Search This Blog

Friday, 21 April 2017

How to Handle Rejection

For those of us who self-publish (or rather publish independently of the mainstream publishers) rejection isn’t as much of an issue, at least not at the outset.

For us rejection comes too late. It comes when our book is published and available online through websites such as or where reviews by customers can be scathing. What about the buyers, your friends and family, of your first book who now are strangely reluctant to invest in your second?

For mainstream authors a rejection letter could be devastating. Jack London received over six hundred rejections letters but he went on to be the highest paid writer of his time. In his book On Writing Stephen King writes of the hundreds of rejection letters he received. He got pretty discouraged bout that; his short story Carrie was rejected so many times he finally threw it in the waste bin. Fortunately for him and his thousands of fans his wife rescued it, persuaded him to turn it into a novel and the rest, as they say, is history.

For an independently published writer we have no such discouragement and, on reading some self-published stuff one can only wish there was someone to pull the plug. Indies have to be especially careful and the best way to avoid the embarrassment of a badly written, badly formatted and badly presented book is to ask for help.

The very first step is to find a beta reader; one who is familiar with your genre and who is prepared to be honest – brutally so if necessary. The next step, after you’ve taken all your beta-readers points to heart – is to find an editor. Beta-readers don’t usually bother with the fine detail. They are looking at the bigger picture; structure, someone who can hypothetically put themselves into your reader’s shoes. They are not your granny or your mother or your best friend.

The second step is to find a good editor. This can be expensive but in the end is worthwhile. The editor may even be someone who is experienced in formatting your document so that it looks like a professionally produced book.

One very important part of your book is to have a professional book cover.  Joel Friedlander writes what is probably the best website for writers at He has a monthly newsletter of e-book designs. It’s a good site to check out for what works and doesn’t work on a book cover. Local designer, Bev Robitai of has consistently produced great covers for my books.

A lot to think about before you pop that book onto the Internet. Take heart, dear writer! There is light at the end of the tunnel. There are any number of people out there who will help you so that you don’t experience the equivalent of a rejection letter – egg all over your face via an irate reviewer on Amazon.

Jenny Harrison

No comments:

Post a Comment