How Many Rejections Before You Quit Writing?

Way back when I wrote the first book that I thought was ready to send out to a publisher--this was back in the days of typewriters, carbon paper, mailing a typed manuscript off in a box--I received nearly 30 rejections for that book.

Every time it came back (in the stamped self-addressed box I'd sent inside the larger box) I checked it over for mistakes, coffee and wine stains, retyped some pages, and sent it off to the next publisher on my list. Back in those days, there were lots to choose from.

Most of my rejectios letters were form letters, some had a scribbled, "Not for us," on it. Once in awhile a letter would come along with my manuscript with some helpful criticism.

About every 5th rejection, I'd not only retype the whole manuscript (it was pretty dog-eared by this time) and while I was retyping I was also rewriting--and learning along the way.

You probably think I was a bit on the nutty side to spend so much money on paper and postage and new boxes, to say nothing of the time I spent retyping the 500 page manuscript. Why did I do it? Because I thought I'd written a good book that I'd like others to read.

Nowadays, it is so much easier for an author to submit a manuscript and even easier for them to publish it themselves. But I have a feeling what I went through was probably the better way, because all the time I was learning more and more about writing.

It was 1981 when I received that first acceptance letter and nearly two years before the actual book came out.

Did my next book get accepted immediately? Heck no. I went through the same process. I don't remember what book was accepted next because you know what? I just kept writing. I wrote another book, and another, and another.

A few weren't all that good and never got published, but now I'm up to 35 published books. That wouldn't have happened if I'd let all those rejections discourage me.



Louis B Gill said…
Thanks Marilyn. Those are encouraging words, and to anybody with a manuscript it is very supportive.
M.M. Gornell said…
Marilyn, sharing your experiences is so helpful, it's so encouraging to writers who are sending out manuscripts--and your response to keep on writing is THE answer to so many author challenges.

(I also sent out more queries and manuscripts than I can count before getting my first "yes." What a struggle, but when you do get that first yes, it's so sweet...))
Debby Hanoka said…
Quitting writing, no matter how many rejections, just isn't an option. I enjoy it too much.

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