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Industry Insider – How to Deal with Rejection. Practical Tips to Moving On

8 November @ 14:00 - 15:15 GMT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

We all know that having work turned down is a normal part of the writing life – but how do you deal with disappointment and anger, regain momentum and start again, not once but over and over? How do we tackle other emotions and traits that can undermine our lives as writers: including imposter syndrome, envy, despair, writers block and perfectionism?

In this conversation between writers Dorothy Koomson, Dr Julie Leoni and chaired by the SoA’s Heather Parry, we will discuss best strategies for maintaining our work and keeping faith with our vision throughout setbacks.

We will also be joined by Mslexia’s Debbie Taylor who will share the findings from her report on what happens when writers submit their writing – and what can be done to make the process less harrowing.



  • Welcome, housekeeping and introductions by SoA’s Heather Parry (5 mins)

  • Panel discussion chaired by Heather Parry with Dorothy Koomson; Debbie Taylor; and Dr Julie Leoni (45 mins)

  • Questions from the audience (30 mins)

  • Summary and closing comments from Heather Parry (5 mins)


What will this session cover? 

  • What practical steps can we take to remain professional in the face of rejection?

  • What requires a response and what doesn’t? Is it ever okay to push back, or should we always simply walk away?

  • Do rejections ever get easier to handle, or will they always sting?

  • How can we see our careers from a more objective viewpoint; as many-years-long projects, to free ourselves from a sense of emotional immediacy?

  • Is it possible to frame our inevitable rejections as a valuable and enriching part of the writing life?

  • How can we understand our emotional reactions to rejection as a form of self-belief, and how do we temper that self-belief so it doesn’t become arrogance?

  • If we have to reject people in our careers, how do we ensure that we are sending rejections in the most encouraging way whilst also maintaining boundaries?


Who is this session for? 

This session is for anyone who is navigating the choppy waters of a writing life and wishes to face the ups and downs of a literary career in the most professional way, whilst also protecting their mental health from the inevitable stings.


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email with [email protected]  with ‘Rejection’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The Line-up 

Heather Parry (Chair) – Senior Policy and Liaison Manager for Scotland, The Society of Authors

Heather Parry is a Glasgow-based writer, editor and publisher. She is the co-host of the Teenage Scream podcast, the co-founder and Editorial Director of Extra Teeth Magazine and is the Scottish Senior Policy & Liaison Manager for the Society of Authors, a trade union for writers. In 2021 she created the free-access Illustrated Freelancer’s Guide with artist Maria Stoian. Her short stories and nonfiction have been published internationally, and her debut novel, Orpheus Builds a Girl, came out in October 2022 with Gallic Books.

Website:  www.heatherparry.co.uk | Twitter: @heatherparryuk


Debbie Taylor, Mslexia

Debbie Taylor is the founder and Editor of Mslexia, the magazine for women writers. She has a doctorate in neuropsychology and has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues. Her many books include narrative nonfiction, short stories and four critically acclaimed novels. Debbie is also an experienced broadcaster and writing workshop tutor.

Website: www.mslexia.co.uk


Dorothy Koomson – Writer | SoA Management Committee

Dorothy Koomson is an award-winning, global bestselling author and journalist whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages, with sales that exceed 2 million copies in the UK alone. Dorothy uses her platform to support new writers and hosts ‘The Happy Author’ podcast. Her latest book, My Other Husband, is published by Headline.

Website: www.dorothykoomson.co.uk    | Twitter: @dorothykoomson  | Instagram: @dorothykoomson_author


Dr Julie Leoni

Dr Julie Leoni is an academic, life coach, yoga and psychology teacher.  She delivers training nationally and internationally in well-being including stress, anxiety, loss, grief and change.  She blogs regularly for Psychologies Magazine, has had her first book rejected many times and her third book published by an indie press. 

Website: www.julieleoni.com/ 


Need to know 

Before the event

  • Once registered, we will send you a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add [email protected]to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 75 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All #SoAatHome events are free but if you can afford to, please consider donating to our Authors’ Contingency Fund and we suggest a minimum donation of £5. The fund is to help professional authors experiencing financial hardship. DONATE HERE


If you are unable to book using the registration box below, please email [email protected] with the name and date of the event you’d like to register for and we’ll confirm your place.


Accordion Content

Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



Accordion Content

20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




8 November
14:00 - 15:15 GMT
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