A successful indie author and book marketing consultant outlines how writers can be resilient after rejections in this self-help guide.
Accept rejection and then transcend it. That’s the running theme in this work by Alvear (Blow Yourself Away, 2016, etc.), who shares his insights about the “mental toughness” that has allowed him to survive—indeed thrive (he says he makes six figures annually)—in book publishing as compared with many other authors. He allows for a “48-hour sulking period” because it’s important not to deny the pain of a rejection but stresses that brooding should be short-lived. He emphasizes that publishers somewhat randomly reward and rebuff authors (pointing out some notable mistakes, such as snubbing J.K. Rowling) and that the anxiety after rejection stems from a primitive brain trigger of feeling kicked out of the tribe. He recommends quickly connecting to one’s particular clan (family, supportive friends) to counter this hard-wiring and then engaging in the “1-2-3 Combo” of distraction by doing something pleasurable; staying silent about the rejection for two weeks; and distancing oneself from the situation, viewing it as an observer. This depersonalization technique should help an author transition to positive action, such as attending a writers’ workshop, instead of just wallowing in self-pity. The volume also covers challenges beyond submission rejections, particularly negative reviews, noting their upsides, including that readers can be intrigued enough by these to buy the book. In his new advice guide, Alvear is a voice of commiserating authority, revealing his own struggles (his agent couldn’t sell his manuscripts after the economic downturn, for example) while providing helpful psychological strategies to handle setbacks and the black holes of rumination and self-blame. While writers may not like hearing that rejections will keep coming and friends, not they, may capture “white rhino success,” Alvear provides an inspiring, empowering message. His final exhortation remains particularly uplifting: “Be true to your nature as a creative being: Create without regard to the results.”
Sympathetic yet bracing advice for authors from a fellow writer.