Book News, On Writing

A Rejection Acceptance

Savor the failure.
Savor the failure.

I am intimately acquainted with rejection. As I sometimes like to report, I received 114 rejections on various picture book manuscripts before I was given a contract for Sarah Gives Thanks. In the months since Sarah was published, I’ve gotten about a 100 more. Getting an agent earlier this year has also allowed me to get rejections from publishers that do not normally look at unrepresented manuscripts.

Long story short, I understand rejection quite well, thank you.

So, last year, when I learned that Cairn Press was seeking submissions for an anthology on rejection, I thought, “I need to get an essay in that book. I need to.”

And I did!

Blood on the Floor is a collection of fiction, poetry, and essays about writers trying (and often failing) to grab the brass ring. Sometimes funny, occasionally poignant, and always inspirational, Blood on the Floor is the perfect holiday gift for the scribe in your life. Get a copy now! Pair it with booze.

72 thoughts on “A Rejection Acceptance”

  1. Celebrate! Pop a cork! You rock! Oh, wait. Are we really celebrating an acceptance of rejection? You betcha! Otherwise, the corks would b few and far between. But today we get to pop two corks, one for each end of the spectrum. You’ve made my day. Very nice Christmas present. Cheers!

  2. Mike, dahlink. I hate “un” words. I think we should start a campaign: “Just say ‘mais non’ to un-words.” Nix unfortunately, unhappily, unable, or maybe we should also nix regrettably, sadly, not right for, and of course the responses that begin “give it up already you sorry excuse for a writer.” What do you think? Maybe we could start a movement?—oh, don’t go down that scatological road, my friend.

  3. Congrats! Sending some virtual band-aids and daisies your way. Question–is it technically a rejection when you don’t here from the publisher\editor\agent after the prescribed six weeks? Is limbo considered rejection?

    1. No need for either virtual band-aids or daisies, but I thank you.

      In regard to your question, finding a publisher or an agent who can make up his mind in six weeks is as rare as a hen’s tooth. I would double the prescribed time before considering yourself “rejected.”

      And yes, limbo is a rejection. A wussy, cowardly rejection. You don’t want to work with a wussy coward, do you? You are too good for that, Ms. Muse.

      1. I am in limbo with an agent at present. Seven weeks and nada. I’m getting ready to audition for another agent. My mindscape engages to a scene where I get ready to hit send and the first agent calls me and says, “Wait, wait–I just found your manuscript. Pick me. Pick me.” Or some such delusional funundrum. And thanks for the vote of confidence😎

      2. Oh, I know I should but get caught up in that old dilemma of if I tell them it’s multiple then they will ignore it. My solution is to send lots of various projects all over.

  4. Hey, Mike, how cool is that! And I’m betting your entry is a humorous one 🙂 If I drank, I might heed that suggestion, but I’m mostly a “water” kinda gal, though I’d imagine a stiff 7&7 would probably help the rejections at this point! 😉

      1. lol, Mike 🙂 Aside from the fact that I’ve never really enjoyed the taste of liquor (though I used to enjoy a very rare sombrero or cream liqueur a bit, a zillion years ago), my brain is such that I’m pretty much the equivalent of “under the influence” all the time anyway! lol

      1. You just sent my brain in a spiral. First, thank you! Second, do you measure farting distance in metric terms? Third, is it unfair to measure the distance after eating baked beans? And so many more questions!!

  5. Hi Mike, This is Shirley from Baltimore. I have a poem, “The Dark Side,” in the upcoming anthology. Looks like a gem from what I’ve read so far. Enjoyed your blog post!! Rejections are jam stains on the tablecloth of life but, oh, how great when even one acceptance arrives! Thanks for sharing your story, and I like the booze part!

  6. As a writer, I feel dejected because I have not allowed myself to ramp up the rejections. Writers like you – who are not as thin-skinned as me – are the successful ones. You know your writing and your ideas and your stories are good, and you send them out for the pea-brained-ones to reject, hoping hoping hoping that someday a true original thoughtful intelligent person-called-agent will see the writing well of wonderful words and bring you into his/her fold. I, on the other hand, am a sensitive, nail-biting, procrastinating hide-my-head-in-my-own-well kind of writer. I have not yet had the strength to cover my writing wall with rejections. But you shall inspire me to try, I know that.
    Congrats on getting your essay in the book – I think a lot of us will enjoy reading it!

  7. Congratulations, Mike! Hopefully this opens a door. On the cover of that book, among those slips of paper with snippets of rejection phrases should be “We will not be publishing…” and “We cannot use…” — hahahaha! These are the ones I have ‘relished’.

      1. Yes! I would like that very much! I’ll email you with ideas — I’m thinking perhaps January 10th or 11th — sometime the week of January 12th, when x-mas and new year hysterics have calmed 🙂 — I’ll email you — I have some ideas.

  8. I made it to the sprout story and was about to leave before seeing that another post had sneaked in to the top that I also nearly missed! (I’m not keeping up well with blogging at the moment). Anyway, fantastic news, who knew that being so adept at getting rejections would pay off! Congrats to you my friend 🙂

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