Monday, November 23, 2009


Remembering Rejections

On The Muffin, we've posted about rejections before. As a writer, you've probably heard all the standard rejection advice: personal rejections are good, a rejection is at least a response, and everybody gets rejected.

That's what I want to focus on today--during Thanksgiving week--

Everybody gets rejected!

I received an e-mail over the weekend, reminding me of this fact, and I thought it would be great to share it with my fellow women writers as a reminder not to give up, not to see one rejection as the end of your career. Look at this list:

Dune by Frank Herbert – 13 rejections

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 14 rejections

Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis – 17 rejections

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 18 rejections

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – 29 rejections

Carrie by Stephen King – over 30 rejections

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 38 rejections

A Time to Kill by John Grisham – 45 rejections

Louis L’Amour, author of over 100 western novels – over 300 rejections before publishing his first book

John Creasy, author of 564 mystery novels – 743 rejections before publishing his first book

Ray Bradbury, author of over 100 science fiction novels and stories – around 800 rejections before selling his first story

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – rejected so universally the author decided to self-publish the book

So, when you open your mailbox and see the thin envelope OR open the e-mail and see, "Thank you for your submission but. . .", remember this list, don't give up hope, and be thankful that you can go back to the drawing board.

Happy Writing!
Margo Dill
Read These Books and Use Them

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Friday, July 10, 2009


Friday Speakout: Will the Truth Really Set You Free?, Guest Post by Michelle Dwyer

Will the Truth Really Set You Free?

by Michelle Dwyer

I’ve wiped out many a box of tissues because of rejection. Rejection. Those emails with the subject line that reads: Re: Submission. Like most writers, I open the file with a sliver of hope, in the off-chance, that it is a yes. Who am I kidding? Before long, my mind starts telling me that I suck.

But now I know: That is simply not the case. Through critique groups and personal connections with other authors, I realize that the rejections are coming from my nonfiction work. Why? My niche rests in writing for a casual audience, not the starched suits that want to know about the latest in anti-virus technology or stock options.

For some reason, I felt the need to submit work to the business world, as if its approval made me good. However, after receiving feedback, I did some self-analysis (Maslow would be proud), and discovered that when I write my nonfiction pieces, I’m simply not passionate about them. They don’t evoke the emotions that my fiction stories have always done.

I love romance, chance happenings, personal growth, and sex. The stories, characters, and climaxes (pardon the pun), that come from my heart bring me to life, and allow me to create the wonder that is fiction.

So how did I end up writing about investing in the manufacturing industry and not about two people making love on the kitchen table? Answer: A warped sense of success. I saw others excel with their nonfiction work, and by golly, I was determined to be like them. How come their works were selected and not mine? For a brief time, I thought they were better than me.

It took some validation from peers for me to understand that I shine at fiction, and that I need to ease up on nonfiction. “But I’m an MBA,” I used to tell myself. “I must write articles that tell the truth.”

No. My MBA will come in handy with the business side of publishing, but my knack for creating a good story will always give me peace.

Don’t get me wrong, aspiring writers (and I am still very much aspiring) need to keep trying and never give up. I just think that all of us have a forte. Mine is creative writing. And now that I know my own truth, I will submit nonfiction pieces every now and then, while trying to hone the craft. But I won’t cry a river when I get rejected.

And now I can go back to working on my novels and other short stories. The ones I’ve neglected due to my misplaced effort at finding validity through real-life.

Who knows? I might just get an offer.

Michelle studied writing in high school and longed to become an author. But circumstances arose, causing her to join the military instead. However, she never gave up. She enrolled in writing school, finished her first crime novel, and will achieve her MBA this fall. She writes as Krymzen Hall at


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


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Sunday, May 03, 2009


Your Cinderella Story Can Come True

When you were a little girl, did you ever dream about being Cinderella? You know, playing and singing with the mice and the birds, finding your Prince Charming, and showing those ugly stepsisters that you really were the special one. I know I did--I wanted my own fairy godmother, too. "Bippity-Boppity-Boo!"

Last month, a teacher friend asked me to come and talk to her students about what a "real" writer does. One question she wanted me to answer was, "How much do you write that actually never gets published?" Boy, she was asking the right person! So, while preparing my talk, I decided to include information about how many rejections I had received and how many of my picture book stories were still searching for a home, and so on. But would fourth graders be impressed with my statistics? So, I wanted to find the perfect Cinderella story to wow them and show them that you should never give up on your words.

J.K. Rowling has a great Cinderella story, and she would be somebody that the kids knew had been wildly successful. The story is that J.K. Rowling was a single mom, living on state benefits while she wrote the first Harry Potter manuscript. She got her idea in 1990, wrote for five years (sketching out the other six books, too), and a publisher finally accepted it in 1996 after being turned down by several large publishing companies because the book was too complex for kids! She did have an agent that believed in her--so even with an agent, the rumor is she was rejected 12 times by publishing companies. And you know the rest of this Cinderella story--she is now reported to be worth over 1 billion dollars.

When J.K. Rowling sat in coffee shops writing her novel, do you think she thought she would see Harry Potter on the big screen some day? Really? Sure, we all dream, but we also know that it's tough work. Here are her words explaining this time (from an interview on-line): "I had lots of rejections. But I expected everyone to reject me, so I was already braced for failure. However, I loved Harry so much that I just wanted to get him into print whatever the cost in emotional energy," she said. (From Accio Quote! website)

So, what does all this Harry Potter and Cinderella stuff have to do with you? Well, you really could be the next Cinderella story, couldn't you? With hard work, perseverance, and determination, you could see your beloved characters charming millions of readers. Believe it! And remember. . ."A dream is a wish that your heart makes. . ." (from Cinderella)

Happy writing!
Margo Dill
Read These Books and Use Them! (blog)
photo by Raymond Brown

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