If you are honestly truly really, after much introspection, writing only for yourself and not particularly interested in critical feedback, I would skip this. There's no point.
- Your work is too long and boring.
- This is absurd and uninteresting.
- This is not funny.
- Not for us, thanks.
- This won't sell.
- The language is too difficult.
- I really wish this had a different ending.
- This would be better without the title character.
- The concept sounded interesting, but this failed to hook me.
IF even a single one of these would make you feel bad for longer than five minutes, or if you'd honestly stop writing or dump the whole story and never come back to it because of a comment like this, your skin is too thin.
Many things were rephrased to make them more universally applicable, but the point is that even though you're likely to just get a polite and 100% generic response (thanks, it's not for us at this time, please keep submitting), this totally happens in the real world and either you deal with it or GTFO because you're not ready for the deep end of the pool.
(I should mention that 'dealing with it' doesn't just mean moving on, it might also mean being like 'oh shit they're right' and editing or even rewriting the damn thing.)
HOW DO I GROW A THICKER SKIN????
Dude, I got no fuckin' idea. The process probably differs from person to person. For myself…baby, I was born this way.
Since I can't keep my trap shut, though, here are some ideas, many of which just boil down to 'real world is real.' Also, I probably didn't phrase these very nicely, which is fine 'cause I'm not a very nice person. Feel free to suggest things that've worked for you and I'll swap this section out.
- Get some perspective and don't let all your hopes or whatever ride on one goddamn work. For instance, 543 out of 2200 manuscripts submitted to Harper Voyager during the open submissions call are even meriting further consideration, which I'm interpreting as 'these are the ones we're actually going to read past the query letter.'
- MORE HOBBIES. Also, a job that's actually going to put some (vegan) bacon in the fridge because even full-time writers smirk at the notion of getting made on your very first novel. Can you imagine not just your hopes but your next meal riding on an agent and then a publisher falling in love with your work? Yeesh.
- Perspective, have it: see things from the publisher's side; no two people look for the same thing in a work; IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.
- Feedback is subjective, even when it's right. Don't lose sight of all the good bits: someone cared enough to tear it a new one, which generally means it's salvageable at the very least.
- There is such a thing as an excessively thick skin.
- Encompassing the three bullet points above, try giving feedback to better understand the process!
- Also, a survival guide for thin-skinned writers.