Christmas Is in the Air, So Get Ready for Rejections

It's holiday time, and guess what editors do this time of year?  They clean our their desks and send out rejections by the dozens; it’s the gift that keeps on giving! You've heard what people say about comedy coming from pain. That's why Pamela Jane is offering a new way to look at rejections -- with humor. Be on the look out for these 10 standbys; they may show up in your inbox.
Author:
Publish date:

It's holiday time, and guess what editors do this time of year? They clean our their desks and send out rejections by the dozens—it’s the gift that keeps on giving! You've heard what people say about comedy coming from pain. That's why Pamela Jane is offering a new way to look at rejections—with humor. Be on the look out for these 10 standbys; they may show up in your inbox.

Image placeholder title

I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
Christmas is all around me
And so rejection grows

It’s holiday time, and guess what editors do this time of year? They clean our their desks and send out rejection letters and emails by the dozens. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! You’ve heard what people say about comedy coming from pain. That’s why I laugh at rejections. Be on the look out for these 10 standbys; they may show up in your inbox!

1. The rejection used to repair furniture

“When my office was moved yesterday, your enclosed manuscript emerged from under my desk. I am sorry.”

Hey, it's okay to use my manuscript to prop up your desk!

2. The one-book-per-minute rejection

I once had ten picture book manuscripts rejected by an editor in ten minutes over the telephone. That’s a book a minute, an all-time record!

Image placeholder title

3. The “You don’t exist” rejection

I wrote an essay about my childhood fear that I didn’t exist, which was accepted by an internationally renowned journal. I was ecstatic. Now I’d know for sure I existed! Then, just before the presses rolled, my editor informed me that his boss didn’t find my piece “as charming” as he did, and my essay about nonexistence became nonexistent.

4. The rejection for a fan letter sent to a favorite author

A friend of mine wrote a fan letter to J.K. Rowling, and got it back from the publisher—rejected.

5. The writers-don’t-do-anything rejection

This rejection comes from astute readers at an author visit to an elementary school.

Child #1: Do you draw the pictures for your book?
Me: No.
Child #2: Do you glue the covers on?
Me: No.
Child # 3: Do you make all the copies yourself?
Me: Not exactly…
Child #4 (puzzled): What do you do?

6. The-editor-changes-her-sign-off rejection

Recently I got an email from an editor interested in acquiring a manuscript.

“I just love your story!” she gushed. “Please make suggested revisions and send back immediately.” She signed the email, “Warmly, Mags.” She remained “Mags”—until she turned down the revision. Then she became a frosty “Margaret.”

7. The infamous holiday gift rejection

Editors like to clean out their desks before the holidays, so prepare for a special surprise.

8. The disappearing book rejection

My friend, Jack, flew to Los Angeles to do a signing for his new book. When he arrived, he discovered the publisher had sent another author’s books by mistake. The title they sent? The Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were.

9. The rejection for something you didn’t write

“Thanks so much for being kind enough to return the errant manuscript you received from us. We're thinking perhaps one of your envelopes attached itself to the wrong manuscript.”

10. My favorite rejection

My favorite rejection came from my daughter, Annelise, who was seven at the time. She walked into my office holding a piece of paper.

“Look, Mommy, I can read!” she said proudly.

“Dear Pamela,” she began, sounding out the words, “I am sorry to say I cannot evaluate any new manuscripts for the next six months…”

Laughing at rejections is good therapy and when you get an acceptance, you will definitely get the last laugh.

Image placeholder title

Pamela Jane is an essayist and the author of over thirty books, including An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer’s Story, and Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp Through Jane Austen’s Classic, which was featured in The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, BBC America, and The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Her essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Image placeholder title
Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Copywriter and author Sarah Echavarre Smith discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, On Location.

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson discusses the process of writing his new science fiction novel, Purgatory's Shore.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 583

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a fall poem.

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

For over a decade, author Joshua Glenn has been researching adventure-related terms. Now, he's sharing what he's learned for other writers to add to their lexicon.

Moral Compass

Moral Compass

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone with an unfailing moral compass.

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Author, translator, and editor Daniel Levin Becker discusses his hopes for future letter writing like those featured in the new anthology, Dear McSweeney's: Two Decades of Letters to the Editor from Writers, Readers, and the Occasional Bewildered Consumer.

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between e.g. and i.e. with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

20 Authors Share Their Biggest Surprise in the Writing Process

20 Authors Share Their Biggest Surprises in the Writing Process

Experienced writers know to expect the unexpected. Here are surprises in the writing process from 20 authors, including Amanda Jayatissa, Paul Neilan, Kristin Hannah, and Robert Jones, Jr.

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Author Ruth Hogan discusses the process of learning a new skill in writing her new novel, The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.