Friday, July 23, 2010

Rejections as Stepping Stones by Rita Gerlach

Welcome to another Fortifying Friday. Today, author Rita Gerlach is here to share her journey to publication, as well as encouraging words to writers who have experienced rejection. (Dawn here.) Now, who has NEVER had their work rejected? Come on! Raise your hands. Hmmm . . . I don’t see too many. Enjoy Rita’s story and be ready to dig back into your manuscripts!

Rejections as Stepping Stones

When I read accounts of aspiring writers expressing their disappointment after they’ve received a rejection, my heart goes out to them. I've been in that exact same place where rejections seemed an endless circle for several years after I began writing seriously.

There are two things a Christian writer must have besides a tough skin - persistence and patience. You continue to write, improve the craft, send out queries, put your writing career into God’s hands, and commit your work to Him.

But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. ~Romans 8:25

Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. ~Proverbs 16:3

Rejections come with the writing life. However, the day you land your first publishing contract, all that you went through to get to this point will be worth it, no matter how long it took. Still, you might get a rejection from your editor on a new proposal, but you can ask what you can do to make the manuscript better, what can you change to meet her expectations. As you grow as a writer you'll begin to view rejections as stepping stones to something better . . . to make you a better writer, a motivation to make your manuscript the best it can be.

When I finished writing Surrender the Wind, I started sending out queries. Frustrated after a year of receiving rejection letters from agents, I sat down at my desk and asked the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do with this book and with my career. I have a verse in a frame on my desk that says ' Commit your work to the Lord'. And so, that is what I did. If He wanted this novel published, it would be. I had to be patient for the right door to open.

Fifteen minutes later I saw on Brandilyn Collins' blog that Barbara Scott had been hired as the new acquisitions editor at Abingdon Press. They were starting a fiction line. I sent her a query and she requested the manuscript.

I was offered a contract and Surrender the Wind came out August 09. In November, Diana Flegal at Hartline offered me representation. In June 2010, I signed again with Abingdon for a historical series. Book 2 in the series I had began writing as a stand-alone. Barbara rejected it. I asked her if I could make changes and resend. She said yes. Then it occurred to me I needed to tell the stories of the other women in this book, thus a series. Barbara looked at the proposals and loved them.

I'm not sharing these successes to toot my own horn. I just want to encourage you to look at rejection in a different light. Remember rejections are stepping stones to something better. Be patient and persistent.

Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. She has published four historical novels, and writes the blogs Stepping Stones Magazine for Readers and InSpire, focusing on the writing life and the promotion of authors. Her fourth book Surrender the Wind, an inspirational historical romance set in Virginia and England, was released from Abingdon Press in August 2009. Currently she is writing a new series, Daughters of the Potomac, for Abingdon. The first in the series, Before the Scarlet Dawn is due for release early in 2012.

To find out more, please visit:

Blog: InSpire:
Stepping Stones for Readers:

Read the Prologue & Chapter One to Surrender the Wind


  1. Hi Rita, Annette, and Dawn,
    Wonderful post! It's been such a pleasure getting to know you all recently. I have Surrender the Wind right here by my chair and can't wait to dive in once this deadline passes. The topic of rejection is certainly not new to me, either. Love how you persisted and sought the Lord's direction, Rita. Bless you for being a light!

  2. Thanks, Laura! And Rita, I appreciate your heart in this post. Rejection is common and so uncomfortable for most writers. Patience is required, but not often befriended. Thanks for sharing from your heart and for visiting SW today. :)

  3. YOu are an inspiration as usual. So happy for your success Rita. You have worked hard and committed your ways to Him.


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!