Top 10 Phases of Author Rejection

I am delighted to welcome back a previous guest, Deborah Riley-Magnus, with another great Top 10 which I have no doubt will strike a chord with all you writers out there. Deborah is a writer and publicist and is a self confessed ‘writeaholic’. You can find out more about her at her excellent Deborah Riley-Magnus Writeaholic Blog and at all the places listed at the end of the post.

Check out her first guest post Top 10 Things Authors Worry About then read this list and you will get a real feel of the angst of the writing process!

I suppose this top ten can apply to all kinds of rejection for love or a job or even Facebook friendship, but I’m writing a Top Ten for the phases of rejection we writers and authors cope with. Trust me – if you know a struggling writer, take them out to dinner, buy them a bottle of tequila and pat them on the back every chance you get because they need it.

Big time.

In case you don’t know, a writer doesn’t just write the way a breather breathes or a laugher laughs. Some writers suffer through writing article after article and hope to have more articles accepted than rejected. Others write novels or nonfiction books. People, we’re talking about suffering through conceptualizing, plotting, writing, developing and editing a finished product of between 60,000 words and 120,000 words! (Most non-writers I know have difficulty not abbreviating their thirty word grocery list.) Needless to say, after facing and conquering all that – it’s time to shoot for the moon and begin the query process.

The query process? Shiver. That’s where you hand pick agents from hand picked literary agencies based on the genre you write and the preference and success rates of the agent. Then you literary pitch them. You take that 120,000 words and distill them down to perhaps 200 of the best to describe the power, excitement and attraction of your book. You send these out and wait. Then the rejections come in. Personally, I got over a hundred rejections and learned origami to spin some kind of pleasure into the whole process.

Here are the Top Ten Phases of Author Rejection based on my own personal experience. Methinks it applies to just about every writer out there.


Top Ten Phases of Author Rejection


1. Oh? Really? Huh. (That’s the first 10 rejections)

2. Huh? Did the first ten talk to the second ten? Are they all blind, or is this a conspiracy?

3. Uh, maybe I should look closer at who I’m querying?

4. It’s a horrible book and no one will ever buy it!

5. It’s an amazing book and someone is bound to see that! I just need to find the one seeing agent among all the blind ones!

6. I need a brownie and a week off.


7. Maybe it’s time to take some of the expert’s advice, do some Twitter and Facebook, blog and create a book website? Yeah, maybe I should do that. After all, agents do Google, don’t they?

8. OMG! Are the rejections getting nastier or are the agents getting more vocal. The last few rejections were not form letters. Maybe there are a few seeds of wisdom in there?

9. More Brownies. A mentor. A full re-plot and rewrite. Rethink the query letter. Re-examine the genre. Resume the query process. Pray.

10. Query 101 went out. More brownies and a membership with Weight Watchers may be in order.


Like I said, this is my personal story and now I get to talk about the good part. My 102nd query received a request for the full manuscript followed quickly by an offer of representation. Now, I humbly (and nervously) await the next success and do whatever my agent suggests to help him sell the novel to the perfect publisher. Hopefully soon I can write a Top Ten Ways to Celebrate Getting a Publishing Contract, LOL. Not sure but I will assume brownies and the Bahamas will be involved.


I fiction –
I write –
I play –
I cook –
I tweet –

I should be sooo tired!

Many thanks to Debbie for another entertaining Top 10

Photo Credit:1. Flickr 2. Flickr

  • Yep, I can relate! It’s a brutal process, but I keep telling myself it will all be worth it in the end. I also keep telling myself that I don’t write to get published, so why I am going through this agony? LOL Great post!

  • Yep, I can relate! It’s a brutal process, but I keep telling myself it will all be worth it in the end. I also keep telling myself that I don’t write to get published, so why I am going through this agony? LOL Great post!

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