Ten Levels of Rejection (And What to Do About Them)

This fantastic blog post about literary rejections came across my feed last week and I’ve been meaning to share it with you. It reminded me of my own blog post about rejection from a few years back, but writer and Bartleby Snopes editor Nathaniel Tower has some great new takes on the subject, and loads of good, practical advice. Worth a read if you’re a writer.

Juggling Writer

In the past six years, I have been rejected almost 700 times. That’s an average of about 1 rejection every three days. At this point, you’d think I’d be completely immune. I should at least be an expert on rejection. Why then do I keep getting rejected?

Literary magazines can be pretty fickle. They are certainly picky, and it’s not always easy rejected by lit magsto figure out what works and what doesn’t. And since there are limited spots, rejection is inevitable no matter how good of a writer one is. Even the best writers still get rejected on a regular basis.

So what does rejection mean and what exactly should you do about it? Not all rejection is equal. Here are the 10 levels of rejection (with actual rejection letter samples) and what you should do about them.

Disclaimer: Most editors are good people and are just trying to do a service…

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Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

4 thoughts on “Ten Levels of Rejection (And What to Do About Them)

  1. Honestly, the more you get accepted, the less significant these rejections get.

    I haven’t actually sent anything to a magazine for more than two years. This is mainly due to my own writing, publishing, editing work over that period, plus I spent most of 2012 composing ‘I am not a fish’, which was all brand-new poetry for a specific publisher. I can’t remember when I received my last rejection slip. Funnily enough, I was lying in bed last night thinking that I must get back in the swing of submitting poetry…

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