. Maybe you are perfect and crazy and it’s just a matter of time.
Most likely, though, your project was rejected for a reason. Now, I’m not saying the reason isn’t subjective, or objective, or stupid, or well founded. But acknowledging that people have reasons for rejections is a really important part of eventually getting an acceptance.
It takes a lot of discernment and heavy thinking, of course. Because maybe an editor says your book was too long, so they rejected it. Well, maybe that editor is wrong. Or maybe your book is too long! Or maybe a little bit of both. Or maybe neither. But still, maybe they were RIGHT. Maybe there’s something there.
So like, saying “so and so was rejected by a major publisher but look at them now!” sounds nice on the “don’t give up” front but it also sort of obliterates all the hard work and leveling up that so and so probably did in between the rejection part and the look at them now part.
I guess what I’m trying to say is everyone gets rejected but the people who finally make it are the ones who are realistic and practical about the process and use rejection as an opportunity to identify blind-spot issues in their work.