Friday, November 15, 2013

Embracing Rejection - What You Can Learn by Debbie Lynne Costello

Debbie Lynne Costello
Let’s face it. Rejection comes with this business. My guess is that everyone has experienced it—no matter who they are or how many books they’ve published. So what do we do? How do we handle the feelings that accompany rejection? Debbie Lynne Costello shares what she’s learned. ~ Dawn


Embracing Rejection - What You Can Learn

I often wonder if there is a profession that is more discouraging and in need of as much encouragement as the career writer.  If you’ve been serious about writing for any amount of time you’ve heard the words, Just hang in there. Don’t give up. It’s a tough business, but if you stay with it your day will come.

But waiting for your day is another story! How many times I thought that’s easy for you to say, you have an agent. It’s frustrating when you send query after query out and keep getting rejections or worse–no answer at all! But those people were doing their best to boost my flagging spirits.

It’s all about God’s timing. Now don’t roll your eyes at me. It’s true and as much as we’d all like it on our timing I can assure you that you’ll be happier on God’s. You know before Tamela took me on I thought, if I can only get an agent so I can get my manuscript before publishers I’ll be happy. Well, at the time I was ready to take any agent because my dream agent had rejected me. After about 20 rejections I finally heard what agents were saying thanks to Laurie Alice Eakes. I kept hearing I like your writing, but the time period is a problem. Laurie Alice listened to my moaning long enough and told me if you want to land an agent write what they want.

But…but… give up medieval times? Laurie Alice asked me what I liked about the time period. I love the chivalry, the Scottish men, and castles. Her answer to me was to put those things into a time period that was selling. I did and when I finished my manuscript I pitched it at conference, and this time I landed my dream agent!

I encourage you to listen to what your rejection letters are saying. If you see a pattern it might mean you need to make some changes. I’ve found it’s always best to let the rejection sit for a week or two depending how hard it hits me. Then go back and read it again, this time with an objective mind.

There was one rejection I received from a publisher that took a bit more time. The rejection was a page and a half long. It told me all the things wrong with my manuscript. And believe me there was a lot according to this editor. I was so upset. I set it aside and six months later I pulled it out just for kicks. And guess what? I could see that what this editor said made sense. Now I didn’t agree with everything, but 90% of it I did. And I also realized that she had spent a lot of time giving me valuable feedback.

We become attached to our manuscripts. We pour ourselves into them so hearing the truth is hard. I encourage you to give yourself some time after a rejection. Then, after it doesn’t hurt so much read it again and see if the suggestions will make your manuscript stronger.  And always remember to just hang in there. Don’t give up. It is a tough business, but if you stay with it your day will come.


It’s true. It’s all about God’s timing. Click to tweet.

Listen to what your rejection letters are saying and learn from them. Click to tweet.

Don’t give up. If you stay with it, your day will come. Click to tweet.


Stop by Christian Fiction Historical Society where I am giving away a fun book, A Biltmore Christmas PLUS a Biltmore Christmas ornament. Let me know you stopped by here to get a second chance to win! Hope to see you there.

Debbie Lynne Costello is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. She attended Heritage University, where she studied Journalism and worked in the editing department. She has completed five full length novels set in the Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA area in the late 19th century and is now seeking homes for them. She and her husband have four children. They live in upstate South Carolina with their family. In her spare time, she sews, paints, knits, camps (in a fifth wheel) and plays with the grandbabies.

To learn more or connect with Debbie, please visit these sites:


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog today, ladies! Looking forward to chatting with all your peeps!

  2. Excellent encouragement and advice, Debbie Lynne. I love your honesty and practical thoughts. God's timing really is best. He has great things in store for you!

    1. Thanks Kathy. You have been my biggest cheerleader and #1 go to person along the way. Couldn't have done it without you.

  3. Thank you for your encouraging words! One of the things that has been made clear to me over the years of sharing journeys to publication on this blog: everyone's journey is different. But once that destination is reached, authors look back and better understand God's timing. :-)

  4. I love the area you write about, Deb. We used to live on HHI in SC and loved visiting Charleston for research on a book I wrote about the Hunley sub. Savannah is also a favorite seaport city. You really stuck with your craft and I enjoyed your testimony. I visited your page about Biltmore and what a great place to enjoy Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Diane. Hilton Head Island is beautiful. My daughter loves golfing there. And I love Savannah as well (although Charleston does hold my heart). I've only set one US story outside of Charleston and that was Savannah. Oh! and the Hunley. What a fascinating story. I have a ton of magazines and information on it. So much fun to read about.

  5. Oh Debbie, you are so right, it is all about God's timing. Excellent advice about what to do on the author's part. Laurie Alice is a wise woman.

    1. Thanks, Terri! And you are so right, Laurie Alice is very wise. She's given me wonderful advice through the years. She's been a blessing.

  6. It is neat that You are wise enough to learn from rejection
    God bless you
    Chris Granville


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