The dreaded rejection letter: Freaky Fridays with Michelle Roth @mroth_author

As any author who’s ever submitted anything will ever tell you, rejection sucks. There aren’t many of us who haven’t had our fragile artist heart broken at least once. Anyone who hasn’t is either:

  1. Extremely talented.
  2. Extremely lucky.
  3. Some combination of 1 and 2.

Much as some insist that writing is a job like any other, I just don’t agree. Bits of your heart and soul end up in your MS. You send that manuscript to your critique partners, beta readers, editors, and acquiring editors with the express idea that (while you hope they love it) they will probably tear it apart. By extension, they’re tearing apart a piece of you.

My first rejection was from Harlequin. It was not-quite-a-form-letter. It urged me to submit to other houses because my story just wasn’t a fit for them. My character development was weak and the H/h needed heightened chemistry. (Yes. I saved it. And yes, I just referenced it.)

Having grown up reading them, I gotta tell you… Man. I was fucking crushed. I realize, looking back, that  they were right. My book needed some serious edits.

It took a while to come around to that perspective, though. I actually subbed the book and managed to get it (and 2 more) published with before that truly sank in.

Each submission page has this list of requirements. They may look like what I’ve listed below.

  • 12pt, Times New Roman Font|
    1 inch margins
  • 2-3 page synopsis from start to finish.
  • A questionnaire.

You may be thinking, yeah yeah. Those are the obvious things. It’s the implied things, though, that I missed.

Had I really compared my work to the rest of what they publish, I could have saved the AE at Harlequin a bit of time. Not only was the story *makes so-so gesture with hand* but it wasn’t what they were looking for in that particular line. Harlequin serials are typically shorter than my first book, also usually less emotionally messy than what my story was.

I earned that rejection. I will probably earn a ton more before its all said and done. Each rejection, each piece of feedback can be taken in one of two ways. They can either be a stumbling block, or a building block. I chose to take it as a building block that has improved my writing immensely over the years.

Hope this resonates with you in some way!



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About Michelle Roth

Michelle Roth is a novelist from the Great White North (Toronto, ON). When she’s not disappearing into foreign lands, or making two perfect strangers that she invented fall in love, she’s probably curled up somewhere with a glass of wine and a good book. In her spare time she is typically hanging out with her awesome boyfriend and their two equally awesome cats. She likes taking road trips to nowhere in particular, cooking elaborate meals then making other people do the dishes, and being nerdy on the internet. Her books are currently available on

2 thoughts on “The dreaded rejection letter: Freaky Fridays with Michelle Roth @mroth_author

  1. Great post, Michelle. Funnily enough, my first rejection was from Mills&Boon. Like yours, it was an encouraging one, and they were spot on in their assessment.

    I also very quickly realized they were not the publishers for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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