Guest Post ~ When “no” doesn’t always mean “no” by Jen McConnel

Sometimes, it takes a little bit of luck to realize your dreams, and sometimes, you need to get out of your own way and stop believing the worst.
When I first began pursuing a writing career, I didn’t know the difference between a good rejection and a form rejection.  No meant no, and that was the end of the story.  I didn’t even save some of my early rejection; I know we’ve all read about writers who carried around every rejection they’d ever received, and at the time, I didn’t want to have that kind of psychic baggage.
Silly, I know.  You can learn a lot from rejections, and over the years, I’ve learned the difference between a good rejection and a form rejection.
I think we all know what a form rejection feels like.  It’s a closed store, a form letter, a “thanks, but no thanks”.  These rejections are hard to process, and other than when to move on, they don’t offer much educational value.
But a good rejection is different.  This might be a rejection that opens the door for future projects, or a rejection that provides real feedback and critical suggestions; both of these things were included in the first rejection I received from my editor at Bloomsbury Spark, and I’m so glad I didn’t hit that rejection earlier in my life as a writer.  When I queried Spark, it was with a YA project I still haven’t found a home for, and the editor wrote me a great rejection letter.  She offered plot suggestions and story arc feedback, and she told me how much she loved my voice, even if the project wasn’t right. 
That rejection turned into a dialogue about my other work, and ultimately led to the acquisition of my New Adult novel THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY.
No doesn’t always mean no.  Sometimes, it means, “try something else”; sometimes, it means, “revise and resubmit”; and sometimes, it means, “what else do you have?”  A good rejection  can be the luckiest thing that happens to you, if you are able to get passed “no” and find the advice.
But remember: sometimes, no really means “no”. Learn to tell the difference between a good rejection and a form rejection, and act accordingly.  Much as it pains me to say this, save all your rejections; you never know what you might learn from them, and most of the time, you won’t be ready to hear it right away.  Just don’t wallpaper your bathroom in them or anything; trust that luck and persistence will bring you to the place you are longing to be, and remember there’s a fine line between learning from your rejections and dwelling on them.
credit James Barrett 2013
About Jen
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is coming December 2013 from Bloomsbury Spark . 

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Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.

They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.
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Read my review of this fabulous book!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:36 AM

    Thank you so much for helping me celebrate the re-release! :)


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