It's Writers Wednesday and I've been commiserating with fellow writers who are experiencing that moment when the first rejection letter arrives. It stings...particularly when you thought you did everything right.
- Researched the houses, editors and/or agents that handle your particular type of work.
- Followed the submission guidelines to the letter.
- Sent a manuscript that's been peer-reviewed at the very least and maybe gone through several professional classes and workshops.
If you're lucky enough to receive a rejection letter it might indicate a reason your manuscript was turned down. It's just as likely that there will be no hints to point you in the right direction. Many houses have adopted a policy of not contacting authors at all unless the editor is interested in the work. The submitted manuscript is recycled and you can assume the house has passed on the project if you haven't heard from them in a predetermined time frame: 6 months, 9 months, etc.
This is an opportunity to ask yourself how to make the manuscript better. Look at the plotting, character development, language, voice...all the components of your story and writing style. Chances are that the time away from your story after you sent that submission will allow you to more objectively determine if there is anything that needs to change. If you need fresh eyes on your work find an objective reader to give you another point of view.
Then revise, rewrite and get that story back out there.
For another perspective on the subject of getting published check out "Top Five Tips to Finding and (Keeping Fans) for Your Writing" @ Gary Smailes' Bubble Cow.