Monday, 25 February 2013

A Rejection Can Become An Acceptance

There’s an excellent article in the latest issue of Writers’ Forum magazine (Issue 137) by Glynis Scrivens called Turning A No Into A Yes. In it, Glynis reveals how other writers have turned a rejection into an acceptance.

What I liked about the article, is that it demonstrates quite clearly how all of these other writers accept that rejection is part of the job. But these writers also demonstrated their job-like attitude to rejection and offered some ideas on how to turn the rejection into something more positive.

I say this, because over the weekend I was marking an assignment, and the student had said that he’d already submitted his article, and it had been rejected. He therefore knew I was going to say the article wasn’t very good, it was a bad idea, and was therefore he was wasting my time, but because he’d initially written it for his assignment, he thought he’d send it in anyway. 

Firstly, I was a little surprised that the student had submitted it before sending in his assignment. Timing wasn’t an issue, so why not let your tutor give you some feedback before you send out your work into the big wide world? Anyway, reading through his article, I could see how with a couple of small adjustments, he had a perfectly good piece here. His target market wasn’t quite right in my opinion (which is probably why his article had been rejected), but I suggested another market where it could work, and suggested ways in which he could tweak his idea to fit that new market.

This student was letting the first rejection be the end of the matter, and this needn’t be the case. The examples other writers gave in Glynis’s article offered some great ideas. One common theme struck me though - determination. None of these writers had given up at the first hurdle. One writer, Lynne Hackles, mentioned that the longest it took to sell a story was 30 years.

So, never let a rejection put you off. Yes, it can be disheartening, but it’s not the end of the world. There’s always something else you can do with your idea, or text. It might be a "No" now, but there could be a "Yes" just around the corner ... but only if you do something with that rejected text.

Good luck.


  1. For me, every rejection means a new story to be written and a new market to be found for the old story - doubling your chances.

  2. Sounds like the student was over eager to submit before the article was honed and the market research was done properly. We have all been there (well I have anyway)Take note you budding writers!

  3. It is well worth taking note of the wording of any rejection. Two queries I sent suggesting articles on a similar theme to different titles were both rejected with similar phrases - a bit too specialised for... magazine. A case of modifying the query methinks.

  4. Hi, Simon. I know of a certain former pupil of yours who did that a couple of times with varying results. And that same pupil has now turned several rejections into publications. You only learn by your mistakes, I guess.