Rejections are like chicken feet

Stop a moment and think: are there any vegetables or fruits you don’t like? Do you have a favourite dish, one that you always order over and over? What about that disgusting thing that for your life you cannot understand why people eat it, like for example, chicken feet?

I love chicken feet. Every time I go to a Chinese restaurant, if they have this dish on the menu, I sure order it.

I am not a fan of chocolate and I find it weird when I hear stories of how someone ate a whole box of chocolate. If you peeked into my fridge a few years ago, you could even have found chocolates a couple of years old. After I moved with my husband, chocolates do not last more than a couple of weeks.

My point? Books are like food. There are different flavours and not everybody will like the flavour you offer.

If you write something, you can be 1000% sure that there will be people who will not like your writing, you can count on it. Be prepared. Count on it.

But it does not mean anything; it does not mean anything about you, and often it doesn’t mean anything about the quality of your book either.

The person who is rejecting your book is expressing his/her opinion and you know, maybe you offered an apple flavour and the person hates apples. It does not indicate that you are a bad writer, it does not imply you are incompetent, that you have no skills or imagination. It just means that the person does not like your book.

So, first of all, do not start generalizing. If you get one or two rejections, it is just that. Two rejections. Do not fall into the traps and start saying, “nobody likes my book.” Two is just two. Just like 100 is 100 hundred. Do you know how many people are on planet earth? About 7.5 billion.

Even 1.000 is not everybody. It is just a number. If you have lots of rejections, you can of course ask yourself questions. But the first one is not “am I good enough?” but rather “where do I find my people, the people who like the flavour I offer?”

You can also learn from rejections. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and diminish your work, if you get a chance, ask the person who rejected your book, why he/she did not like it. You can then assess whether there are technical faults in your book (which you can then address in your next book) or whether it is a completely subjective opinion.

If you want to keep writing and publishing books, especially if you want to find a publisher, you need to develop the skills to bring the rejections into the right context.

My book is not out yet, but I know that my flavour is. So, when I will start getting rejections – and I know they will come – all it means is that the person does not like chicken feet.

Just for fun, think about your book now. Which flavour is dominant? Share it here, if you want!

And remember, whatever fault your book might have, you can always learn to do better next time.

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