Avengers of Colour: Rejection

Hi guys! So, it’s about three weeks since we announced the mentor-ship and we are so happy with the response. Thank you to everyone who retweeted and offered their support, it means so much to us.

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This post is about rejection, which is an inevitable part of the publishing process. Everyone gets rejected, all the mentors have been rejected, some of us hundreds of times, so this post is about how to deal with it and just some advice moving forward.

Advice from Faridah

Before I got an agent and a book deal I wrote three books and queried them all. During the process of querying all three I got…I want to say over 200 rejections total. I also applied to mentorship schemes, never got in to a single one. I felt like I was so unlucky and that this publishing dream would never happen for me, but then I queried Ace of Spades and I got an agent - as well as so much good feedback from other agents - then I got a book deal from a major UK publisher. Not being selected for a mentorship scheme is not the end of your journey, I never was and I made it out of the query trenches.

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Advice from Liselle

It can be crushing to build up the sort of hope that you do when entering pitch and mentorship contests. The first time I failed to get into Pitch Wars I cried, like, legit sobbed because I thought not getting in meant that somehow I would never be good enough for any facet of publishing, which isn’t true. They are SO many different routes to an agent and publication.

Mentorships and pitch contests are tools to help you be more visible, but at the end of the day, if you can get a solid manuscipt and query together, you can succeed without them. I’m so grateful for all the help I recieved in #RevPit from my editor and think it helped me a lot, but I would say my CPs and betas played as much of a role in my success. If you don’t get into a mentorship or don’t get a viral pitch, work on your relationships. Find your people and exchange manuscripts, work together as peers to create your own mentorship and get that manuscript into query-ready shape. That’s the best advice I can give. Sure, give yourself time to mope, but also make actionable plans to get the help that you need to succeed.

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Advice from Chloe Gong

The industry is extremely subjective, so being chosen as part of a mentorship isn’t JUST dependent on fulfilling a certain level of craft, but also slotting into a writing style that a mentor happens to perfectly connect with. My best advice: go on Goodreads and find your favourite book in the whole world. It’s going to have 5 star reviews and 1 star reviews, no matter how good you think it is, because people’s reading experiences are so, so different! While mentorship is an excellent opportunity for industry members to connect and learn, do keep in mind that sometimes, it’s just a matter of personal connection. I read a LOT of applications in this mentorship opportunity where the writing and pitch were AMAZING, I just didn’t think I could help it on a worthy level. The only thing to do in the face of rejection is to keep forging onward, and keep going until you find that perfect mentor, perfect agent, perfect editor, and so on.

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Advice from Kess

My advice for mentees is to trust your gut and surround yourself with people who support you, but aren’t afraid to call you out when you’re not doing the best you can do.

It’s a very broad thing to say. I didn’t get into any mentorships myself and I was even too afraid to submit to any after getting rejected. There are so many other people that apply to various mentorships that more established authors offer to unagented authors. They always made me feel inadequate and made me doubt my writing skills. Though it did push me to work on my writing, it was a stressor I didn’t need.

What matters most aside from the constant upward movement of your writing and the continuing improvement is positive relationships and support. You should have people in your life who encourage you to write and achieve your dreams with your ideas and stories, including people who are in or want to be publishing and those who aren’t and don’t. It helps to have both those perspectives to keep you realistic, yet hopeful.

There are still tons of resources to improve as a writer. You can find them so many places online, as one example, with various authors talking about their own techniques. If you want to look at queries, you can find them. Even I had a couple of posts with examples of my own queries. If you’re concerned about first pages, look at posts—or even at other books. Learn by example, by practice, and with others.

Writing can be very solitary and finding your people can be difficult. Once you find them, it’s always worth it.

Be humble. Be willing to grow. Be willing to open yourself to others.

You’re going to get a lot of No’s. It’s inevitable in publishing. What matters is being able to keep going. If you’re struggling, look for support. Ask for it. It’s not an easy thing to do to seek out validation and encouragement, but it truly makes all the difference. It’s not the end of your journey until you decide it is. Keep writing. Keep trying. Sometimes it’s not about you. It could be the other person.

For a lot of things I said no to, it wasn’t because I thought it was bad. Most of the time, it wasn’t for me. When you think of things that way, it might get a little easier to bear.

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The mentors had such a difficult time selecting mentees, you are all so talented and we hope this advice encourages you to keep going!

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