Have you met your rejection quota?

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world for material to help other writers. Today I ask the important question: have you met your rejection quota yet?

Most people think of rejection as an entirely undesirable occurrence. A nasty fact of life that we should avoid as much as possible.

But did you know that rejection can also help you get published faster?

A recent post published by Nina Amir takes exactly that premise. Under the headline, “How to meet your rejection quota so you get published,” she describes the benefits, not the detriments of rejection.

In her post, she shares the rejection rates of some famous and highly successful authors. Did you know, for example, that

  • J.K. Rowlings was rejected 12 times before selling Harry Potter.
  • Stephen King was rejected 80 times before selling Carrie.
  • Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected 134 times before selling Chicken Soup for the Soul.
  • C. S. Lewis was rejected 800 times before selling The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before selling Gone With the Wind.

Amir continues with the following story:

“I once heard author Canfield offer some great advice about rejection. He told a room full of writers: “Imagine you are at a school dance, and you want to ask someone across the room to dance with you, but you are afraid you will get rejected. Suppose you avoid that ‘no’ by not walking across the room and posing the question. In that case, you are still in the same situation. Nothing has changed. You still have no one with whom to dance. But if you walk across the room and ask someone to dance, and they decline your offer, what then? Nothing is different. Your circumstance has not changed. You still are sans a dance partner.”

“Simply said, you lose nothing if you ask and get turned down…but you might gain acceptance by making that effort and sending out your query letter.

“The other thing he said—since he was talking to a group of writers—was this: “If you send a query letter to an agent or editor and it is rejected, just tell yourself, ‘I must have sent it to the wrong person. I’ll send it to the correct person next time.’ ”

Don’t fear rejection. Fear not getting enough rejection.

Scroll to Top