Thicken your skin – sharpen your resolve (2)

Since 2009, I’ve collected more than 120 rejections from publishers for short stories, novellas and novels I’ve written. 120 plus rejections!

Every would-be writer gets rejected; it’s part of the job. I think that if you want to be a good writer, be published and paid for it, you have to also be a not-so-good-writer. Let me explain. You have to learn how to be better and the only way to do that, in my humble opinion, is to occasionally feel the sting of rejection. Even Stephen King was rejected many times – and look at him now! To quote Batman Begins … “Why do we fall Bruce?”

To be rejected is also to know the elation of the moment when one of your stories is accepted. 120+ rejections since 2009 is a lot, yeah, but during that time I’ve also had three novellas published, with a fourth on the way this Halloween. By accepting rejection, I’ve put in the effort and strived to write better and it’s paid off.

Just last week a story that had been shortlisted for an Australian magazine, but didn’t make the final cut, was picked up for an anthology, edited by James Ward Kirk (more details on that soon). The week before, another story I wrote, which was short-listed for Blood Bound Books’ Night Terrors III anthology, was ultimately knocked back. It was disappointing yeah, but I reminded myself that you have to take the good with the bad, because if you don’t you’re always tempted to chuck it in. I could have done that with rejection #1, but I chose not to and slowly, things are happening. The other thing to remember too, is that while your story might not be right for one editor, it doesn’t mean the next editor won’t pick it up.

Right now I’ve got six stories out there in ether, being read for anthologies or magazines. I don’t hold much hope that all of them (or any of them for that matter) will be accepted, but just to know that I’m being read – being considered – being shortlisted – is enough to keep me going, keep me writing.

So whenever I get a rejection I just add it to the tally, resubmit or rewrite and ponder the next tale.

Read my previous post about reviews

About darkscrybe

Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia. Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum) and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications). He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013. He is also the current President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association. Greg lives in Rockhampton with his wife and their two daughters. * Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Hollow House (2016) and Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, for “The Book of Last Words” (2019)
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