Why Rejection Sucks, From Both Sides

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in REUTS | 3 Comments

It may seem silly for a member of a publishing company to gripe about how much rejecting manuscripts sucks. Having been on both sides of the email, I feel I have a new perspective that needs to be shared. One I wish I didn’t have to be a part of in either situation, but unfortunately that’s the name of the publishing game.

As an author, seeing a rejection pop up in your inbox feels like someone has taken a weapon (sharp or blunt, your choice) straight to the baby you carried, nursed and watch grow up for months, maybe even years on end. Like someone’s bludgeoning the spirit out of you limited supply of hope. I know. If I were to return to my querying inbox, you’d find one after another after another– from agents and publishers alike– stating why they didn’t believe in my story, why they didn’t believe in me. And. It. Hurt. What’s worse? There’s nothing you can do or say after hearing “no thank you”. Being an author, I learned you had to develop thick skin quick, and come to the realization that each no meant I was one step closer to a yes (at least, I would hope and pray)…

You’re probably thinking right now, “Ashley, you’re preaching to the choir,” I know. But (there’s always a but…) just keep in mind that every member of REUTS, and specifically our Acquisitions Team, have been authors– first and foremost– and are more than familiar with the pain and heartache a rejection can cause.

I never thought it would hurt as much from the sender’s point of view.

The problem (and beauty, you might say) of REUTS has come to be our relationship with our submitters on multiple different social platforms. As one of the team members who mans the official REUTS Twitter account (@REUTSpub), I have conversations, laugh and joke with, offer support/advice/an ear, and more with so many of our Twitter followers. It’s great! The Twitter writing community is booming, and we’re so excited to be a part of it (and thankful we’ve been so welcomed in)!

But what this means down the line is the very high possibility and reality of having to reject manuscripts from those individuals we’ve developed relationships with. It’s not because we don’t like you, don’t like your manuscript, or don’t believe in you. So many different factors go into a manuscripts final decision: genre, directed age group, word count, writing style, story plot, etc… and there’s a sweet spot with all our team members where a manuscript has the perfect balance and is offered a contract.

For example, you may have an intriguing plot with sparkling prose, in a genre we’re looking to publish, but if it falls outside of the YA / NA age group, you may receive a rejection.

Or, because we’re a small company, your manuscript may not fit into our production timeline, either forcing us to release a novel too soon and too similar to a previously contract author, or just not having all the man power necessary to put it through production.

We look into so many factors before deciding one way or another. We fight internal and external battles within one another when determining which manuscripts seem to fit into our collection, which we can help the most, and which the industry is interested in reading.

But with any and every moment we have to send a rejection to someone we’ve genuinely become friends with, it hurts. We never want to cause the same pain we’ve all experienced. And the roles reverse to where it becomes our turn to hope and pray. We’re hoping and praying our (hurtful, dagger-piercing) email doesn’t make you hate us, doesn’t make the relationship we look forward to seeing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc… disintegrate. Just because we reject a manuscript doesn’t mean it won’t find a home elsewhere. We’re often rooting for that to happen as much as the author is. Because we still believe in them, even though we had to say no to that specific project.

In conclusion: Rejection sucks. Plain and simple. There’s no easy way around it, no magical formula to separate the emotions from the business. It just all around sucks. We love the new friends we’ve made, and hope REUTS can help you step towards publication, even if it may not be with us. We’re here and want to help– and that definitely does not suck.

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  1. WHY REJECTION SUCKS | sarahremy
    October 6, 2013

    […] Love this blog post by Ashley Ruggirello of Reuts Publication. No matter how you slice it, rejection sucks. But Ashley reminds us that there are real human beings on the other side of those ‘thanks-but-no-thanks’ emails. […]

  2. Kathy Steinemann
    October 6, 2013

    Informative viewpoint, Ashley. “Rejection sucks. Plain and simple.” I know that as a former employer who has had to fire a couple of people, I didn’t enjoy delivering bad news. I guess you feel the same way about rejecting manuscripts. I don’t envy you your job.

  3. Athina
    October 7, 2013

    Well, you’re right. Even if I haven’t send anything yet, since I am struggling with editing, I know how hard it is to feel rejected.
    I have my fair share of amount during my editing process, since I’m in a critique circle. Some like what they read, some don’t, but that’s just taste. Everyone has a different opoinion and that’s the beauty. I imagine that for a publishing company this is harder since you guys have to keep up with the market too.
    Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

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