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How to Survive Your First Literary Agent Rejection! A Book Editor's Guide

How to Survive Your First Literary Agent Rejection

Professional UK book editor reveals 5 must-have ways to survive your first rejection from a literary agent!

Finally getting to query literary agents is one of the most exciting parts of the journey to becoming a published author. 🤩

But to achieve success, failure is inevitable.

So receiving rejections & constructive criticism from literary agents is to be expected!

But it doesn't make it any less difficult and painful. 😥

So, here's how to survive your first rejection from agents & publishers! 👇🏾

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1. Expect the Expected

Before you send your first querying package to your favourite literary agent, or maybe you've sent multiple submissions at once, EXPECT to receive a rejection.

And I don't mean a half-arsed expectation that's got a glimmer of hope shining through.

I mean a true expectation.

Even if you and everyone around you believe that you've written a best-seller, EXPECT your first response to be a rejection.

It's not that your novel is so shite that you can't possibly receive acceptance on the first go, it's just that it's highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely to happen. 😬

Especially when you consider that agents represent less than 5% of the writers who query them, which is somewhere in the thousands!

And it's not that there isn't any point in querying either, because you stand as much of a chance as everyone else else. 🏆

It's about not getting your hopes up too high on the very first time you query!

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2. Nothing Personal (As My Favourite Band Says!)

Just because a literary agent has rejected your manuscript, it doesn't mean that you need to take it straight to the heart...which I get is way easier said than done. 💔 really isn't personal.

It's not because they dislike YOU or absolutely despise your book.

They may not see anything wrong with your novel, it could just be that it's not for them or they've tried to read at the wrong time. 🤔

So, after receiving your first rejection, plus the many others that may follow, it's not necessarily time to rethink your development or writing.

Especially if the agent/s haven't given specific feedback - many don't have the time. ⏳

However, if you have multiple agents bringing your attention to the same issues, that's when you should probably do something about it. ✂

But until then, find more agents who are looking for novels like yours and KEEP QUERYING!

3. Stay Appreciative & Humble

However desperate you may be to impress the top literary agents and get that sparkling book deal, always remember to stay appreciative and humble.

Even when you receive your 1st, 2nd, 50th, or 100th rejection, it could be helpful to keep in mind that the agents YOU chose to query took the time to read YOUR pride & joy AND respond to you! 🙀

Which doesn't sound very exciting when their attention ends with a rejection, but it's useful to remember that YOU and YOUR manuscript became part of their day.

AND they made the effort to get in touch!

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4. Reflect on Your Favourite Authors

We all know that the likes of Rowling and King received many rejections before they got a 'yes!', but that might not mean anything to you if you're not interested in those authors.

They're just the top 2 most spoken about when it comes to rejections.

So, write down 3-5 of your favourite authors and do some research. 📊

Learn - or remind yourself - about their life leading up to their success, and how many times THEY faced rejection before landing a book deal. 🧐

It won't take the hurt away completely, but it'll help to know that anything is possible!

5. Talk About It

I know, I know...the last thing you'll want to do after receiving your first rejection is talk about it.

But honestly, it could really help.

Naturally, you'll feel like utter crap, but as social creatures, you might just need to open up about it to SOMEONE and allow them to listen, and offer hugs if needed. 🥰

If you don't want to speak to anyone you know, you could find support in FB groups for writers, on Twitter under the #writingcommunity hashtag, or on Instagram. 📱


If multiple agents have all highlighted the same issues in your manuscript, it's definitely time to return to the drawing board and reconsider a few things.

That's where I can help you:

When you're ready to receiving full manuscript requests and a solid 'YES', my Bestselling Author's Package is waiting for you! 🤩

If you want more details, click here to find out more!



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Hey! I'm Chelsea and I'm a professional book editor at Stand Corrected Editing, my independent editorial business in the UK. If you would like to have your manuscript thoroughly edited by myself, please get in touch!

With my book editing and proofreading services, I hope to spread my knowledge and expertise on how to make your novel a success, and be a mentor to others who desperately want to pursue a fruitful career as an author!


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