I get a chuckle when I hear/read writers brag about their rejection letters. (Mostly read, as a general rule I don’t hang out with other writers)

“I’ve been rejected so many times I could wallpaper my room with them!”

That one’s a favorite because everyone uses it and it’s not in the least bit true.

Don’t get me wrong, rejection is part of the game just like the rest of life. There isn’t an abnormal amount of it unless you go looking for it. For the most part, though, you send your work to people you know who are going to like and appreciate it, and the threat of rejection is minimal and you hopefully build an audience with those handful of publications who think you shit gold. I’m sure no one is shocked by this. You most likely have your job/career because a buddy turned you onto it; writing is a job/career so the same rules apply. The main difference between being a plumber and a writer is that writers tend to be huge pussies who take criticism way too hard. More or less, if you’re smart, you avoid rejection like you do pain: At all costs.

No one’s ever accused me of being smart, and over the last nine or so months, I have actively sought out rejection and I’ve been submitting to literary journals and websites. At my peak, I had 110 pieces of writing out for submission, at my lowest–which is right now–I have 35, including 2 books.

Can you guess how many times I’ve been rejected in the last 9 months?

Yeah, all of it, except for five pieces.

And you know what, it ain’t all that bad. I can’t say I like it, but it’s not the end of the world, either. I am fully aware that I am submitting to new genres outside of the dark fiction community, I’m a stranger. The only solution to not being a stranger is write more, submit more, pretend to wallpaper my office with rejection letters, and become the guy who shit’s gold for a whole new group of people.


Afternoon Soundtrack: Juju By Wayne Shorter