Thursday 29 January 2015

The Art of Rejection by Abi Elphinstone

So this is a rather surprising new guest author series that came about rather serendipitously. I will let Abi tell you more below. All I can say is that a lot of authors came forward wanting to take part in this. If you are a published UK author and would like to share your rejection journey, then please email me at so that we can organise a post.
REG me up. I’ll get there in the end… by Abi Elphinstone
Last week, I tweeted a photo of a page in my Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and I was inundated with messages from aspiring writers saying how encouraging it was – and from published writers saying their yearbook looked very like mine. Then the lovely Viv DaCosta asked me to hop over to her blog to share a bit more of my REG story. So here goes…
In April 2010, I sent off a manuscript to 30 literary agents. A week later, I got a very exciting email from one of the top UK agents:
Dear Abi,
Thank you for sending in your wonderful book THE LEGEND OF ERKENWALD (and your fantastic covering letter). I love your voice – it is truly charming and you made me laugh out loud in places…something which is extremely hard to do.  Can we see the next 150 pages on exclusive? 
I couldn’t believe it. I was going to get my first book signed with an agent on my first try. I sent this email to my family seconds later:
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! ONE OF THE BEST AGENTS IN THE UK HAS REPLIED TO ME ABOUT MY BOOK!  They actually like it!  See email below. I burst into tears I was so happy! Am going to email her this evening.  I'm soooooooooo excited! xxxxxxx
Turns out the next 150 pages of the book were a shocker. And so were the next two books I wrote after that (one included an anagram that wasn’t an anagram – it didn’t even work. Bloody dyslexia). The self-addressed envelopes and rejection emails kept rolling in and my yearbook was so tattooed with REGs I could have wallpapered my flat in it…
And as the 96th rejection arrived, I hit rock bottom:
But something inside me refused to give up. I kept every positive comment any of the agents gave me (in their rejection letters) and I took every bit of advice they offered: I went to literary festivals, I read more children’s books, I attended writing courses, I started blogging and I re-worked my writing until it was the very best it could be. And perhaps most importantly: I stopped putting my focus on getting a book deal and starting thinking about writing a story that REALLY mattered to me. 
Finally, four years and three books later, I wrote something better and a brilliant agent signed me on my first attempt at submission. I won’t ever forget the struggle of writing before being published – of the despair, loneliness, hurt and disappointment. But you’ve got to keep believing in your work and in yourself. Because so much of writing is about perseverance. And as my mum said to me every step of the way: ‘If you’re not failing, you’re just not trying hard enough.’
Watch the trailer for Abi Elphinstone’s debut children’s book, THE DREAMSNATCHER right now!

To find out more about Abi Elphinstone:


  1. What a great post, both of you! And what an inspiring message as well. I'm really glad this one had a happy ending and I'm really looking to reading Abi's book! x

  2. thx for this Abi and Viv. This is going to be a great series

  3. Oh yes, so familiar - but how fabulous to know it had a happy ending. Thank you for sharing Abi - and the very best of luck with The Dreamsnatcher.

  4. Aww I know the feeling. Well done for not giving up, Abi! I look forward to reading your book!

  5. Brilliant post. Keep on keeping on, huh? Dreamsnatcher looks fantastic :) Looking forward to more in this series.

  6. Great new series. Kathy's comment says it perfectly.


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