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How NOT to Handle Rejection

Nobody likes rejection. Perhaps authors least of all. We’re delicate creatures. It’s that vulnerability and sensitivity that makes us able to touch the emotions of our readers.

Why then do we pursue a career so rife with devastating rejection--from agents, from publishers, from critics? Are we incurable masochists?


We’re expected to handle rejection with grace--you know, the same way the Academy Award losers smile politely and clap for the talentless hack who took the Oscar away from them when what they’d really like to do is either burst into tears, slap the winner silly, or yell things that would get them bleeped off the broadcast.

No, authors are all about the stiff upper lip. Some of us simply shrug, crumpling up rejection letters and tossing them over our shoulder. Some of us look hopefully to our friends and family for consolation and a lift back onto the treadmill. Some of us sink into a funk for three days--no more, no less--then come back to the computer with a vengeance and an “Oh yeah? Watch this!�? fire burning in our bellies.

Most successful authors have a stack of rejection letters from publishers. And I DO mean a stack. For some perverse reason, we hang onto them. (See? I told you we were masochists.)

I ceremoniously burned all of mine when I got my first contract.

Whatever we do, we’re not supposed to reply to rejection letters, other than with a polite “thank you for your consideration.�? Which is why the following video is so over-the-top hilarious. It’s from the British TV comedy series, “Black Books,�? starring Bernard Black, an anti-social bookshop owner and bitter aspiring author.

Turn up the volume and enjoy!




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