10 Steps to Handling a Rejection Email

“You’ve got mail!”

“Many thanks for sending your work to us at …… Your submission was interesting; however, after a preliminary internal review, we have decided that … is not the best venue for your work at this time. We wish you well in finding a suitable publication for your writing.”


It is important to note that I did a Psychology course for my Undergrad, so all of the below advice is sound and valid.

Step One: It is imperative that you report the email as spam instantly! The faster you do it, the sooner you can pretend it never existed. Continue along your daily activities, until later in the night when you check your spam and come across said rejection email.

Step Two: Re-read the email at least five times – First check to make sure that they used your correct email address. Maybe some poor gal with a similar name (Shakitah Bourne) wasn’t accepted into the publication. Poor chick, and you have to be the one to break it to her.

Step Three: Check for Typos – “Your submision was interesting” maybe? Then you can reply to the email, highlighting the typo, and making it clear that you have ZERO interest in being included in a publication where the editor can’t spell…unless they say please…

Step Four: Contact the Editor – Send them an angry email with the subject line “Serial Killer of Literary Dreams” and poetically express how angry you are that they have rejected your piece. If everything goes to plan, they will change their mind upon reading this second sample of writing, and realise that they made a horrible mistake.  If you could get a home address that would be even better, as you can reason with them face to face at their house.

It is best to go between 12am and 7am to make sure that you don’t interrupt them during busy hours.

Step Five: Re-read the email while drinking wine straight from the bottle. It helps to have music playing in the background. Make sure songs from Adele, Nine Inch Nails and Evanescence are in the playlist.

Step Six: Sing loudly while crying. Don’t bother to sleep. 

Step Seven: Let it all come pouring out. Call a helpline if you have to; they’re there to listen. It’s their job.

Step Eight: Stalk the Editor on Facebook – What do they like to eat? Do they like sports? Football? Basketball? Maybe your protagonist was a ninety year old man, Theophilus, who solved crimes in his retirement home, but… does Facebook tell you that the editor likes to breakdance?  

Step Nine: Change Theophilus’ story into an inspirational tale about human resilience, as he and his four retired friends form a dance group, and compete with their great-great grandkids at a local breakdancing competition.

Step Ten: Submit the story again to the same publication and wait…This will be the one.

It is important to note that I failed that Psychology course.

Disclaimer: This is NOT satire.

3 thoughts on “10 Steps to Handling a Rejection Email

  1. In my old mailbox, I used to put them in a folder labelled ‘Their Loss’ :). I haven’t sent to many agents in the past couple years and as I learnt more about the process, became even more selective. It’s so important to remember how subjective it is. Agents are kind of like marketers who love to read (understatement) but that’s how I kind of put it into perspective. If everything is in place — no grammatical errors etc, just because they might not like your work, doesn’t mean another publisher/agent won’t. More importantly, doesn’t mean readers won’t. Which is why self-publishing can be such a bonus move for certain works.

    • I love that! “Their Loss” Folder. A lot of luck is involved as well. Maybe the agent got in an argument with a spouse that day? Flat tire? Got a bonus cheque? Writers just need to understand that it is one person’s opinion, at one point of time. Yet, rejection sucks, so you may need that time to vent or feel sorry for myself, but its important that you move onto the next opportunity and not get jaded. I’ll probably post a more serious article about handling rejection 🙂

  2. Pingback: You Win Some…You Lose Some | getWrite!

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