The Other Type of Rejection for Writers

Though its usefulness is questionable, people who declare their intention to be a writer will hear a warning from, well, just about everywhere not long afterward.

Get comfortable with rejection, because you’ll be facing it a lot…from agents, publishers, journals, contests…rejection is part of life as a writer.

Okay, yes, it is. I can’t deny it. But these are all “active rejections” so to speak. You submit to something, and the powers that be choose not to use your work.

But there’s another type of rejection for writers that I don’t think gets mentioned as often, though it occurs as much if not more than rejections like the ones mentioned above; it’s the passive, silent rejection from those who know you best.

Most writers have families. A few even have a friend or two, even though we can be a neurotic bunch. When we’re lucky, one or two people from each group reads our stuff. But if you’re a writer, my guess is you know what it’s like to have your friends and relatives take only a passing interesting in they words you have bled out onto the page.

-You’re wrote a novel? That’s great. Keep me posted on how it goes. Oh, it came out three months ago? Well, I’ve been real crazy busy with this new job, and I hardly check my Facebook feed anymore. But I’m proud of you!

Yeah, I saw your novel on Amazon, go you! Money’s real tight these days, and I just can’t spare that 99 cents at the moment. But as soon as I can…

I’m not much of a reader, really. Just magazines and such, and I don’t have an ereader. I used to but I like never used it, I gave it to my cousin. But you wrote a whole novel, that’s impressive!

And so on.

The sad, blunt bottom line is this; most of your friends and family don’t give a shit about reading your stuff. Oh they love/respect you as much as they ever did, and they want good things for you. They really, really hope you become this big huge successful writer…based on other people buying your book. But read it themselves? Not so much.

And please don’t fool yourself into thinking that these same people will respect the disappointment they cause you, and never ask you for anything in the future, because there’s a good chance that as soon as one of them starts making fudge and selling it out of their Elantra door-to-door, you’ll be getting an email asking if you’d like to place one of the first orders.

What’s the reason that the percentage of friends and family that read a writer’s stuff is so low most of the time? Don’t any of them realize that the simple act of downloading an ebook, or even better, leaving a rating or review of it online if they liked it can move mountains in the world of an author? (Particularly an indie author like myself.) They should know it; after all, you’ve told them after each time you publish something.

So why doesn’t it move them? I don’t know. If I knew that, I’d probably already be a world famous author. The only thing I can advise is to remember the lyrics from the old Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tune, Teach Your Children:

If they told you, you would cry, so just look at them and sigh and know they love you.



  1. I had parents who never showed an interest in anything I did. I don’t know if it was a cultural thing or being last of four children but I do know it fed my poor self esteem. After all, if my parents aren’t interested than I must really suck.

    • I am sorry to hear that. Though my own mother has always been, thankfully, supportive of my creative endeavors, the uninterested, unsupportive parent seems to be quite common among artists, from what I can tell.


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