Writers' Treasure Magnetic Writing Why your writing has been rejected – and how to cope

Why your writing has been rejected – and how to cope

This is a guest article by Brenda Berg. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.

Rejection happens all the time in publishing, but getting that letter or email never gets any easier. If you feel you’re getting too many rejection slips, there may be a reason why. Here’s why you’re being rejected, and what you can do to change your fortunes in the future.

Why you were rejected

–  The editor has reader insight that you don’t: The piece you sent off seemed like it was perfect for the audience, but it was still rejected. That’s because the editor knows the audience better than you do. For example, a publisher will know that a haunted house story won’t be as popular in their horror magazine as something else. Therefore, they’ll reject yours.

–  The editor doesn’t want to try an untested writer: If the editor doesn’t know you or your work, it’s hard to convince them that they should take a chance on you. That’s why it’s a good idea to add a short bio into your cover letter when submitting.

–  Your writing goes against the editor’s beliefs: It’s not fair, but it happens. If your writing contains something which the editors don’t believe in, something which they are in opposition to, then it will be rejected.  If it turns them off, they’re not going to buy it.

–  It was hard to read your piece: For one reason or another, it was difficult to read what you had sent in. It could be a file type that they couldn’t open, or the spelling and grammar weren’t up to scratch. If the editor can’t read it, it’s going to go in the ‘reject’ pile instantly.

 You didn’t read the audience correctly: Your story or piece could be amazingly written, but you’ve sent it to the wrong people. A journalism magazine doesn’t want your cookbook, and a fantasy magazine doesn’t want a story set in space. You need to know your audience.

–  Your piece isn’t interesting enough: the sad truth is, the editor thought that it wasn’t worth finding out what happened at the end of your work. If they weren’t interested, they think their readers won’t be interested either.

–  Your pitch is too similar to something else slated for publication: You may not know it, but there already be a piece on dog training in the magazine. That means the editor isn’t going to take yours, no matter how good it is.

As you can see, there’s a wide array of reasons why you could get rejected. Some aren’t your fault, but some can be fixed with a bit of know-how.

How to cope and regroup

–  Get feedback: Before you even think of submitting, you should get feedback on your piece first. Ask your writing group if you’re part of one, or ask a knowledgeable friend to read over what you’ve written. If they like it, go ahead and submit. If not, it’s time to edit before you send it off.

–  Follow George Orwell’s advice: Orwell was a successful writer and knew just how to make his writing pack a real punch. His 6 questions are questions every writer should ask themselves of their work. Can your writing be put more succinctly? Have you said what you were trying to say? Follow his rules and you’ll find out.

–  Don’t give up: It’s easy to think that your writing is no good and that you should stop, but a rejection isn’t the end of the world. As you saw above, there’re all kinds of reasons you got rejected. Not all of them are a reflection on your ability. Keep trying, and do your best.

–  Do your research: Make sure you’re writing for the right audience. Read up on the publication before you submit anything, and they’re much more likely to accept it as you’ve catered to their readership.

–  Use outside help and support: When you’re burning the midnight oil, there’s every chance you could make mistakes that lead to rejection. Use online resources to help polish that manuscript up. You can check your own grammar by using Grammar checkAcademized and Hemingway app tools.

–  Use standard formatting: Most publishers will tell you how they want pieces submitted to them. Make sure you pay attention to them and make their lives easier. They’ll look much more favourably on you.

–  Embrace rejection: It hurts to receive a rejection, but don’t take it to heart. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again.


Use these tips the next time you’re looking to submit your writing. You’ll find it a lot easier to catch editor’s interest and get yourself published.

About the author: Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years experience in business management. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs. Freelance writer in professional essay writing service. She is always interested in ways which can help individuals reach their full creative potential. 

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