Make a Date with Desire: Jessica Lemmon Talks about Rejection

Rooting for Rejection

by Jessica Lemmon

No matter what stage of your writing career you’re in, no one likes to hear the word “no.” From newbies to seasoned, every author gets rejected on projects. As much as it stings, especially in the early stages, I encourage you to celebrate each and every “no” you hear. Let them fuel your passion for your craft, test your mettle and teach you what to do next.

Years ago, when I was an aspiring author, I was crystal clear about my goals. 1) I wanted to be published by a New York house, and 2) I wanted to be great at my craft. No new author starts out great. Like a baby deer taking its first wobbly steps, we’re all knees when we start out. Even when your work is up to snuff there are legitimate reasons you might receive a rejection letter for your book.

Here are some of the reasons I’ve received rejections in the past:

Problem: Your skill level isn’t there yet.

Solution: Practice, practice, practice! Maybe you sent in your very first finished manuscript. I did. Problem was, I lacked the skill to tell a story. The solution is simple: Start a new book! The more you write, the more you learn. Read books and blogs by authors who have been there/done that. (I have a section on my website dedicated to writers.)

Problem: You’re not a good match for the editor.

Solution: Submit to another publisher. You want an editor that loves your book and your voice. Seek the perfect match.

Problem: The timing is off.

Solution: The editor loves your voice and concept but she just bought a zombie baseball players series. This is when it helps to have more than one project in the works. If she asks what else you have, you’ll have something else to send her. Maybe she’ll like vampire divorce lawyers better anyway…

I hope these examples help and encourage you on your journey.

Happy writing!

Jessica Lemmon

You can check out Jessica’s website at She loves to hear from writers and readers alike, so be sure to send her an email while you’re there!

6 replies on “Make a Date with Desire: Jessica Lemmon Talks about Rejection”

Thank you for your insight. I received a wonderful rejection email stating that the agent liked the premise, that I had a lovely voice, but that she didn’t connect enough with the book to offer representation. So I keep plugging away. Loved the “we’re all knees” comment too. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey. Greta

There’s also the rejection where you’re “close” but still too far for the editor to take a chance.
Thanks for the tips Jessica!

I always have at least two projects going. When a rejection comes in I’m already in love with something else so it doesn’t sting.
It’s very true that you want an editor who gets your story and loves it. Totally not worth it to work with one who does not.

Gold star for you, Kimber! I always wrote the next book as soon as I submitted one. Best of luck to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *