Rejectomancy?

Rejectomancy? What does that mean?

Usually, it means analyzing rejection and trying to put a positive spin on it, and, certainly, this blog will feature a bit of that. For me, rejectomancy is also the skill writers must master in order to weather the slings and arrows that come from putting their work out for public consumption. It’s the skill of accepting rejection letters, bad reviews, negative comments—all with grace and dignity—and still having the gumption to carry on writing. Rejection is a brutal fact of every writer’s life, whether he or she is a multimillion-book bestseller or a rank amateur sending out a short story for the first time. You can’t avoid it, you can’t hide from it, but you can learn to live with it. You can become a rejectomancer.

The skill of rejectomancy is largely derived from understanding what rejection, in its various forms, actually means, because it’s not all bad. Rejection is a chance to grow, to develop your craft, and to acquire the thick skin you absolutely need if you want to make writing your career. Sure, some rejections should be ignored, and when you attain higher levels of rejectomancy, ignoring those rejections becomes much easier.

The main purpose of this blog is to explore in first person what it’s like to be an aspiring and occasionally successful writer. I’m going to use my own career—such as it is—as an example of how to walk the difficult path of the rejectomancer. You’ll see things like examples of my rejection letters (with names removed to protect the innocent), the occasional acceptance letter, and a general catalogue of the gross mistakes I have made along the way to becoming a professional writer and editor. I’ll discuss these open wounds with as much objectivity as I can and with the goal of helping other aspiring writers deal with the harsh realities of being an author.

It should be noted the advice I’ll be offering in my blog comes entirely from my own perspective and experience. I’m a speculative fiction writer and editor, and I primarily write horror and fantasy. The publications that have inexplicably agreed to publish my scribblings are largely purveyors of genre fiction, so, if you’re looking for advice on how to crack the literary market or write an article for The New Yorker, you’ve got the wrong guy, and my ramblings may be of dubious use to you.

Don’t be fooled, though: my intentions are not entirely noble. You’ll still be subjected to my opinions about various topics (writing, editing, stuff I like, and other general nerdery), and I’ll encourage you to buy and read my own work. In the end, though, I’ll try to strike a balance between shameless promotion and selfless altruism . . . and likely fail, but I hope it’ll be fun watching me try.

Oh, and just so we’re all on the same page, I will use bad words (more than I should, probably), I will make typos and the occasional editorial gaff, and I will likely give you reason to doubt that I know anything . . . about anything. If any of those things bother you, run for the hills now. You have been warned.

—Aeryn Rudel

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