Rejection Reads (Courtney McKinney-Whitaker)

In a fun case of serendipity, I've heard a lot about rejection this month.

I say fun, because it's not been me getting rejected (though I think I actually got 1 rejection this month and 1 acceptance, both for shorter pieces, not novels, which I will say is a pretty good month) but me encountering really good pieces on rejection.

I thought I would share them here.

At Lithub, travel writer Thomas Swick discusses the long road to publication of a memoir of his time in Poland in the early 1980s in "After Dozens of Rejections, It Only Takes One Acceptance To Make AWriter."

A taste:
"The Poles have a phrase for this phenomenon: pisańá do szuflady (to write for the drawer). In Poland the contributing factors were more political than qualitative, while here they’re more financial. “What is the difference between capitalism and communism?” began an old Soviet-era joke, sometimes attributed to John Kenneth Galbraith. “The former is the exploitation of man by man while the latter is the opposite.” I was coming up with a new explanation: Communism bans books for their ideas while capitalism bans them for their (perceived) inability to make money. A situation that turns unpublished writers in the first system into dissidents and heroes and those in the second into poor schmucks."

In "The Rejection Audit: What If Your WritingRejections Are Actually Good News?" book coach Jennie Nash writes about the different types of rejections and how to learn from and move forward from them.

A taste:

"Publishing is a complex, massively big and multi-layered business universe. There is no “they.” There are just people who love books and make a living selling them who are constantly on the lookout for projects they think can attract readers.

Your job as a writer is to write what you are called to write, to master your craft, to understand what readers want, and to learn the rules of the game of how to reach those readers. Part of this work is taking a cold hard look at your rejections."

Have you read any great pieces or books on the fine art of rejection? Share them in the comments!


  1. I love this, Courtney! And sign me a long-time Dissident and Hero :)

  2. Thank you for sharing these excerpts, Courtney! Great post. :)

  3. That's a great tidbit from Nash. And it's true.


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