My First Official Rejection Letter

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After submitting to a number of literary magazines and journals, I finally received my first actual rejection letter. For some writers this might feel like a horrific failure, but I choose to see it as achieving a rite of passage.  Up to this point, the type of rejection I’ve learned to deal with is the “we’re ignoring you, no response, your work is in the trash” kind of rejection. That dead silence stings more than most new writers think, yet I credit it for helping me develop the thick skin required by the industry.

I consider my rejection letter a victory not only because it is the first, but also because it came in response to my poetry.  Over the last year and a half, I’ve steadily been writing poetry in the hopes of finding my voice in this medium.  Through the outlet of my blog, I’ve been able to share this journey which ultimately culminated in my first submission to a poetry journal.  I’m proud to say that my poetry made through at least two rounds of consideration on the first try.

To go from never sharing my poems with anyone to receiving an actual rejection letter for my efforts has ironically boosted my self-confidence as a writer.  I’m saving this letter much like an entrepreneur frames the first dollar and hangs it on the wall.

I’m going to frame this!

The letter may have sent my work to the cutting room floor, but it is also very encouraging.  Rather than focus on the negative, I’m keeping my eye on key phrases such as, “liked your work” and “please consider submitting again.”

In effect, my gratitude goes to Wordrunner eChapbooks.  The editors at this fine literary journal have catapulted me to the next level of my dream of getting published.

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c.b.w. 2012

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55 thoughts on “My First Official Rejection Letter

  1. I entered a little contest that offered a critique, and got back “Delightful” and “Wouldn’t change a word!” and “…talented…”. Of course, I didn’t even make the long list of honorable mentions LOL. You just cherish the good words and wait for your work to hit the right person at the right time. Keep writing

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  2. Sorry.
    That was a nice letter actually. It didnt appear to be a standard form letter. Maybe your poem just didnt fit with the theme they were going for this time. I kinda felt the way you did when I submitted a college essay for award, because I never feel my research is smart enough, but when I didnt win but made it to top three, I felt more confident.

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  3. I agree, the non-responses hurt more than a letter like this one. Be reassured that it had been under ‘careful consideration’ and rest assured, there are many who like, love, and appreciate your poetry, so it’s only a matter of time before someone snatches it up for their anthology. :)

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  4. I would think you would doing nothing less than what you’ve suggested! Of course a rejection letter is a rite of passage, and getting negative and icky about them and it only shadows the wonderful work you do. Thanks for being a bright spot in this industry :) Thanks for continuing to work on your art, focusing on the positive, and not being discouraged.

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  5. That’s a very nice rejection letter and I agree that it is saying they really like it but just didn’t fit as well as another one. Knowing you this will just give you more determination and that is Fantastic.

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  6. 12 Novels in 12 Months

    Congratulations for 3 reasons, C.B.,

    1. You made in impression worth an individualized letter and they want to keep the fledgling relationship open!

    2. You have put such a positive spin on it; nothing can deter you now!

    3. You’ve gotten valuable feedback from professionals in the field.

    I know I’m looking forward to getting some of these. It’s a rite of passage and I don’t think the experience of being a writer would be the same if getting published was a cake walk.

    You’re very inspiring.

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  7. Hey C.B.,

    Love your PERFECT attitude in receiving your first rejection (and welcome to the club!!!)

    Yeah, hang that baby up and admire it until you can hang another one next to it… your first sales contract :)

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  8. Well done :) Second round of consideration is great on your first try. I made my first submission, but received silence as a response :/ It does sting.

    Better luck next time :)

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  9. Heart To Harp

    Congratulations!!!!! As you said, your work was noticed and read and considered by real human beings, and not automatically consigned to the trash bin. People responded favorable to your poems, even tho they were not selected. And you met your goal to submit, which takes courage to do. I think framing it is a wonderful idea. It will remind you of all the things you faced and mastered to “earn” a rejection letter.

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  10. bravo, CB! I hardly ever submit my work, but years ago I did for a short story challenge. The rejection note back was so kind that I was elated! Now, if I do, it is just that silence…so, I wish I’d kept that first letter. Keep on keeping on ~ a

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  11. A friend of mine – an author with 40+ years experience – says you can’t consider yourself a “real writer” until you can wallpaper your bathroom with rejection notices. Personally, I think if you write, you’re are a “real writer,” but remain grateful my bathroom is small. : )

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  12. Congratulations and welcome to the club! The first rejection letter is definitely a right of passage. If there’s one thing I learned in my creative writing classes in college, it’s that rejection letters are like a red badge of courage. They may sting, but they’re proof that you’re willing to put yourself out there and at least get noticed enough to get a letter back. :)

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