3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

I didn’t intend on posting again today but one of my favorite authors posted something to her IG that sparked something I had to share. As you see above, this author is Bernice McFadden and this is her sharing the rejection letters she received for her novel Sugar. I have this book as well as her novels This Bitter Earth, Glorious and I’d like to get my hands on Nowhere is a Place and The Book of Harlan but I digress. Needless to say, the writing is on point. Long story short, you all know that Sugar has gone on to do very well despite the 75 (yes, seventy-five…let that settle) rejection letters. For Indie Authors, we may not be looking for publishers, but we have rejection letters too. I want to encourage you not to give up when you get one:

Negative Reviews – One of our most obvious rejection letters is the negative review. While all authors, no matter how they are published, get negative reviews, for the Indie Author it can feel like the ultimate rejection. Not from a publisher or agent but from the people who we slave so hard for, Readers. When a reader rejects a book it can really put a damper (who says that?) on an author’s mood. But, think about being rejected 75 times. Would you have tried for the 76th? The next time you get a bad review, think of McFadden and how important it is not to quit on the vision. If McFadden had given up, there would be no Sugar.

No Reviews – I came into the game (for lack of a better term though I hate using it. This ain’t a game lol) late because I did not start publishing my books with Amazon in the beginning. I also did not have much insight or people around who could help me to understand this growing industry. That said, reviews weren’t very important to me (neither was Amazon for that matter). However, we are all aware by now how important book reviews are to Indie Authors. But what if you don’t have any? Or very little? This can feel like a real let down and crush an Indie Author’s mood. Especially when their peers have over one hundred and they only have one or two. I am not saying to look at what every one else is doing, not at all. But I’d be lying if I said no reviews on a book doesn’t feel bad. We’ve all been there so let’s just keep it all the way real. No reviews can feel like the ultimate rejection. Honest reviews help to prove that an author’s work is worth reading which means that none can be a real let down. A real rejection. I tell you to think of McFadden’s 75 rejection letters and ask yourself if you were her, would you try again? Would you still want to write if you had 75 bad reviews? Sheesh. That can make one depressed! Lol. But, I am showing you that it’s the same thing for Indie Authors who are their own publishers and thus rely on the social proof of readers to help people to see that they really aren’t bragging about themselves.

No Sales – And of course, need I not leave out the ultimate rejection letter for Indies, no sales! Nothing screams rejection like no one buying your book. Does that mean you should stop writing? Of course not. My first novel is full of mistakes (which is why I took it off market for now lol) but if I had not published the first book, mediocre as it was, there would not have been a tenth. My point is, just keep writing and keep trying. You know you are close to the mountaintop when everyone starts to fall off. When people start giving up, that’s when you’re close. When you feel like giving up, that is when you should push the hardest. It means you are almost there. I am not saying this to sound all “cliche”. I am saying it because it’s real. My husband was just telling me I am too hard on myself and I’d like to extend the encouragement your way. Especially since we didn’t have a “No Whining Wednesday” today 🙂

So, there you have it. Three Rejection Letters Indie Authors receive. When you get one, think of McFadden’s 75 rejection letters. That had to be depressing at some point but she kept at it and so should you.

Do you know of any more “rejection letters?” Tell us about them! What was the most heartbreaking of your rejection letters? How did you recover from it?

Don’t forget that there are tons of people willing to help to spread the word about your awesome authorness! Including me. My Introduce Yourself Interviews for authors will pick back up next week. However, I am in need of authors for August! It’s a free opportunity to let us get to know more about you and your books. Click Here to learn more. Again, it’s FREE and I must say, the Introduce Yourself features do very well in views. Many of them are the top viewed on this blog which means these authors get a lot of shine! All genres welcomed. (Those of you who have already been featured, if you have updates, new books coming out, let me know so we can do an update post).

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I write to restore Black Historical Truth for the freedom of all people. Visit me online at yecheilyahysrayl.com and @yecheilyah on IG and Twitter.

46 thoughts on “3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive”

  1. I definitely agree with this. When I first started, I knew my first book was my very first to ever be completed. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a horrible story, or else I wouldn’t have so many books in the series by this point. I’ve been relatively lucky in that I’ve had very few negative reviews (or at least any that actually explain why they didn’t like them), but I still wouldn’t stop writing. Those books were all written for me, and I chose to share them so that readers might enjoy the escape alongside me. Of course, I haven’t taken the foray into Amazon, because it’s difficult if not impossible to publish a book permanently free from the start (unless that has changed and I’m not aware of it). But one day, when I’m ready, whether it’s with a publisher or my myself, I’ll see my books in print, and I’ll see them on Amazon. But for now, the other retailers suffice. I know in the beginning, I thought, if 250 people were to download my book, I would consider it a success. The first day, I surpassed that number, and I’m currently ranked at #5 on the all-time Most Downloaded list in my genre. That’s pretty good considering my original goal. Of course, this isn’t meant to brag, but to make a point. Despite being at that level, and receiving primarily glowing reviews, I’m still trying to find more eyes, more ways to reach those eyes, and to improve what those eyes will see from me in the future. It’s a constant state of change, the striving for doing and being better. And it’s all totally worth it. So if you love the story you’re writing, then go with it. There’s bound to be other people that will love it too. 💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed Sarah! Congratulations on your ranking and all that you set your hands to do. I am sure you have added an extra dose of encouragement for all who read.


  2. Ha, I wrote about this recently at my other blog https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/the-rejection-files

    Yesterday was a stellar day, two short story submission rejections in the space of five minutes.

    “Your story isn’t quite right for this anthology, but thanks so much for sharing it with us. It did make it through to our second round of reading. Please think of us again in the future.”


    “Thank you for sending us (story name redacted). We really enjoyed this piece, but we didn’t feel it was right for (publication name redacted). We hope that you will continue to send us your work.”

    So how I deal with it is very fresh in my mind. I took the punch (disappointment, there may have been some griping, no tears though – not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂 ). I reviewed (and will be reviewing) the stories to see how they could be improved – or if they are just good as is but not right for the markets to which they’d been submitted, then I got back to work (work on this afternoon was editing client material – irony, perspective). Today, I got back and I got back to it (life as a freelance writer, editor, writing coach, workshop/course facilitator…and my own writing).

    The time it takes to cycle through that varies…but writing is my life so I can’t stop, won’t stop even in the face of the realities of publishing. The biggest body blow was probably the first time a book of mine went out of print and I’ve learned that I can survive that as well and get the book back in print (as I did). So, my advice would be to feel what you feel (you’re only human after all) but don’t let rejections stop you and whether publishing independently or traditionally work to make sure that whatever you put out there is the best it can possibly be – always strive for growth.

    My two cents six books and many rejections in to this ‘game’.

    p.s. I’m currently reading Glorious. Read Sugar last year and got McFadden to sign it actually when we met up at a literary event at which we were presenting and co-facilitating (a workshop). She’s cool and down to earth, and working with her was a delight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To start off I am my own worse obstacle. My lack of discipline being the biggest stumbling bloc (or is that block?). My second my failure to take the whole publishing thing that seriously (think 1960s hippie band/singer who sung on street corners, and were/was one of the warm-up acts at the free concert) (Or the 1990s indie band ‘The Replacements’- but without the drinking and swearing at the audience).
    Thus I get what’s coming to me, although thanks to being on WP I am starting to learn about the ‘Serious’ thing and respect it….I’ve even managed to sell 6 copies of my Kindle book- which for me is- YEA TEAM!!!!!.
    Amongst my rejections; lack of sales, no reviews, being ripped off by ‘agents’ the most annoying was a year ago when I sent a fantasy short story off to an on-line site. OK rejection is acceptable, but returned in less than 12 hrs with nothing but a ‘not suitable’??? I don’t edit but I’ve done my share of Amazon reviews (400+) and that just smacked of ‘Don’t know the name. Can’t be bothered. Too busy. Bye-bye’. But I thrive on rejections!!
    Well that’s my $0.10’s worth.
    All it remains for me to say is….Another wise, intelligent and post rich with advice and encouragement. Just has to be re-blogged.
    Keep up the good work!
    All the best

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on heroicallybadwriter and commented:
    Yecheilyah’s blog is simply one of the best for words of wisdom and advice for indie authors: experienced, or out there and ‘alone’. This is full of good sense on the question of Rejection.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for encouraging post! Negative reviews & rejections must push us to move on further. That’s it! Fame belongs to those who dare, doesn’t it? I wish you good luck with your books & a lot of inspiration!

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that all feedback, positive or constructive, can be used to propel us forward indeed. Personally, I’m not looking for fame but success in whatever form sure does belong to those who work at it. Thank you for leaving a comment on the table!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Lucinda! Do I have space? Of course I have space! Lol. OK, so click on the link where it says Click Here, read the post instructions and email me your questions and I’ll take it from there, communicating with you in regard to any follow-up questions or anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 75 rejection. that’s tough. I’ve had my share (I’m trying to get my trilogy published traditionally), but I haven’t come to that number (yet?). And let me tell you, it is hard. For me, it is harder than any rejection as an indie author. While the three forms of rejections you mentioned are indirect in a way, and while a part of that depends on you (for example, if you don’t have any reviews, you can hunt for them), the rejection letter of an agant is a rejection any way you look at it, and often you don’t know why you’re beeing rejected.

    I think this is the worst part. “I don’t love it enough”, “It isn’t good for today’s publishing climate”, “But someone else will love it, keep at it.” What does that even mean?
    An agent will never tell you why they are rejecting your story, and this means you can’t make your submission better. You don’t even know whether the submission is fine and it’s the agant who is not a good match. So everything you can do is wrecking your head trying to understand what’s wrong (knowing that there might be nothing wrong, but you’ll never know it) and try to guess what you can do, having absolutely no clue to go by.

    It is loathsome.

    Yes, the forms of rejection an indie author gets are bad too, but in general you can work out what’s wrong and so you can try to rectify it. You will read a bad review and you’ll know whether there is something wrong with your story or if it’s just the reader’s taste that doesn’t match with yout story. If you have no sales, you can audit your strategy and usually you’ll find weak points to address. And if you have no review, you can ask you friends for them or (as I’m doing now) contatc book bloggers.

    But an agent rejection? You’ll just get it and that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. Thanks for the insight. The Indie form of this would probably be sending your book to someone who agreed to review and not hear anything back (not even that they didn’t like it). I’ve experienced that too.


  7. Great post. I was in the unusual position, years ago, of being accepted by the first publisher I approached. Initially I was over the moon, but as I began to ask a few questions, I became less than enamoured with their answers. In the end I decided to turn them down, and now I pour all of my energies into writing and trying to improve my sales. I have just finished the trilogy in my historical fiction series and then it will be onto something new. I do have mostly good reviews and some negative, but that doesn’t bother me as everyone is entitled to their opinion. All I know is that I’m at peace when I write, and when I publish a book I know I’ve poured my heart and soul into it and it is the best that I can produce at that time. Each purchase is a joy for me to see and I’m always thankful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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