Positive feedback, but rejected by publishers or writing contest

It’s easy to get discouraged if you submit your work to a publisher or contest and receive a rejection. The truth is that because of the large number of submissions to any worthy publisher or contest, there will be at least several other very worthy books, stories, essays, or poems submitted at the same time, so this is a numbers game that all of us have to play. But what if, though rejected, you receive some positive feedback? By this I don’t mean vague, general praise but something specific about your writing.

Don’t give up

I just finished judging a literary contest for a nonprofit press on whose board I sit. The executive editor wrote specific praise to a writer in a prior contest that encouraged her to resubmit. I ended up picking the book this year even though I had no idea that the author had submitted previously (this was a blind submission process). If the author had given up, her book would not have been selected for publication.

Move forward

This is a concrete example of following through on any professional advice you receive. I think that editors and publishers generally don’t hand out advice just to make writers feel better—I don’t, and that includes advice for my many great clients. We all want the best writing to see the light of day.

Hire a professional editor to get professional feedback

As writers (and editing consultants hired by those writers) we need to focus on moving forward. Even if you don’t receive specific praise from a possible publisher, don’t interpret that omission as anything other than the result of a large workload. Working directly with an editing consultant gives you the opportunity to have someone focus on your writing needs and goals.

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