How to Handle A Rejected Submission

As a writer, receiving a rejection is inevitable, but there is always a chance the text you have been working on still has opportunity at different publishing houses. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein were both rejected upon first review, and these two are not the only famous books thwarted by publishers. Sometimes you must submit to multiple publishing houses before someone can see the merit of your work, and that’s okay. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tactics to utilize your rejection to craft a stronger manuscript.

1) Don’t be Disheartened by Rejection

Rejection is always difficult to cope with, but the vast majority of books aren’t accepted in just one submission. As mentioned above, we are all fond of some books which faced rejection multiple times before being picked up by a publishing house. These books had authors behind them who believed in the importance of their works and so should you.

2) Don’t Stop Submitting

All publishing houses aren’t looking for the same types of works or even have the same types of people working for them. There are a vast number of publishers who specialize in different works, and you should explore all your options. Try to find publishing houses whose previous published books are similar to the book your submitting. Are you trying to publish a science fiction novel? Look for a publisher who specializes in everything science fiction. Rejection from one publisher, or even multiple publishers, isn’t a death sentence for your work. Keep submitting!

3) Listen to Feedback from Publishers

Publishers will occasionally tell you what they see as critical errors, and this can be a good opportunity to improve your manuscript. You shouldn’t expect feedback from the editors (they often don’t). If they do address problems within your manuscript, they will generally address global issues. Global issues can range from plot coherence to the constant misspelling of a word throughout your manuscript. Take it as an opportunity to improve your manuscript for other publishers, and don’t be afraid of submitting a revised manuscript to the same publishing house.

4) Objectively Edit Your Manuscript

As a writer, it can be difficult to look objectively at your work, but this is necessary to become a great writer. Try asking yourself why your manuscript was rejected. Is the writing appropriate for the intended audience? Are your characters believable? Did you follow the submission guidelines? Are you considering assumptions about shared knowledge? Look for plot holes and inconsistent formatting. These are all things to consider when receiving a rejected manuscript.

5) Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

A misconception about writing is that it’s a one-person job. But typically the best, most enjoyable works are produced when multiple people contribute to the production of a work. That’s not to say you need to rewrite with a co-author, but having a third-party proofread and suggest ideas can vastly enhance your manuscript’s readability. Because writers can become overly attached to their manuscript, a third-party allows for an unbiased opinion which can help find critical flaws within a work. Just be sure to find someone who is not attached to your work already.

It’s crucial to understand that rejection is a normal part of the writing process. Every writer has confronted rejection countless times. Embracing rejection is difficult, but can be one of the most helpful tools for a writer if utilized correctly. Often times, writers will submit their manuscript for years before a publishing house accepts it. But in the end, some of the most prolific, award-winning books are rejected dozens of times before being published. If you ever feel down about your rejection, take a look at this list of some of the most rejected books of all time and remember that you’re in good company.

The Many Editions of Frankenstein

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus was first published on January 1, 1818 without attribution. Only 500 copies were produced by the small publishing house known as Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones in London. Little to the publishing house’s knowledge, Frankenstein would end up becoming one of the most influential novels of all time. Four years later, Frankenstein was reprinted after the success of a play created by Richard Brinsley Peake based on the novel which sparked an interest within its audience members. This is the first time Mary Shelley claimed Frankenstein as her own.

Later in 1831, another edition was published. This edition went on to become the standard edition which most people have read. Though it is the most common, this edition was heavily edited by Shelley before publication due to some critiques citing the original as far too radical and vulgar. The Quarterly Review, a literary and political periodical, said the 1818 version of Frankenstein was, “a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity,” upon its release. Because of the 1831 edition, there has been controversy as to which edition is most deserving of the spotlight. However, we think both have merit!

The 1818 Edition

The 1818 edition is the original work of Mary Shelley. It’s the one that started it all, and for some, the edition deserving of all the attention. The merit in this edition is in its origin. The 1818 edition was spawned from a friendly writing competition among Shelley’s friends and is loved by scholars and Franken-heads for its rawness and unaltered state. It’s believed this edition contains the original message of Shelley where the 1831 version tatters it. Plus, who wouldn’t love to own one of the original 500? Getting a hold of one may be difficult though, unless you have €350,000 to spend on Lord Byron’s personal copy signed by Shelley herself!

The 1831 Edition

To the chagrin of many, the 1831 version is the most widely read edition of Frankenstein. Anne K. Mellor wrote an essay in the W. W. Norton Critical edition arguing that the 1831 edition of Frankenstein loses Shelley’s tone and doesn’t coincide with her original vision. To understand the outcry of many, the alterations from the 1818 edition to the 1831 edition need to be listed:

  • The 1818 edition’s first chapter was expanded as well as split into two different chapters
  • The 1831 edition had changes made to the origin story of Elizabeth Lavenza
  • The 1831 edition introduces the concept of galvanism, a power thought to be able to reanimate bodies
  • The 1831 edition includes more of Victor’s motivations and thoughts for creating life

But even if some do detest the 1831 version, it still has a merit which might be overlooked. The main one being most people have read the 1831 edition. When we read books, we like to discuss them with others who have read the book. With the 1831 edition being the most popular, that means it’s more likely to come across someone who has read it. This means we readers can fulfill our need to discuss this edition easier than the 1818 edition.

Editions, Editions, and More Editions

Since its creation, Frankenstein has been made into almost 300 editions. Yes, you read that right. 300. Romantic Circles, a scholarly website devoted to the Romantic period, has compiled a list of editions starting from the original 1818 version all the way to a 2000 Spanish translation. Below, we’ve compiled five editions of Frankenstein worth taking a look at. (And maybe even purchasing, if you have the coin.) Which is your favorite?

1931 edition, from Grossett and Dunlap

1) The Grosset and Dunlap Edition

Based solely on the iconic cover, the Grosset and Dunlap edition of Frankenstein makes the list. This edition was printed in 1931 to capitalize on the Frankenstein movie produced by Universal pictures that year, simply titled Frankenstein. This movie became a cult classic, and by 1943, Universal reported the movie made $708,871 with only a $262,007 budget! Unfortunately, you’ll have to be comfortable with shelling out a little over $1,000 for this edition.


2016 edition from Puffin Books

 2) The Puffin 8-Bit Edition

If you’re into the 8-bit video game aesthetic, this edition of Frankenstein is for you. Puffin published this retro looking Frankenstein in 2016. This is particularly neat if you’re a video game buff and remember Dr. Franken released on the Game Boy which holds similar artwork.


2014 edition from Uber Books

3) The 1818 and 1831 Editions in One Book

This edition of Frankenstein from Uber Books includes both the 1818 edition and 1831 edition all in one book. No more arguing about which one is better! You could use this edition to closely compare the two editions.



2015 edition from Barnes & Noble

4) The Barnes & Noble Edition

This Barnes & Noble edition of Frankenstein gives off dark castle library vibes with its red and black aesthetic. The pages have gilded red edges, contributing even more to the spooky factor of this edition. And if you have read Frankenstein before, the lightning on the cover is great foreshadowing!


Mid-1940s edition of "Frankenstein" from Classic Comics
Mid-1940s edition from Classic Comics

5) The Classic Comics Edition

If you’re looking for a more casual read of Frankenstein, perhaps this Classic Comics edition is for you. Classic Comics set out to turn classic novels into graphic novels and, of course, Frankenstein made it in. What makes this crossover so great is the nicely drawn illustrations alongside a condensed version of the original work.


2018 edition of "Frankenstein" from Rockport Publishers
2018 edition from Rockport Publishers

6) The Classics Reimagined Edition

This edition from Rockport Publishers is specially illustrated by graphic artist David Plunkert for the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein. There are illustrations inside as well, including an 8-page insert that shows doctor designs and a full spread of the monster. Frankenstein and his creature have never been so horrifying.


Celebrate Franken Fridays with us! Frighteningly fun events are held each Friday to celebrate Frankenstein’s 200th publishing anniversary. Connect with us on social media using the #FrankenFriday tag.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, Oct. 26

  • 11 a.m., Library 134, Gainesville Campus—”Frankenstein and Posthumanism” faculty panel featuring Dr. Lynn Berdanier, Dr. John Hamilton, Dr. Jeanelle Morgan, and Dr. Kristin Yager
  • Noon to 3 p.m., upstairs lobby, Cumming Campus—PoeDown and costume contest
  • Noon, Library 134, Gainesville Campus—“Monster Theory” faculty panel featuring Dr. Jeff Pardue, Dr. Phil Guerty, Dr. Patsy Worrall
  • 3-5 p.m., Mount Hope Cemetery, Dahlonega Campus—“Secrets from the Grave” guided tour of Mount Hope Cemetery.

How Sustainable are Books?

When you hear sustainability, you might think of hot topics like sustainable energy or sustainable fishing, but what does sustainability mean in the publishing industry? To fully understand sustainability in the publishing community, it is necessary to understand how publishing is not only culturally impactful but also environmentally impactful. Understanding these two factors will reveal the symbiotic relation between publisher and consumer, as well as their obligations to one another for a stronger, more supportive reading community.

A small, dark-colored ereader and a larger, white-colored ereader, both displaying text on their screens.Culturally, publishing influences the books people read and the way those books are read. There has been an ongoing debate whether the rise of e-readers, tablets, and online publishing will eventually kill the print book. There seems to be a push from consumers towards technology, while publishers seem to focus more on print. In an interview with Jenn Webb from Tools of Change, Dennis Stovall from Portland State University remarks about the common publisher attitude towards e-books. “Every medium exists with constraints and opportunities, and the new frontiers of digital publishing have hardly been opened. Meanwhile, we’ve pushed many of the limits of the old technologies.” As technology shifts, so do people and the reading culture surrounding them. E-readers and online prints are gaining ground due to their accessibility and portability. For books to stay culturally relevant to a modern reading audience, publishers must embrace this cultural shift towards technology to create a stronger reading community.

A dark forest scene. Moss and fungi are clearly seen growing on the ground. A canopy of tree branches is overhead.By now, I can hear at least one person screaming, “There’s nothing like the smell of a real book!” And you’re right, but environmental concerns loom over any industry whether it be mining, fishing, or agriculture. Publishing is no exception. Print books take their toll on the environment by using paper and ink. Sustainability in this aspect is concerned with a publisher’s ability to print books in an economical fashion while reducing the environmental strain of manufacturing books. And this side of sustainability is more of a concern for the consumer. To explain, let’s talk about recycling. Many publishers attempt to manufacture books with recycled paper, but the accessibility of recycled paper is limited. Jim Milliot from Publishers Weekly explains, “The biggest challenge unearthed by the study is the lack of availability of recycled paper. In 2014, the average amount of recycled content from reporting manufacturers was 12%, down from 22% in 2012.” Milliot then goes on to suggest the move towards is the cause for the lack of paper.

This is where we, the consumers, hold responsibility. Single-stream recycling is good for many aspects, yet it is terrible for paper. Typically, paper becomes wet when it is collected for single-stream and becomes unusable for recycle. While single-stream recycling is more convenient than other methods, it greatly decreases the yield of paper products. This is why the reading community must make changes and recycle in different ways, such as dual-stream recycling. By using alternate recycling methods, consumers help recycled paper become more accessible to publishers, making print books more environmentally viable.

For publishing to be truly culturally and environmentally sustainable, it must be an all-around effort from the publisher and consumer. This shouldn’t be difficult for either side, since we both love reading and understand its importance. Here at the University of North Georgia Press, we strive to give students access to free downloadable textbooks to aid in the endeavor of sustainable publishing.

Back to School Prep: The College Survival Pack

It’s near the end of summer and school time is drawing near. You probably had plans to learn a new skill or read a library’s worth of books (so did I), but alas! All your time was squandered on Netflix, a part-time job, and worst of all—maintaining family ties. And now, you’re going to spend all your time reading textbooks or learning mathematical equations. But it’ll all be okay! We’ve compiled a list of items to help you survive the next semester and maybe even do a little reading for fun.

1) The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction – Ann Charters

Cover of "The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction"by Ann Charters.
Buy on Amazon

Okay, I know. Why suggest a short story anthology when you’re already reading for classes? Hear me out. Short stories are great because they’re accessible. Only have 30 minutes to read? Good. You can read a short story while you eat, giving yourself just enough time to get to class for once. Plus, there are case studies in the back to help you become a better writer if that’s your thing.


2) A Scream Pillow

College can be stressful at times. When it’s too much, try screaming into a pillow to destress. Just warn your roommates beforehand!


3) Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Cover of Walden by Henry David ThoreauHaving night sweats about the frigid fall and winter weather? It might actually be a side effect of the heat. If that’s the case, be glad for the approaching cold. If not, try to hold on to the last of nature’s summer goodness with Walden by Thoreau.



4) A Lunch Box

A divided food container sits in front of a laptop. The container is full of rice, vegetables, and potatoes. Tired of stale cafeteria food or overpriced leftovers from the night before? Start packing your lunch and save some money (and your taste buds). Now, you can spend all that extra cash on something important. A certain short story anthology comes to mind. . .


5) Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy

Cover of lood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.Is daily life becoming tedious? Do you want some action in your life? Look no further for the solution! Blood Meridian is a western which will take you back to cowpoke days and save you from the ailments and comforts of modernity.



6) An Adult Coloring Book

Cover for Adult Coloring Books: Cats from Laluna Books
Buy on Amazon

Coloring is a great way to destress. Whether you prefer crayons or pencils, carry this cat coloring book around with you and color the stress away. It’s a lot better than some alternatives. Warning: This is not permission to procrastinate like you did last semester.


7) Tea or Coffee

Coffee beans package for Death Wish Coffee
Death Wish Coffee

Whether you need the comfort of tea or the power of coffee, there is no doubt you should stock up on both. A warm beverage will help keep the creeping cold out of your bones, and it might even make you productive. For those caffeine fiends out there, could I recommend Death Wish Coffee? If you’re like me and prefer tea, Yorkshire Gold is my go-to for a pick-me-up.

A Farewell to the Press

Beginning college, I aspired to go into the medical field, but a year later I was undeclared and without a clue of what I wanted to be. Another year—along with my pestering advisor—showed me I wanted to be an English major, but then I needed to overcome the unclear career path English majors tend to have. Do I become a teacher; do I go into marketing; do I write books and live life in poverty? The options were endless. Finally, I decided publishing was the route I was going to take. The next step was to gain experience, and through hearsay, I found the UNG Press.

My first day at the Press, I didn’t know what to expect. But now that my internship has been completed, I can say I’m proud of my work. I edited documents and created social media posts. The Press even trusted me enough to interview an author. The experience I have had at the Press was encouraging. I realize, now, I was correct in my choice of wanting to go into the publishing industry, and I can thank no one other than the Press for showing me what I can expect from a publishing house. I have enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate my abilities, but more so, learn new ones that will be beneficial to have as I move on to the working world.

From the Press, I’ve learned the importance of reaching out with social media and how to work as a team member, not to mention becoming a more versatile writer. Working at the Press hasn’t always been easy. The most difficult thing to overcome during my internship was the proclivity to write academically about topics which didn’t need a high degree of specificity and explication to be comprehended—oops. But anyways, the Press has showed me a different side of writing—a more practical side that I’m glad to have discovered and used.

To the Press: Thank You and Farewell!

How the News Gets the News

We may get our news from popular media outlets like CNN, Fox News, CBS, or MSNBC, but where do they get their news from? Media outlets, and any other news source for that matter, get a large majority of their information from press releases. Press releases act as a medium between the source of information and media outlets. A company writes a press release to a media outlet if they think the information is noteworthy such as new technological developments, upper management changes, or even new book releases. Sometimes, a company will post press releases to their website for reporters who are searching for a story to write about. Other times, the company may contact the media directly through fax or e-mail.

The format of a press release differs from what you may be used to reading. A press release has, like most documents, a title. The title must be intriguing enough for a reporter or journalist to even want to begin reading the press release. Geoffrey James at CBS Money Watch writes about a press release with a terrible title sent to him:

“As a reporter, my immediate response to that press release was that it’s not important because it expended an entire sentence saying absolutely nothing. And I assumed (probably rightly) that the company’s marketing team was a bunch of idiots.”

A stack of newspapers.Press releases generally include the following information as well:

1) The Date of Release
This information is generally somewhere towards the top of the document—usually below the title.

2) Contact Information
Contact information of the person who wrote the press release is at the beginning of the document and often times scattered throughout. It is important that a reporter or journalist can get in contact with the author of the press release or a company’s marketing team. This information should not be difficult to find.

3) An Introduction
The introduction outlines the purpose of why the presented information is newsworthy. If possible, the introduction should answer the five W’s: who, what, when, where, why.

4) The Body
Information is thoroughly explained in the section. It needs to give context and detail about why the information is newsworthy. This section contains the main reason you would be writing a press release.

5) Boiler Plate
You may be familiar with a boilerplate as a standard set text for legal documents, but a boilerplate in a press release usually only contains information about the company. A boilerplate in a press release displays the company’s name and contact information for their marketing team.

6) The Close
Once all that is written, a press release must have a close. The close is not a summary paragraph, but a set of defined symbols which indicate the release is over. These symbols vary, but two common closes are “-30-” and “###.”

7) Contact Information
Unlike the boiler plate which contains the company’s contact information, this contact information is specific to the writer of the press release or the company’s marketing team. Typically, the author of a press release leaves a phone number, e-mail, and fax number.

While all important, some of these elements can be left out. Robert Wynne from Forbes suggests, “Headline. Opening Sentence. Body. (What’s the story, why does it matter?) Contact Information.” If you’re confused, you can examine the formats of different press releases and find common themes between companies. For an example, check out this press release from Publishers Weekly.

Even if you have all these elements perfectly written, the title is the most important. It is crucial the title is clear and concise, since it is the first—and usually the only—element a reporter will initially see. Reporters must scan through hundreds of titles a day. For yours to stick out, it needs to be attention grabbing and directly to the point. Avoid long strings of meaningless adjectives and prepositional phrases. This way, reporters are more likely to understand what your press release is about. If they understand your title, they’re more likely read to read the whole release.

Literary Analysis and Discovery

Many of us are familiar with literary analysis. Maybe some of us even loath writing literary analysis. I can sympathize with that feeling. After all, literary analysis seems to be an ephemeral exercise in asserting a personal opinion which most likely doesn’t align with the reason for an author writing a work. I was on this side of the fence for a long time. At this point, you may be asking why I’m an English major if I feel this way, but that’s a story for another time. People change, and my feelings for literary analysis have shifted. Writing literary analysis has become a personal journey of discovery, but how did I come to this way of thinking?

First, I think it is necessary to examine how I approached writing literary analysis before I thought of it as a journey of discovery. If this was before. I would simply read a work and immediately have a conclusion about the meaning of the story. Then, I would write a paper based on my assumption of what the story means by finding passages which coincided with what I believed. And after finding a million passages, my paper would be complete with me not having learned much or really feeling all that accomplished.

Compare this to my approach to literary analysis now. The first difference would be my initial assumption after finishing a work. I try not to have a knee jerk reaction to the meaning of a work. This forces me to go back through the work and find common themes, motifs, symbols, and other literary techniques the author employed and examine them. By examining these techniques, a pattern is revealed. This is much different than my previous technique were I was attempting to force my own, knee jerk reaction onto the work. Doing this, you can look at literary analysis as a journey of discovery where little bits of a path are revealed until you come to the end.

I think this approach to literary analysis has given me a new appreciation for it, and honestly, it makes literary analysis so much more enjoyable. Before approaching literary analysis in this way, I would loath writing papers. Those papers almost seem combative or argumentative, trying to force the reader into believing me. Now, my papers act as a guide to the reader. I think using this method for literary analysis is much more true to the purpose of an author as well. Most authors purposely leave little remnants and literary techniques scattered throughout their works. Going back after an author and discovering these remnants makes for not only a more interesting process for writing, but also a way for you to discover what a work means to you personally. And while I think literary analysis is academically important, it can also reveal your thoughts and opinions on important subjects, which is why books are so vital in a society where it is hard to find who you are.