If a publisher’s ever rejected your writing, you’re probably familiar with the doubt and self-questioning such a rejection can create.
Since publishers seldom give their reasons for rejecting our work, we writers have made an (unpaid) industry out of trying to discover the reasons for ourselves.
In my post, Rejected Writing, I shared a piece I wrote that More Magazine online had rejected. I promised to let you know what I felt were the reasons behind the rejection.
Publishers take a pass on most writing because the work is poor. I don’t think that’s why mine was unacceptable. I know how to write—and More online published a different essay I wrote, “After Burnout, a New Career Helping Writers.”
Although the More editors might disagree with me, here are the reasons I think the piece was (justifiably) rejected.
Reasons for Rejection
• More Magazine is all about reinvention. My “Hot Flashes and the Fashionable Woman” wasn’t. It’s not a story of how I went from being one way to how I became another way. And those are the types of stories More is renowned for.
• My piece is not an essay. It’s an article—or more accurately, a “service piece.” (A service piece is an article that provides practical advice and resources for living.)
• More has published lots of articles about managing hot flashes. Mine was just another one. Why would they need it?
Takeaways for Writers
If this reasoning is correct, there’s a simple lesson in this rejection. It’s that we must analyze the publications we want to see our work in and target our writing accordingly.
Please leave a comment to share what you learned from a publisher’s (or agent’s) rejection. Thanks!
Darah Zeledon says
Lynette, it can be quite discouraging to modify each piece we write to fit in with a particular pub. I, personally, don’t have the patience or time or gumption to do it. I prefer to simply target those that publish my types of essays, which are usually NOT “service pieces.” I know it is an uphill battle; certainly the informative tip-giving ones are most popular, but I cannot write that way– that often. What is your advice about that? Should I change my style to “fit in” or only go after the ones that appreciate my particular writing style?
Lynette Benton says
Absolutely just target the pubs that are right for your type(s) of writing.
I didn’t follow my own advice. Didn’t think ahead. I just had this thing I wanted to say, so I said it, without thinking it never would be published in that particular pub.
This is a great post. It’s good to get away from the “emotionality” of being rejected to the practical reasons – so that we can change what we are doing. I also learned a new piece of language – “service piece”. Your blog always helps me learn something that ultimately will allow me to get published more. Thanks!