Why Rejection Can Be a Good Thing

Welcome to Rejection. Stay Strong.

I have been debating on which title to use for this issue. Other contenders include:

Why Rejection in Book Publicity and Marketing can be a Good Thing:

  • Why Rejection in Book Publicity and Marketing can be a Good Thing
  • What to do when your book pitch is rejected
  • When No doesn’t Really Mean No
  • Hearing NO can be the greatest challenge
  • Hearing NO can be your greatest gift
  • How to make them say yes!

If nothing else, all those titles give you a pretty good idea of what’s on my mind today. Here’s something that happened recently that got me thinking about this:

A couple of days ago I was astonished to hear someone say, “I can’t do this kind of work anymore. The editor at that media outlet just told me no.

I was incredulous.

I responded with, “Yeah, so?”

He went on to tell me how difficult is was to hear “no,” especially when it took all he had to work up the courage to even ask for an interview.

My inner voice quickly responded, “Oh wow. We have to work on this.”

I realized this person simply hadn’t built their “no” muscle yet. Hearing no doesn’t have to shut you down. It doesn’t have to make you feel bad or question whether or not you have a great topic idea.

Hearing “no” needs to be a trigger. Hearing “no” needs to stimulate you into taking action to get a “yes.” It should immediately get you wondering how you can change your approach in order to get a “yes.”

It must inspire you to make sure you’re going after the right media outlet and the right person within that organization. If not, then who is the right person? How can you take the energy from that no and use it as motivation to find the next yes.

Because that’s what you have to do.

It’s a game. It’s just a game. Put on the right mindset and make it a game. Have fun with it.

I gently responded to this person with another story, which I hoped would help ease the discomfort he was feeling and at the same time inspire him to see this as an opportunity.

Usually I like to sleep on airplanes, but on a recent return trip from London, I wasn’t quite ready to snooze yet, so I scanned the movies that were available. One that caught my eye was the movie, I, Tonya and since I live in Portland, Oregon and remember the real story as it unfolded in the news, I was curious and decided to watch it.

The movie was much better than I thought it would be on several levels, but that’s another blog post. What I want to focus on here is an element in Tonya’s personality that was highlighted throughout the film. When someone told her no, it fueled her. Her mother certainly knew this and used it on a number of occasions (although not is a positive way), but that’s another blog post too.

Bottom line is that when Tonya heard the word “no” or “You’re terrible,” or, “You suck,” she became a machine. It gave her energy and that’s when she made things happen.

You can’t do the triple axel.”

“Oh yeah? Watch this!”

And guess what? She did.

Now, I don’t think any media person is going to say you’re terrible or you suck, but you will hear “no,” on a regular basis if you’re consistently pitching your book.

Rejection actually helped Tanya Harding to be better, and it can do that for you too. I certainly use it because I hear “no” all the time, and then hear “yes!” Yes is like salve on a sunburn. It’s like a cool drink of water after a hard workout. It’s like a great meal when you’re starving. The word “Yes” is heaven!

The point? You will hear no. You will get a yes at times too, so hang n there. No doesn’t mean your book is bad, you’re bad, your ideas are bad, etc. You have to let any thoughts like that go.
You want to get the word “no” working for you. Hearing it needs to make you stronger.

Having said that, there is something you need to do before you even go out to pitch. Long before hear the word “no” or “yes.”

And that is all about mindset.

Before you reach out to media, you must be in the right frame of mind. To increase your chances of hearing “yes,” you have to believe in yourself and your message at that moment in time. You must eliminate all doubts.

That’s not to say that you’ll never have any doubts. We all have them occasionally. This isn’t about brainwashing yourself into believing that you are always good, 100% of the time and can’t look at anything that might be construed as negative. We are human, after all.

However, when you go out to pitch, you must believe in yourself 100%. If you’re not there, don’t pitch. It’s really that simple.

The great news about believing in yourself is that it doesn’t cost any money. It’s up to you; You are in control.

If you’re thinking, “Oh, wow. I’ve got this big producer on the line here. I hope they don’t realize how nervous I am.”

Or, “This editor is so busy. I’ve already reached out once and didn’t hear back. I don’t want to bug them or bother them, so I’ll follow up some other day.” And then fear and hesitancy and procrastination shut you down.

Then, you look around, see others being successful, and wonder why not you?

That doesn’t work.

So if in order to pitch you need to be in the right frame of mind, and you aren’t there, what do you do?

Here are some options that I have found to be very helpful. Give them a try and see if any of them work for you.


There’s nothing like settling yourself down, breathing and relaxing. Once you feel relaxed, start to create a positive movie in your mind as to how you want to see it all unfold. See yourself happy with what you’ve written. Feel yourself happy with what you’re sending. Then it’s in their hands as to whether they say yes or no. I want you to feel good about what you’re pitching; the rest will take care of itself. And, remember, if you do hear “no” we’re going to take that as fuel.

Note: If you’re one of many who feel like you can’t meditate, then you haven’t found the right method for you yet. Meditation should make you feel good and rejuvenated. When you find the best technique for you, it is something you will look forward to. If you haven’t experienced that yet, then for now, try one of the other methods below.

Go for a run or a walk

There’s nothing like being in nature to feel good about being alive. Pay attention to your surroundings. Listen to the birds. Appreciate the sky and whatever else is nearby. This will put you in a good frame of mind for reaching out to media.


Play with your kids. Play with your grandkids. Play with your dog or cat. It’s a stress reliever and can put you in a wonderful state of mind.


Take a nap. It doesn’t have to be a long one. 20 minutes can do the trick and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to go. A nap often slows down whatever you were thinking about previously. It’s like getting a do-over.

Think of other successes

Think of times in your life when you’ve been really successful. Whether you’re sitting or out on a walk or run, remember all the successes you’ve had in life. No matter how big, no matter how small, bring up those feelings of self appreciation. Feel good about who you are and all the amazing things you have accomplished in your life. There’s nothing like being on a high like that when you pitch your book to media.

Amplify those feelings

As you’re thinking about past successful experiences, amplify the good feelings you have. Remember how good it feels to be successful. Amplify those feelings and watch your movie.

Pretend you’re someone else

If you have a friend or there is a celebrity or someone else who you see as always calm, cool and collected under pressure, someone who can sell anything to anyone, imagine you are that person. In your mind, step into his or her body and be them. Feel the self esteem, self worth and confidence and notice how easy it is for the person to pitch you and your book. This technique can be amazingly inspiring and helpful.

Remember: You control your attitude. It isn’t your kids, your spouse, your editor, your neighbor. It isn’t even those haunting negative thoughts that may be creeping around inside. Ignore those. You can choose to focus on the brilliant aspects of yourself. You get to decide. Just remember to be in that mindset of success before you pitch anyone about your book and its topic.

The Bottom Line

There are things we can control in life and things we can’t control. Pay less attention to those you can’t control, and focus in on what you can control. You can’t control someone else saying “no” or “yes” to you, but you can control your response to it. Let the “nos” fuel you to be better. Promoting your book (and all of life) is much more fun when you embrace this.

To your success!

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