Rejection is all part of the business of being a writer. It is something we all have to learn to manage in our own way, though I don't think anyone ever reaches a point where it doesn't affect them.
One way to manage the feelings of being rejected is to remember that EVERY SINGLE WRITER HAS EXPERIENCED IT. I remember reading an interview of Toni Morrison where she was asked how does it feel to be such a good writer that she was past rejection. She said that on the day she learned she'd won the Nobel for Literature, she received a rejection letter from a small lit journal saying the writing wasn't good enough.
So we all have to learn to manage it.
Below is a small list of rejections to keep it all in perspective:
- Madeline L’Engle’s book, A Wrinkle in Time, was turned down 29 times before she found a publisher.
- C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.
- Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was rejected by 25 publishers.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times.
- Johathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 40 times.
- Louis L’Amour was rejected over 200 times before he sold any of his writing.
- The San Francisco Examiner turned down Rudyard Kipling’s submission in 1889 with the note, “I am sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just do not know how to use the English language.”
- An editor once told F. Scott Fitzgerald, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby Character.”
- The Dr. Seuss book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected for being “too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant selling.”
- George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected with the comment, “It’s impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”
- The manuscript for The Diary of Anne Frank received the editorial comment, “This girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.”