Fear of Rejection: The Evolution

Now I have my debut out there, I want to talk about the dreaded rejection and how it evolves…

Before we get the big ACCEPTANCE from our dream publisher, we live in fear of those rejection letters. The ones that make your tummy twist up, the tears threaten and the hopeless feeling that you’re never going to make it. If like me, you may even park your writing for a few years, until the bug does its thing and takes hold again, you build your confidence back up and give it another shot. And for me, it worked. Against all the odds (as I saw it), my dream happened, and I made it past the publishing line, being taken on by not one, but two publishers in the same year — incredible. And I thank my lucky stars for that every day.


The truth is, that fear of rejection evolves into a fear of the negative review. And boy, if you think publisher rejection hurts, a negative reader is crippling. If you’re a writer, then you will know that just getting the book to a state that is publishable can be painful in itself. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, with fabulous days where the fingers fly and the words just flow, to absolute stinkers where you think you’ll never string a coherent sentence together again, let alone produce a book.

So, when you finally get it out into the world and your confronted with people that don’t like it, yes it hurts, badly. However, there is plenty I have learnt from speaking to my publishers, author friends and readers alike, and I wanted to share it with you, in the hope that it can help you too should you one day find yourself in this position.

A negative review can be a good thing…

If the reviewer has put the time in to explain why the book wasn’t for them, this can help guide future readers who will either avoid based on their agreement with the reviewer OR they will buy it because what doesn’t appeal to the reviewer may be exactly what the potential reader is wanting.

Ideally, you WANT 1 stars as well as those highly prized 5 stars…

This one is brilliant and I’m so glad I had it explained to me as even though it’s obvious when you think about it, I really hadn’t considered it. My publisher told me of a writing convention he attended where a talk was given by Robert J. Sawyer. He made the point that ideally your reviews should all be 1s and 5s, that way your target audience LOVES it and everyone else HATES it. You are appealing to your target audience and are bang on the money.

Reviews are an opportunity to grow…

Just as performance reviews in the majority of roles aim to make us a better accountant, developer, analyst, teacher etc., reader reviews can make us a better author. If they are constructive, we can learn from them and seriously, who doesn’t want to be better at what they do.

What else can I say…

The only other thing I would add, is try not to look back over your books that are already out there unless you have grown a thick skin, or plan on using it to hone your craft. Because frankly, we get better with practice, which likely means that our old stuff won’t be up to our current standard and that just results in a tonne of cringing and blushing and OMGs. You have to let go and instead be proud of what you achieved. You wrote a book, you edited the crap out of it, and you got it published, you ROCK!

I feel like I’ve just given myself a huge pep-talk too — who doesn’t need one of those every once in a while? — but seriously, it’s a massive achievement and no matter how much you think “I could do so much better if I were to re-write it now”, plough that energy into your new project and enjoy it! Count your blessings that you get to spill your passion into something you love doing and that you’re putting a little magic into the hands of those who do enjoy your work.

That’s me done and pepped-up to the nines!

Muchos love,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: