How to Stop Getting Rejected as a Freelance Writer
In my early days of freelance writing, I thought long and hard about rejection. My articles were getting rejected, and I was mad. I knew if my articles get rejected, I won’t make money. On the other hand, when they are accepted, I make money. Freelance writing is really that simple.
So I began my quest to reduce rejection and increase acceptance. I wrote and read and tweaked until my articles slowly started getting accepted.
It was hard at first, but as I got accepted more and more, I figured out what I was doing right. Once I figured out the path to getting articles accepted, almost all of them were accepted. And of course, when they are accepted, I make money. The tips below are the things I have learned from repeated attempts at freelance writing. Follow them, and I guarantee your articles will get accepted more and rejected less.
Every freelance writer has been rejected one time or another. For example, my first article was rejected seven times before it was accepted. Remember that rejection is common. Every writer I know has their own rejection stories.
Why do articles get rejected? To answer this question we need to walk in a publisher’s shoes.
Publishers have numerous writers throwing articles into their faces. If you had to read through a huge amount of articles daily, would you have patience for errors? Would you let anything that isn’t great get published?
No. This is why publishers reject more articles than they accept. To get accepted, you need to produce nothing less than a great, error-free article.
The Importance of Editing
Edit, then edit some more. It is often the little things that prevent an article from becoming accepted.
I like to think of editing in regards to Richard Carlson’s 90-10 rule. 90 percent of your article may be great, but if 10 percent is mediocre or filled with errors, publishers will focus on that 10 percent. Most of the time, 10 percent or even 5 percent of poor writing leads to rejection.
To prevent rejection your article has to be edited to the period. First make sure you have perfect spelling and grammar. Next, eliminate typos. Then, eliminate wordy sentences. Lastly, make sure your article has structure and focus.
Editing successfully requires looking through your articles multiple times. Pay attention to detail every time you edit. I find reading an article out loud is the best way to edit, because it is easier to see mistakes. You can also tell if a sentence is worded poorly.
Get a Friend to Edit
While I was attempting to publish my first article, I was faced with numerous rejections. Each time I was rejected, I edited it multiple times. Still, I was rejected again and again.
Since this wasn’t working out, I looked for help. So I employed a friend. She pointed out typos I had missed, and told me when she didn’t understand something. I fixed the typos and further explained parts of my article. I submitted it again, and my first article was accepted. I sold my article thanks to my friend.
The funny thing is my friend didn’t know anything about what I was writing about. She could never have written the article herself. She could look at the article from the perspective of a reader. Your editor can be anyone. It can be a neighbor, a friend, a parent, or someone on a writing forum. This one step greatly reduces rejection. At the same time, you will receive feedback on improving your writing.
Read Successful Work
Read articles that have gotten accepted. Read guest posts on popular blogs, articles from top writers on freelance websites, magazine articles, newspaper articles, etc.
When you read, think about what makes the article great. Is it an intriguing introduction? Are the sentences clean and to the point? Does the writer have a unique voice? You can learn much from other writers. Apply techniques used by other writers to your writing, and the quality of your writing will improve. If their article got accepted, yours can too.
Focus Your Article
Most of the time, employers are looking for a specific article. If you lose focus, then the publisher won’t like your article, no matter how good it is.
Before you start your article, read directions. If the directions are unclear, ask the publisher for more information. When you write your article, focus on your topic. It is tempting to go off in a slightly different direction to increase word count, but don’t do it. It’s simple. The more you focus your article to the publisher’s wants, the more likely he will accept it.
This goes for guest posts too. Even though you don’t have specific directions, it is important to focus on your topic.
My best advice is to never give up. Every writer has gotten rejected before succeeding. Don’t let fear stop you from pitching. For example, it took Stephen King months of submitting short stories before a magazine finally published one. Develop boldness and go for it.
The important thing is that you get back on the horse. Every time you submit a new article, you are improving. You are figuring out what you are doing wrong, and adapting to make yourself a better writer.
You can also approach rejection strategically and change the focus of your article and submit elsewhere. Work to incrementally improve your writing over the long haul. Are there any strategies you use to deal with rejection, improve your articles, and keep slogging through the writing process?