You’ve been working on your piece for what seems like weeks even though it has probably only been a couple of days.
The topic means so much to you that it has to be right so you’ve edited it over and over, just trying to convey exactly what you mean in an understandable way to make people as excited as you are or to see the truth of the matter.
Finally, it is perfect. You submit your finished product to the appropriate online site; you’re confident this is just the perfect place for readers to really connect with the work you’ve produced.
And you wait.
When you finally do hear back, it isn’t good news. The editor has made it clear she doesn’t see eye to eye with you, has a boatload of critiques, and won’t post anything without some serious adjustments. You’re crestfallen; this is the pinnacle of your work and you feel that the editor is wrong in some instances. What is there to do?
Take a Step Back
No matter who you are or how great of a blog writer you are, sooner or later someone is going to disagree with some aspect of your work. Occasional rejection is just a part of the job, even if it hurts to see all of that effort to go waste. They say writing is a good job for someone with social anxiety, but rejections can sure put that idea to the test.
It’s even worse when editors have really annoying habits that you can’t get around or when they use a rejection email to express all sorts of negative attitudes and even some level of snarkiness. You want to fire back with an equal level of attitude, but should you?
One of the best ways to help yourself cool down after receiving a snarky rejection is to open up a fresh document and write the aggressive email you want to send. It can be really cathartic to say exactly what you want to say, but don’t paste your words into an email and send it. Instead, take a step back and walk away for a little while. Respond the next day, after you’ve given yourself time to digest and think about the rejection and how you really should respond. Think about what it is you’re trying to get out of your writing career. Consider the ways that have been paved before you by women in literature, who likely also dealt with rejection at every turn. What about writing makes you passionate? Why do you do what you do? Remember your roots, and why you have your passions — and then focus on how to reply to the editor who might just not understand where you’re coming from.
Change What You Can
There are plenty of reasons why your writing may have been rejected. One of the most common ones is that you didn’t read or completely follow the editor’s guidelines. The guidelines might seem silly, but editors get hundreds of potential posts a day. Writers that fail to follow the basic rules for submission are easy to say “no” to. If you messed something up in the guidelines, politely ask if you can fix it and resubmit.
Beyond that, it can be very important to make sure your content actually matches what the site is looking for. This is another reason why a lot of submissions are ultimately rejected – they just don’t quite line up with the overarching theme and goals of the blog. If this is part of the problem, you’re going to need to be really persuasive, rework the tone of your piece, or think about submitting your piece elsewhere.
You may also get rejected if the editor that you’re used to working with suddenly disappears. Perhaps the new editor doesn’t understand your work or is trying to take things a different direction. In this scenario, it pays to work towards building a new relationship with this editor and striving to find common ground.
Negotiate and Be Nice
The golden rule of working with editors is to be nice, no matter how rude they are to you. The second you lose your cool and shoot off a rude email is the second you’ve burned a bridge that you will struggle to rebuild. Most editors are willing to work with writers who show promise and continually submit new content, but they are likely to relegate you to the spam folder if you’re unpleasant to work with.
No matter how frustrated you get or how much you want your piece accepted, there are a few things that are really in just bad taste to say. They won’t earn you any bonus points and tend to leave editors without any desire to work with you in the future. Avoid things like the following:
- Belittling the editor
- Claiming you know the audience better than the editor does
- Blackmailing or threatening to work with the competition
- Coming up with excuses
Although being nice really does pay off, that doesn’t necessarily mean to bend over backwards just to please an editor. If you feel like you have something strong to work with, negotiating can be a powerful tool. Give them something they want but be sure you also get something out of the deal. Set the tone by responding to rejection emails with things you are willing to change in the article if they are still willing to consider publishing it.
Getting rejected by an editor sucks, especially when they are rude about it. No matter what, always reply with kindness — even if you have to walk away for a full day, and try to find common ground to negotiate on. Fix things that are easy for you to fix without killing the point of your article. With enough flexibility and effort, you will be well on your way to winning their acceptance!
This post was written by Beau Peters, a professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks in the business world and enjoys sharing them with others who carry the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.