Dealing With Yet Another Rejection

by | March 28, 2018 | General | 9 comments

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page. 

Her m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing It is a sexy cross between The X Files, The Andromeda Strain, and Outbreak. Read her short erotic story Babes in Begging For It, published by Cleis Press. You will also find her new novel No Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.


I recently received an agent rejection for a novel that let me down very much. The notes this agent left me threw me for a loop. She was critical of things that are integral to the book, such as my main character’s personality. I don’t want to change that. Besides, a drastic change like that would require a complete overhaul of the book and I am unwilling to do that. Some people may not like that character but that doesn’t mean everyone won’t.

Rejections are often painful but sometimes they hurt like hell. Not getting into an anthology I had great hope for can be a big let-down. That has happened to me several times. Getting bombed by several rejections in a row over a short period of time can be devastating. I usually wallow in my misery for a few days, and then I get back to work.

What works to get out of the doldrums when yet another rejection hits your mailbox?

Get away from the computer. Leave social media alone for a few days. Only answer urgent mail. Facebook and Twitter can be annoying and depressing anyway so a break of any substantial amount of time may be looked at as a good thing.

Read something for enjoyment. Don’t read something that reminds you too much of your book or of the genre you write. I’ve been reading mysteries lately for fun. Lilian Jackson Brown’s cat series and the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich are great fun. I tried to read “House Of Leaves” but that book is so confusing I tossed it aside. I need to give it another chance. It’s supposed to be a terrifying read, but it reads like a dissertation to me since this is a fictional horror novel that includes footnotes!

I like to bake. Rather than binge on chocolate and sweets, I bake them and give them to my friends and family. Oh, believe me, I do enjoy my own chocolate almond biscotti and cranberry scones. I won’t deny myself, but it is fun for me to get in the kitchen and bake.

Clean the house. It usually needs it. I’m rewarded with a clean house when I finish and mopping the floor takes my mind off my writing.

Enjoy some TV or a movie at home or in a cinema. My husband and I recently saw the new “Tomb Raider” movie. It wasn’t great but I liked it since I’m a huge fan of the game series. We’ve also been binge-watching “Hap and Leonard”, which is easy for me to watch since it’s nothing like my writing. And I’m a Joe Lansdale fan. I interviewed him twice for podcasts. He was a great guest.

Here’s a switch – listen to the criticism. The critic may be right, especially if you hear the same thing from several critics. Make changes that are necessary and you will likely end up with a better work. Editors and agents don’t usually leave detailed feedback. When they do, it means they believe your work has merit but simply isn’t right for them for particular reasons. I relish getting rejections with feedback. I often take the feedback to heart, change the piece, and then see it published later.

Talk to other writers. You’ll see you’re not alone. All writers face rejection. Everyone deals with it in different ways. Being around other creative people may help you keep tings in perspective.

Above all, remember how much you enjoy writing. It keeps your mind alert and it helps you get your thoughts and feelings down on paper. I love writing because I’m good at it. Keep your rejections in perspective and carry on.

Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black's erotic fiction has been published by Cleis Press, Xcite Books, Scarlet Magazine, Circlet Press, and others. She also writes dark fiction and horror as E. A. Black. She lives in Massachusetts next to the ocean with her husband, son, and three cats. The beach calls to her and she listens.


  1. Larry Archer

    Try self-publishing as the editor will never reject you!

  2. Elizabeth Black

    Larry, that was actually one suggestion on an article I read. 🙂 I did self-publish two erotic fairy tales, “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” (erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (erotic Rapunzel). I’m going to self-publish a collection of fairy tales this summer. My fairy tales have been very successful. Who knew people liked smutty Cinderella? LOL

  3. Lisabet Sarai

    Hi, Elizabeth,

    Rejection does hurt. On the other hand, you have to be true to your own artistic vision.

    Also, I’d have my doubts about an editor/publisher that offered the sort of criticisms you cite. If her tastes are so different from what you’ve provided, it’s not going to be a good fit.

  4. Elizabeth Black

    I agree with you, Lisabet. I don’t think we’d be a good match. It was a matter of taste for the most part. Some feedback is useful and some isn’t.

    • Larry Archer

      Depending on the value you place on the help and support you get from your publishing house, going the self-publishing route allows you to keep all your money rather than the amount they give you.

  5. Elizabeth Black

    You’re right, Larry. Self-publishing allows you to keep 35/70% of your money depending on the price of your book. The problem is that there is such a glut of self-published books (and some of them are skull-numbingly BAD) that it’s hard to get noticed. Plus Amazon stripping the rankings of erotic books recently doesn’t help matters. Most self-published books do not make a lot of money. 70% of 0 is still 0. 🙂 I guess there is a give and take no matter how you publish. I’m a hybrid and my most successful books are my self-published erotic fairy tales. Lots of factors contribute to their success – timing, the subject matter, advertising, etc. I do like the cache of being published by a reputable small house and I combine that with self-publishing. It seems to work well for me.

    • Larry Archer

      Glad it’s working out for you. I’ve only self-published and am doing relatively well especially how little marketing I do. I’ve got 20+ stories published and am making a few hundred bucks a month, which I’m happy with.

  6. Elizabeth Black

    Larry what genres do you write? Erotic and anything else? I write erotic fiction and horror. Working on a mystery. A few hundred bucks a month i very respectable. I like self-publishing even though it can be a lot of work. Congrats and may you continue to succeed!

    • Larry Archer

      I write basically stroke stuff with a plot, well I’d like to think somewhat of a plot. LOL

      I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at horror but haven’t turned out anything yet. I’ve got 20+ stories published and between Amazon, SmashWords, and iBooks, do reasonably well. I need to publish more often but unfortunately, life keeps getting in the way.

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