Claire Gallagher

Claire Gallagher | April 12, 2024



You Are Not Alone

Most people experience rejection when querying. Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, got so many rejections she ended up self-publishing. Now, over 45 million copies have been sold world-wide. Rudyard Kipling was told that he didn’t know how to use the English language. F. Scott Fitzgerald was told he’d have a decent book if he got rid of that Gatsby character. J.K. Rowling was advised to get a day job. Stephen King famously pinned his rejection letters to the wall. Sylvia Plath said: “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”


It Only Takes One ‘Yes’

Rejection can hurt, especially in the early days of querying until your skin thickens. Time and again, I hear interviewed authors say that perseverance is key. It’s okay to get demoralised sometimes – we’re human after all – but if writing is your passion, don’t give up! Take a break if you need to. Perhaps write another book while you’re querying, or when you feel like you’re getting nowhere with the current book and you’ve exhausted all possibilities. So many authors do not get their first book published or even their second, third etc. Writers write, so write!



I wrote my first novel when I was twenty-seven. I was forty-one when I was offered representation by a literary agent. That book has been rejected several times by publishers (and counting). I’ve written a book and a half since I got my agent. One of these days, the right book might land in the right editor’s inbox. It may take another fourteen years, but so what? I write for the joy of it, the joy of creating characters, their world and their story. If it takes a long time, it doesn’t matter. I’ll be writing regardless.


Final Thoughts

If you feel comfortable sharing, what’s your experience of rejection?

How do you deal with it?

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