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How many rejections does it take?

Writers who’ve been writing long enough know that rejection is as much a part of writing as weight training and conditioning is to an athlete. It’s just part of the process. A-listers get less rejection because they often generate so much revenue for publishers they can pretty much do what they want and the publisher will take it…pretty much. But rejection can hurt.

Rejection is tough for any writer but it is especially hard on young writers, or those just beginning their writing journey…just as conditioning is harder for an athlete when they first get started; it’s gets easier the longer they persevere. Although we know it in our brilliant writer’s heart that rejection isn’t personal, it feels that way. The form letters—which are more common than not—are the ones that hurt the most. We’ve taken the time to a)write the book, b)research the publisher and their product, c)find out who the/an editor is, d)write them a very personal letter explaining how great our book is and why they should want to buy it. So when the response comes back as a form letter…it hurts.

Ask any writer and they will tell you how excited they were when they discovered “a hand written note” at the bottom of a form rejection. It’s still a form rejection, but we feel that someone at least did notice us; that even though our voices are screaming out in the void, someone cared enough to hear that voice and acknowledge it.

Of course, some writers out there only submit once or twice, thus greatly diminishing their chances of acceptance. Depending on who you listen to or what/where you read, there’s some wild percentages that suggest you must submit (and thus receive rejections) X number of times before you get that acceptance. Some suggest the percentages are in the 90% and higher range. I don’t have any idea—that’s too much math for me. But when I think of rejections and acceptance, I’m reminded of the old lolly-pop commercial, you know, the one with the owl and the kid. The kid asks the wise owl how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop? The owl proceeds to give it a lick or two and then bites in.

So, how many acceptances does it takes to cancel out the multitude of rejections?


It only take one acceptance to cancel out the hurt of all the previous rejections…no matter how many there were.


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