How many times should you send out a manuscript—and get rejected—before you put that one on the shelf? And if you deem one manuscript a failure, should you push forward to write another?
There is no pat response because no one can answer these questions but you.
The more accurate questions, perhaps, are these:
- How many times can you withstand rejection without losing the faith to carry on?
- How burning is your passion to write and share it with the world?
- How open are you to getting qualified feedback on your manuscript?
- How many times are you willing to rewrite until you get it right?
I wish I had those wonderful stats and stories to pull from a hat: X sent out Y manuscript Z number of times before it finally was accepted and published. I know those stories, but I just can’t remember the names of the writers they’re about. You know the ones: some fifty rejections before going on to finally be accepted and become a bestselling classic. (If you know any of those stories please share some with us!)
Succeeding as a writer does not necessarily mean succeeding easily and gracefully. Not everyone gets to sail effortlessly across the finish line. Some will limp across that frontier (from unpublished to published and paid) with plenty of bruises and scrapes from a harrowing journey.
But those who persevere have a chance of getting there. And those who are willing to rewrite—as many times as it takes—have an even better chance.