Thursday, April 5

Special Guest : Ann Herrick

Today, it's my pleasure to introduce prolific YA author Ann Herrick who wants to tell us that even the bad rejections can be good. Thank you, Ann, for stopping by and visiting us here at The Word Wranglers..

Rejects, The Good, The Bad and The Weird

Believe it or not, you can make those rejections work for you!

Let’s face it. Anyone who has ever written (and submitted work) has received the dreaded rejection letter. While it’s never fun, sometimes it can be informative, even encouraging. The briefest note accompanying a reject is a positive sign. Editors don’t take time to write even a few words unless they think your work shows some promise.

So if you receive any sort of positive response, send more of your work. Way back when I first started writing, I, like most writers, received reject after reject. Imagine the thrill then when one form letter came back with, “Thanks, nice try” handwritten at the bottom. I pirouetted around the room. Someone saw something in my writing that was worth the time and effort to scrawl three words of encouragement! Talk about inspiration. That was all I needed to keep me going through the next round of rejects. Then one day I opened a SASE to find not only my manuscript, but a complete letter describing many good points in my story-- -and the reasons why the story still wasn’t good enough for publication. Of course, I sent to that magazine again. Again I received a detailed, personal reject letter, a bit more positive than the last. Unfortunately, the magazine stopped publishing fiction, so I never did sell to that particular market. But the encouragement I got was enough to inspire me until my writing did start to sell. So, sometimes, rejections can be good.

On the other hand, they can occasionally be downright nasty. You have to figure the editor was having a super bad day, and not let it discourage you. Once I submitted some greeting card ideas to a company that sounded as if it would be a match for my style. I received the following reject: "This (an arrow pointing to the printed form reject) is a reject for your enclosed work. This (a line going down the page) is a reject for anything else you might ever submit!" I took the attitude, Okay, they don’t like my stuff, but I’ll show them. I guess it worked, because since then I’ve sold over 200 greeting card ideas. Another time I received a batch of rejected greeting cards with a sticky note (that I can only hope was left on by mistake) attached to one. The note made fun of the idea in a rather obscene fashion. Talk about rude! I got my revenge, however, when the card later sold to a better-paying market. So while nasty rejections are not fun, they can inspire you to work harder.

The definitely weird occurred after I submitted a book manuscript to a major publisher who’d always been prompt (with their rejects!) and always included a polite, if standard, reject letter. This time when my work was returned, I noticed that the envelope was positively bulging. What, I wondered hopefully, could that mean? A big, fat contract, perhaps? I carefully opened the envelope, pulled out my manuscript and...a wooden plaque in the shape of an ashtray with Thank You For Not Smoking printed inside a red circle with a slash through it. ??? I have never figured it out. I have, however, figured out a cure for rejects. Send the work out again as soon as possible. Once it’s on its way, it’s no longer rejected. It’s “with a publisher.”

About Ann:

Ann Herrick is the author of several books and short stories for kids and teens. Her books have won several awards, such as the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers award and an IRA/CBC Children’s Choice award.

She grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix. While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ann loves cats, walking, the Oregon Ducks and working in her back yard. In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards. She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted through her web site:

Blurb for The Real Me (my newest release)

When Mattie has issues with her weight, she decides to take charge of her life, redo her image, find confidence and maybe even dare to talk to guys. She also discovers that boys can be insecure and have self-doubts too. Will a change in lifestyle, a friend, a tormentor, and a dream guy help Mattie discover her real self and find romance along the way?

Blurb for The Farewell Season:

A story of how love endures and love heals.
Eric and Glynnie go from butting heads to grudging friendship to something more...
Eric used to think he'd live forever, but not any more.
As football season starts, he hopes he can live normally again after the death of his father, but his refusal to face his grief results in anger at his coach, fights with his sister, resenting added responsibilities, and disillusionment with football. It takes a special relationship with Glynnie, who is dealing with the divorce of her parents, to open his heart to love again and see he is angry with his father for dying and the way to get through grief is by grieving.


  1. Ah, success is the greatest revenge! Interesting and informative post. I'm so glad you came to visit!

  2. Thanks, Liz! And thanks, Margie, too, for the opportunity to guest blog!

  3. Great post, Ann! In the moment, a rejection stings so badly...but I like to turn that sting into a 'well, I'll just do it better' incentive. It takes a few days to get there, but turning that bad into a good is a great feeling!

    PS: Your books sound great!

  4. Thanks for your rejection confessions. Your upbeat attitude and willingness to keep submitting in spite of ugly (and unprofessional) comments is inspiring, Ann. No wonder you have succeeded in this crazy business. I'm sure blog readers will take heart.

    Lurlene McDaniel

  5. Wow, those some of those are pretty wild rejections. I don't understand why people can't manage to have respect for each other.

  6. Thanks Ann - we all need to hear this. Your perseverance is inspiration to all writers.

  7. Thanks everyone! Sometimes all you can do when you get a really negative rejection is try to find the humor in it, so you don't cry! ;D

  8. Ann, thanks for coming by and I love your reject stories--especially the odd. And I especially love your positive attitude.

  9. I never forgot the ashtray story when you shared it on the BB, Ann. Has to be a record for 'weird.'
    Call me fussy, but I only like the good rejections. One editor, no longer working, used to send my manuscripts back with small corrections. All her edits were spot-on. I was amazed at the help I was getting for the price of postage & SASE.

  10. Thanks for visiting Wordwranglers today! Great one about the ashtray! LOL

  11. I'm scratching my head at the ashtray thing. You have such a positive attitude!

  12. Of course it's easier to be positive well after some of those rejections, lol!