Friday, February 3, 2012

Finding Encouragement in a Rejection Letter by Dora Hiers

Is there any writer on the planet who hasn’t received at least one rejection letter? I suppose there could be, but I’ve never heard of any. I think we all experience it at one time or another. But what do we do with those letters? Author Dora Hiers shares her journey to publication and how she believes we can find encouragement in rejection. Enjoy! ~ Dawn

Finding Encouragement in a Rejection Letter
by Dora Hiers

What? Encouragement in a rejection letter? 

I see you shaking your head, muttering under your breath. You don’t think it’s possible.

How many of you have read a book, then thought that you could do better? 

I pecked at the keys on my laptop for a year to create my first masterpiece. After praying and spending oodles on postage, I sent my baby out into the world, then settled back to wait. 

A year and a stack of rejections later, I tucked that book deep in the closet. I was finished. 

You need to practice before you get good at something, right? Convinced, I signed up for a few online fiction-writing courses, attended a writer’s conference, and joined two writers’ organizations and a critique group. 

The writing bug kept stinging, so I wrote another book, Journey’s End, which prompted another round of rejection letters. This time, though, the rejections carried a slightly different tone.   

How do you find encouragement in a rejection letter? How do you know when you’re getting close? 

When the rejections stop including the generic line, “Thanks, but we don’t have room in our lineup for your book at this time.” Instead, they list specific issues or problem areas to change and offer recommendations. 

How would you handle this? Some writers give up. Writing a book takes long enough, but submitting it to a publisher or agent and waiting for a response takes months. 

And changes? Some writers refuse to make changes. After all, that’s their baby. I don’t understand that attitude. Authors are required to edit. Why not show a willingness to make changes before a contract is offered?

I made the changes and pressed on. A friend from Carolina Christian Writers mentioned White Rose Publishing. White Rose hadn’t blipped my radar and until then, I’d never read an e-book. God revealed a door where I had no idea one existed, so I knocked. 

On New Year’s Eve, three months later, I received this response, “I’d love to add Journey’s End to the White Rose Publishing line-up.” Can you think of a better way to end one year and to begin another? Who needs fireworks? 

So, dig for the pearls of encouragement in that rejection.

First, read the entire response. Cry and pitch a fit, but do not wad up the letter and toss it in the fireplace or push the delete key on the email.  

Leave it for a few days. Then reread it with a fresh perspective. 

Focus on what the rejection actually says. Study the response. Is it generic or does it point out problematic areas? Does it offer recommendations? Write down your observations from their response and any recommendations offered. Consider how you could incorporate these into your manuscript.

Pray, asking God for open and closed doors. Expect His response. Rejoice in His promise: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3, NIV).

After a successful auditing career, Dora Hiers left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son didn’t want her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing heart racing, God-gracing books. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers. Dora and her husband make their home in North Carolina. When she’s not writing, Dora enjoys reading and family gatherings. She despises traffic, technological meltdowns, and a sad ending to a book. Her books always end with happily-ever-afters.

Connect with Dora:
Twitter: @DoraHiers    


  1. Dora, I'm so glad you took the rejection letter as a spring board and not a brick wall. Journey's End is such a wonderful book. I'm so glad it found a home!

  2. Thanks, Angie! Sometimes as writers it seems like we'll never climb over that wall, doesn't it? I'm thankful to so many for encouragement along the way, especially from you and my friends in Carolina Christian Writers!

    Thanks for the invitation to visit Seriously Write, Dawn. I love stopping by here every day for some great tips and a little encouragement.

  3. My pleasure, Dora! You've blessed all of us by supporting the blog and what we try to accomplish here. :-D

  4. Dora, I love the cover for Journey's Edge!!! It's stunning!! Congrats! I loved this very encouraging and touching post - been there, done that, and yes, you can make it through!! Thank you for sharing! Great blog, as always, ladies!! xo and God Bless! Can't wait for Chicago!!!!

    1. Thank you, Marianne! Nicola Martinez deserves the credit for creating this awesome cover for JOURNEY'S EDGE.

      Congrats on your completion of all four books in the Woodland Series and for your upcoming Harbourlight release, DEVOTION! I adored HEARTS KEY and can't wait to catch up on the others. I'm looking forward to our workshop in Chicago, too! Thanks for stopping by, Marianne.


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