Rejection letters are part of the publishing business. All writers get them. Even J.K. Rowling received many rejection letters for the first Harry Potter book, and L. Frank Baum received several rejection slips for Wizard of OZ. It’s also the hard part of the business. It hurts to have something you worked very hard on denied, but it’s what you do with the rejection that counts. You either give up or push forward.

Ant Press replied to my manuscript on Friday morning. They sent me a glowing rejection slip. How can a person get a glowing rejection slip? Well, they had a lot of good things to say about my memoir. It just didn’t fit their market.

Here is a section from the rejection letter that puts a smile on my face.

“You write very well, and you’ll be glad to know that we found a lot to like about your story. You have an engaging ‘voice’ which will make your readers warm to you. Your confident use of dialogue to move the story along is commendable, too. Few writers understand how important it is to use plenty of dialogue, but you have grasped that. You write very directly without bogging us down with unnecessary flowery language, which makes your book easy to read. We liked your use of fragmented sentences to create drama and we enjoyed the inclusion of your thoughts.

“There is no question that your themes will resonate with many. The troubled childhood, the bullying and abuse you have suffered and the despair you felt. The garage escape and the discovery of the power of writing: ‘As my pen raced across the paper recording a fanciful daydream, I felt my soul pour down through my fingers.’ are all touchingly described and poignant.”

This tells me my manuscript is good and it’s not bad writing that got me a denial. I celebrated the positive, but I still felt like I got kicked in the stomach. I have been submitting short stories and essays since I was in high school. I have a box of rejection letters. I should be used to it, right? No matter how many times you get rejected, it doesn’t get easier. It’s one of the hardest parts of being an author.

I had my hopes high. I figured Ant Press would be the one to publish my memoir since their specialty is memoir. When they requested the full manuscript, I was sure they would love my manuscript and offer me a contract. I didn’t do much research into other publishers because I was confident I would get a yes, even though I know that most writers do not get accepted with the first submission. I bragged to everyone that my book was going to get published. I was flying high.

For a week I checked my email several times a day, hoping for an answer. Then on Friday there was the answer. As I read, “Sadly, we don’t feel we can offer you an Ant Press contract for Escape to the Family Garage,” I dropped from my high like a plane spiraling out of control. Tears threatened to fall, but I fought to stop them. My whole world crumbled. I wanted to cry, to scream and crawl back in bed, but I couldn’t. I had to prepare to go to work.

My husband called me to make sure I was up for work, and I told him. He told me not to give up. Then I called my friend and fellow memoirist Amy, and she gave me a pep talk. I read her the letter and she told me that it’s good news that they found good things about my memoir, and they took the time to consider it. She encouraged me to pray about my next step and to push forward. She told me the positive news is that they complimented my book and that meant I had a good, finished manuscript.

At work I mulled over the rejection and my next steps. Should I self-publish, or should I research other publishers? On my break I opened the Kindle app on my phone and browsed through publishers in Writer’s Market, a book that lists publishers and information about what type of work they accept and contact information. I found a few who accept memoir but not many with my topic. This discouraged me even more. I had saved up a lot of money for my book, but when I had carpal tunnel surgery, I had to use some of it for our mortgage. With what I have left would I have enough to self-publish?

While working my mind swirled with different thoughts about writing and work.

Will my book ever get published?

Why are the dang customers yelling at me because we got rid of plastic bags? I’m stuck, just a cashier people yell at for life.

Everyone says publishers only publish memoirs of famous people. Getting published is a hopeless dream.

Dang, people Ninety-nine cents for a reusable bag isn’t that bad since can use it plenty of times. I so wanted to tell my customers I was going to get my book published and instead I’m arguing about the cost of bags.”

I’ll never be able to afford to self-publish. I only have three hundred and some dollars. It’s hopeless.

After work I rode on the exercise bike while Cheryl cheered me on. She listened while I hacked out a plan. I will research publishers and self-publishing. I will give myself a week or more before I make any definite decisions. First, I need to feel the hurt, sort my feelings, and then decide when I’m thinking clearly.

Cheryl told me how proud of me she is. Several years ago, when my mental illness was at its worst, I would have bawled my eyes out and given up. I would have seen the rejection as the end of my life. Now I feel the emotions and plan to push forward. This shows how far I have come at taking control of my mental illness.

My determination to get published will help me strive to be stronger and more determined. I stand in the light as a strong woman ready to push forward.

6 thoughts on “REJECTION LETTER

  1. I feel your disappointment. I think your friend Cheryl is right – feel the feelings and start making a plan. But the good news is that they actually read your manuscript instead of just sending a form letter!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great blog post!!! And yes I am still very proud of you!! Your book WILL be published and I can’t wait to get my copy!!


    • Cheryl,
      Thank you. You are one of my biggest fans and encouragement. I know you’ll be one of the first ones to buy my book.


  3. Hi Aimee,
    Yes, you are a strong, determined woman. It won’t be long now until you hold your published book in your hands! By the way, my great niece, Talia, is happy to be a beta reader!


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