by Guest blogger Maria Scrivan
“Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize
how close they were to success when they gave up.”
The word “rejection” always seems to have a negative connotation. Just because something is passed over does not make it “bad” or “inadequate.” It simply may not be the right fit at the right time.
Give rejection another name. Think of it as “misplaced work” or “work waiting for a home” and keep submitting.
Why you should love rejection:
Rejection is Feedback
What information can you gather from the rejection? Is the company/gallery/customer the right fit for your work? Can you refine your work? Your presentation? Is there somewhere else that is a better fit? Is there a better person to speak to about your work? Use the feedback to your advantage.
Don’t take it Personally
As artists, our work is an extension of ourselves so it can be difficult to not take rejection as a personal attack. Rejection is not about you and it’s not about your work. It is about whether your work fits a specific editor’s (gallery owner’s/customer’s, etc.) need at that time.
There is a myriad of reasons why a piece is passed over. It could be the wrong style for a collection, a similar piece might have already been used, they may have already exceeded their budget, or the contact person might be too busy on other projects to get back in touch with you.
“No” Can Mean “Not Now.”
There are stories of New Yorker cartoonists that took 25 years of submitting before they were published. A friend had submitted the same samples to the same greeting card company for ten years before they were accepted. I’ve been rejected by one editor only to have a different editor in the same company immediately license an entire collection of my work. If you feel strongly that you are a good fit, keep submitting.
If you send out your work and someone rejects it, you are exactly where you started.
The worst thing that can happen is that someone says “No.”
You’re not going to fall off the planet or self-combust (although it may feel like that sometimes.) Rejection is not failure; it is an opportunity to try again.
Go With the Flow
Rejection could very well be putting you on a better path. I’ve been rejected by one publication who would have expected full ownership and a single printing of an image only to have that same image licensed by a greeting card company with national distribution. Rejection may pave the way to even greater opportunities.
You Gotta’ Be in It to Win it
Rejection means you’re in the game. If you’re getting rejected that means you are doing your work and getting it out the door. You are giving someone the opportunity to see it and make decisions about it. It means you are dedicated, and your work is out there in the world.
Rejection leads to persistence and persistence is what it is all about. Next!
Maria Scrivan is a cartoonist, illustrator and author.Her comic panel “Half Full” is syndicated online by Universal Uclick and appears daily on GoComics and in newspapers. “Half Full” is also translated into Spanish on GoComics and is licensed to newspapers and magazines in Sweden. Her cartoons are published in MAD Magazine, Parade Magazine, Prospect Magazine, Funny Times, Mashable.com, Salon.com and many other publications.
Maria licenses her work to Recycled Paper Greetings, NobleWorks Cards, RSVP Greetings, American Greetings, Oatmeal Studios, Macmillan, CheckAdvantage, and Neat-O Shop. Maria is a member of the National Cartoonists Society.