INKSPILL – How to Get Rejected – Guest Writer William Gallagher

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How to Get Rejected

Write badly. Thatll do it. But of all the reasons you will get rejected and you will, you know you will writing badly is the best of them. Its the most embarrassing, perhaps, and it may well shut more doors than anything else ever will, but its also the best for one key reason.

You can do something about it.

You can write better.

Now, it would be good if that were as easy as it sounds but your writing is under your control, or at least it is more than anything else. Focus on your writing and dont be thrown by things you cannot know. That sounds a bit Hallmark Card-like and we are all cut and bloodied by rejection but do this: control what you can control and bollocks to everything you cant.

Let me give you a fast example. I spent a couple of years as features editor on a computer magazine and I needed writers. I really needed them, I had money to pay them, I would search for them. And at the same time, I mustve got around 200 completely unsolicited submissions. Writers writing to me out of the blue pitching me articles. They should have been a godsend to me but they werent.

Of the 200, I commissioned 1. He was fine, Id have used him again if Id ever needed to go back to the same topic. Thats not the key fact here. The key is that of the 200, I read 7.

And not only would I do the same today, so would you.

Of the other 193, a surprising number were about fashion. I was on a computer magazine. Many were handwritten and, again, hello, computer magazine. Plus you can tell me youve got years of experience but if youre not typing your articles, no, you havent.

Equally, you can tell me that you studied my magazine but if you spell the title wrong or if you send me a 300-word article when we only ever ran 5,000-word pieces, I dont need to read your piece to know you cant do the job.

Writing is not a competition. Also, writing is not for you: it is for the reader. My job was not to read every piece and pat heads, it was to fill blank pages each month. Realise that, keep that in mind, and youll avoid rejections.

And when you are rejected, take it. You can grind your teeth all you like at home, just dont ever show it. Let it go because its already gone. Nobody ever convinced an editor that they have made a wrong choice by arguing about it. If that sounds unfair, compare it to this: nobody ever successfully used wailing to convince a lover not to dump them.

This ridiculous writing life we have chosen might be art, I hope it is, but it is also a job and it is also real. Youre not playing. And the sometimes great, sometimes deeply depressing fact is that most people are. So small things like being a pro when youre rejected really help you stand out.

William

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

 

William Gallagher’s Books on Amazon

See William Gallaghers scribbles books, Doctor Who radio dramas and the rest on Amazon

 

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6 responses »

  1. You can grind your teeth all you like at home, just don’t ever show it. …..

    Great advice – here on my blog I posted rejection news because it is an important and guaranteed part of writing life that aspiring writers need to recognise. Rejection is not paramount to failure, but you can learn ways to lessen your chances of being rejected in the first place.

    You will find the right place for your writing and other times maybe it is just not right for that publication or at that time. It is essential to deal with it because if you are a writer it will be part of your annual journey, try not to take it personally, it usually isn’t. If you send the same piece out and get rejected more than 6 times, maybe then you should look at it.

    Remember, even though we are taught that we can make money from the same idea/article you will need to tailor it to suit and fit your new market.

    Thanks William!

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