Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Should Rejection by a Publisher Be Praised ?

Traditional Publishing demands an author find an agent (some strangely lucky folk avoid this)—said agent to deal with various publishers and secure a contract for the author’s work.

Needless to say (?) — Traditional Publishing rejects more authors than they publish

This fact may be the primary driver of Self-Publishing.

However, of those lucky few who do (finally, after many, multiple rejections) get selected to make money for the Publishers, there are a sub-set who have a strange mental ability—RejectionPraise—claiming that an author’s worth can be directly correlated to how often they’ve been rejected.


Is the author in the image doing a victory scream or are they experiencing RejectionRage?

The Atlantic magazine has an article called Writers Shouldn’t Romanticize Rejection.

That article has this sentence:

“Time and time again, the literary establishment seizes on the story of a writer who meets inordinate obstacles, including financial struggles, crippling self-doubt, and rejection across the board, only to finally achieve the recognition and success they deserve.”

Just a bit later, the article says:

“This arc is the literary equivalent of the American Dream, but like the Dream itself, the romantic narrative hides a more sinister one.”

And, that sentence is swiftly followed by:

“Focusing on how individual artists should persist in the face of rejection obscures how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few, often in a fundamentally unmeritocratic way.”

“…how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few…”

Naturally, Traditional Publishing is a Business and how various organizations within it are set up depends on how much money is being made.

The truly weird thing is that there are other organizations dedicated to accepting all authors, paying them all a decent royalty, and still making money for the founders

The Atlantic article goes on to treat, in detail, how writers of color are rejected disproportionately more often—it’s worth a thorough read

If you want a weirdly mixed-bag of opinions about rejection, check out the Aerogramme Writers’ Studio article, 12 Famous Writers on Literary Rejection.

In 2011, Joe Konrath wrote the article, The List, A Story of Rejection.

He begins with:

“…I garnered more than 500 rejections before getting published.”

Then he relates how his book, The List, was rejected by Ballantine Books, Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, Talk Miramax Books, Doubleday, Little, Brown and Company, Hyperion, New American Library, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, William Morrow, Warner Books, Pocket Books, and St. Martin’s Press.

By the way, if you go to the full article, you can read all those rejections

Joe goes on to say:

“In April of 2009, I self-published The List.”

Which is followed by an extremely enlightening sentence:

“As of this writing, December 26, 2011, The List has earned me over $100,000.”

I’m hearing an echo from that article from The Atlantic—“…how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few…”

That “system” is still making scads of money; but, so are thousands of self-published authors who never suffered from rejection

However, before anyone thinks that Self-Publishing is a magic road to a self-sufficient writing career, my post, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?, should be carefully studied………
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One response to “Should Rejection by a Publisher Be Praised ?

  1. Pingback: New Year’s Resolutions from a Very Successful Author | Notes from An Alien

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