On Rejection. . .

I just received my first rejection for Walks-with-Two-Spirits. 

Was I expecting said rejection?


Do I understand why it was rejected?


Furthermore, said rejection was a gift as the publisher took the time to provide honest commentary. While he et al shall remain nameless, I want him et al to know that I appreciate their time and effort.

While waiting to hear back, I read and re-read the novel. Noticed several gaps. Noticed other stuff that I won’t list here. I also sent it to a few beta readers. A few of these beta readers actually read it and provided additional commentary.

Yet another valuable gift.

So what am I feeling now?

Inspired. . .

  • To address those gaps I noticed, but didn’t fill.
  • To provide additional layers that add, rather than detract from, the story.
  • To add spackling paste, putty, and a bit of poured cement to fill those holes.
  • To reroute the electric and plumbing.
  • To bring in a team of experts to make sure the foundation is sound.

After all of the above, I know Walks-With-Two-Spirits will attain an entirely new level! Writing is, after all, about revision and re-envisioning.

Once upon a time when I only had a few publishing credits, an oh-so-very-wise mentor of mine said that every rejection was a learning experience, and that it would bring me closer to an acceptance. Not only do I know this to be true, but I have also shared this bit of wisdom with other writers, some of whom I have personally encouraged to take their poem, short story, novel or article to a new level.

And yes, some of whose work I have rejected as well.

As said publisher reminded me, “this is just the opinion of one person. . .” I have said the same to other writers.

The further you progress as a writer, know this – that you can – and will –  create a circle of people whose opinion you respect and value. Listen to them, as chances are, they are spot on!

So, I will revisit Walks-With-Two-Spirits and imagine that someone else wrote it, and that I am their dedicated editor who wants them – and their novel – to be the best that they can be.

While I am engaged in said revision, if there’s anyone out there who would like to be a beta reader, please let me know. Meanwhile, I will reign in that Muse of mine, who has been hanging out at the Boortean Embassy’s Star Gazer Cafe drinking way-too-many Black Holes and consuming their weight (and beyond, since we’re being honest) in Asteroidal Chews!


Leave a comment


  1. Rejections exist on a spectrum, I feel, and they reflect the magazine’s personality while deciding on a work or not. Magazines that don’t care seem to reflect it by not asking for more material, while thanking the author for the submission.
    The extremely personalized rejection, I always treasure them because they give constructive feedback on how to improve, and always ask for more if they like your work. One of my favorites was one of the most honest, when I submitted a depressing tale about loss to a children’s magazine; the editor was quite blunt when saying that the magazine’s aims were to make space exploration exciting. It was extremely true, and encouraged me to find magazines aimed at handling grief and angst.
    I hope that revision for this novel goes well.


  2. Thank you for your thoughtful response, Priya!


  1. What are YOU Focused on Right Now? | Terrie Leigh Relf, Writer, Editor & Writing Coach

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