Skip to main content

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.

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
Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Award-winning author Nick Petrie discusses how he listened to the story that wanted to be told in his new Peter Ash thriller novel, The Runaway.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

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 punishment poem.

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Award-winning novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard discusses the chance meeting that led to her new novel, The Good Son.

Sea Bound

Sea Bound

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone connected to the sea.

writersMarket_wd-ad_1000x300 (1)

Get Published With the Latest Market Books Editions

Get published and find more success with your writing by using the latest editions of the Market Books, including Writer's Market, Poet's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and more!

Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Michigan Quarterly Review, the flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan.

Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

This post looks at the differences between desperate and disparate with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

What Is Pastiche in Literature, and Why Is Sherlock Holmes Perfect for It?

What Is Pastiche in Literature, and Why Is Sherlock Holmes Perfect for It?

What has made Sherlock Holmes so adaptable and changeable throughout the character’s original inception? Author Timothy Miller explains.

How to Write Through Grief and Find Creativity

How to Write Through Grief and Find Creativity

When author Diana Giovinazzo found herself caught in the storm of grief, doing what she loved felt insurmountable. Here, she shares how she worked through her grief to find her creativity again.