Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What You Can Learn From Rejection---Guest Post by Margo Dill

Margo's New Book

Margo Dill

What You Can Learn From Rejection
        By Margo L. Dill
As a writer, I collect rejections. It’s not the collection I was hoping for, and I do have another collection in my bag—a collection of publications. But no matter how many acceptances, glowing reviews, contest wins, and published books I have, the rejections seem bigger and more powerful than the good stuff.
        I think this is true for most creative types. We thrive on positive feedback and good reviews. One reason—it’s how many of us make a living; and without acceptances and sales, we make no money. The other reason, in my opinion, is we want someone to love our work as much as we do. We pour our hearts out and have spent hours upon hours upon hours slaving over a piece of art, a manuscript, or a new song. We want people to LOVE what we’ve spent time doing. This is natural and this is normal, but it’s not always possible.
        Both books I’ve had published, Finding My Place (a middle-grade historical fiction novel set in the Civil War in Vicksburg, MS) and Caught Between Two Curses (a young adult light paranormal set in Chicago, IL) were rejected numerous times. I spent YEARS drafting and revising, writing queries and sending in submissions, attending conferences and pitching to agents and editors. During these years, I took my manuscripts to critique groups, where I often received constructive criticism (which can even be hard to take sometimes) and rejections—one agent even saying, “I just don’t understand the baseball thing in Caught Between Two Curses.” (One of the curses is the infamous Curse of the Billy Goat on the Chicago Cubs.)
        So, what have I learned?
·       Not everyone will love your art, whatever it is. But if you work hard, you will find your audience and have success.
·       Don’t compare your success with the success of someone who has “made it.” You have NO IDEA, unless this person has told you, how many times he/she was rejected before making it BIG.
·       Persistence and hard work are everything in creative fields. Most people who are unsuccessful think it should be easy to paint a picture, write a book, or record a song. If it’s easy, you’re not doing it right.
·       On bad days, allow yourself to feel the pain of rejection. It’s part of the creative process. Once you have recovered, ask yourself if there’s anything you can learn from the rejection.
Caught Between Two Curses has been out for a couple months now, and it has gotten some great reviews. Some readers really understand my main character, Julie, and her struggle with her boyfriend pressuring her to have sex and trying to help her family break the curses that keep killing her loved ones. They understand her quirky voice and unsure ways. But one teen who read the book wrote me and said that she thought I was a good writer, but she wanted to hit Julie over the head for most of the book. I took a deep breath, smiled a little at the comment, and then moved on, working on my next two projects that I hope to introduce to the world soon.
If you are interested in reading Caught Between Two Curses, you can find it at all online retailers, including Amazon ( ) and ( It’s the story of 17-year-old Julie Nigelson, who is cursed.  So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs. Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time. Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life—and time is running out!
Margo L. Dill is an author, speaker, writing instructor for WOW! Women On Writing, and freelance editor (Editor 911), living in St. Louis, MO. Read more on her website, or on, where she blogs about GIRL POWER! on Tuesdays.

Margo L. Dill
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*Finding My Place, middle-grade (ages 9 to 12)  historical fiction, White Mane Kids, 2012
(Winner of the 2013 Eloquent Quill Youth Book Award)
*Caught Between Two Curses, young adult, light paranormal, Rocking Horse Publishing, 2014
*Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire, and the Case of the Missing Cookies, picture book, Guardian Angel Publishing, 2014
*Lucy and the Red Ribbon Week Adventure, picture book, High Hill Press, 2014


Debra Ann Pawlak said...

Great post! As a fellow writer, I sure do know about rejection, but I always try to remind myself that it only takes one YES!

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Debra, so true. ONE YES! And it is so subjective, so just because a few people say no doesn't mean that everyone will say the same thing. :)

Cinda Bauman said...

Great post, Margo!

Margo Dill said...

Thank you, Cinda. :) I hope this post touched you both as an author and an illustrator!