Do You Know a GOOD Rejection When You See One?

I’m amazed at
the number of beginning writers I talk to who have no idea there’s such a thing
as a good rejection. Those new to the industry have the idea that
no is no and there’s nothing good about it.
Nothing could
be further from the truth.
And if you spend
much time in the industry you’ll discover there are varying levels of no. Today
I’ll let you in on some positive rejections you may (hopefully) run into.
  • The
    Worst Good Rejection is One With a Personal Note.
    Let me assure you that editors do not have
    time to write personal notes to go with everything they reject. Any time an
    editor takes time to encourage a writer, especially one they aren’t going to
    publish, IT’S A BIG DEAL. And you should be encouraged that you’re doing
    something right.
  • Next on the
    Good Rejection Ladder is One that Turns You Down But ask if They Can Keep Your
    Name on File.
    editors don’t ask that of every writer they come in contact with. Frequently
    editors reject a piece, not because it’s not well-written, but because they
    just can’t use it. They may have published something similar in the recent past
    or just not have a place for what you submitted. But if you’re asked if they
    can keep your name on file this means they like your writing. And that’s a GOOD
  • Further
    up on the Good Rejection Ladder is One Where the Editor asks Permission to Pass
    the Piece  or Your Name to another Department.
    Again, editors don’t put their reputations
    on the line for writers they don’t think can write. If an editor asks if they
    can pass your name along, say YES, and then CELEBRATE!
  • At the
    very Top of the Good Rejection Ladder is One With Suggestions.
    Sometimes an editor will send you a
    rejection and ask you to make some changes and resubmit. This should cause you
    to do a happy dance. No editor is going to take the time to tell you what they
    want if they don’t really want you to resubmit it. When this happens, don’t
    just be encouraged. Sit yourself in front of the computer and make those
    changes—then RESUBMIT it!

These are just
a few of the good rejections you can run into. And I don’t want anyone to pass
up the chance to celebrate! Now it’s your turn, if you’ve had a good rejection,
share the story in the comments section below.
Edie Melson is the author of four books, as well as a freelance editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. Her popular blog, TheWrite Conversation, reaches thousands of writers each month, and she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her bestselling ebook on social media has just been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media& Networking Techniques for Writers. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy and the social media director for Southern Writers Magazine. You can connect with Edie through Twitter and Facebook.