Even big name writers still get rejection slips sometimes. I have just learned this about a writer I admire. Of course, they will almost certainly sell it elsewhere. And at least one writer friend of mine was working on a series when the last couple of volumes were turned down. Another had her whole series published, but they were not a huge success and she never sold another thing, as far as I know.
I wonder if it makes me feel better or worse about having a full time day job and having to fit my writing in where I can, to know that no matter how far you've come you can still be pushed back.
Deep down, I suspect we all say to ourselves, It won't happen to me! or at least, Let's sell this book first and worry later. We have to, and develop a thick skin, or how would we ever write again?
After selling four short stories last year, I had three rejections in a row. One of them deserved it, as I had written it in a rush to meet a deadline. The other two were for a good story which I will try elsewhere. And I know I will sell it eventually, which keeps me going. My novel was rejected by every major publisher in the country before the sudden sale to a publisher who'd originally had to reject it. My story in Mythic Resonance had been rejected years ago, before finding its perfect home.
Even selling your book, however, doesn't always mean massive sales. Crime Time, which should have sold massively, hasn't earned back its advance because of the difficulty of selling children's non fiction in the shops, unless your name is Terry Deary. Australian Standing Orders didn't want it, as they rarely take non fiction. I haven't heard of any Ford Street books sold by Scholastic Book Club. That would have sold it all right! On the other hand, Your Cat Could Be A Spy sold out, but most were Book Club sales and those don't pay much. So I never got any royalties for it. Ah, well, it's still available on POD so it might sell yet.
And yet, my education books are still selling, though overseas. My archaeology book is still bringing in royalties after about ten years. I recently found a child's review of it online! Who would have thought an education book could get a rave review? :)
So writing is one of those things like music and acting and other arts that might work out and might not, no matter who you are. You just have to develop the thick skin necessary to a writer, no matter how well known you are.
There are some writers following this blog. Want to comment on your own experiences with rejection slips?