I'm starting to feel denigrated. When I hear people insult and put down best selling authors as bad writers or even terrible hacks, well, where does that put me, the writer who hasn't even made it out of the gate? Who keeps getting rejections? I must be a complete pile of shit in comparison.
I can certainly understand that feeling, but I don't think it's necessary (before you say "easy for you to say," let me clarify: just because I have one book published doesn't mean I don't get rejections anymore -- every time I put something out there, I face rejections).
Everyone gets judged, whether you're published or not. Publication or submission is just another way to be judged. Yes, it's frustrating and I can understand how sensitive we are. But the thing is, published authors get judged by EVERYONE, all the time, because, well, their books are out there to be read and judged. And people are harsher judges when they have to pay for the darn thing. And someone like Dan Brown is an easy target. His works are in the public eye, and it sold millions. I'm sure there are people out there who've read my book saying "This book sucks." I have to focus on the positive.
Being judged is an integral part of an artist's life.
For everyone who thinks Dan Brown is a hack, there are millions who think his books are great. And if someone writes like Dan Brown, I hope they don't feel like they have to change so that people people will not criticize their work. Because, the reality is, somewhere, someone is going to criticize something.
I guess my point is that whether you're published or not, you need to find that nugget of truth about your writing and be confident about it. And focus on the work -- every rejection is more about the work itself (which may very well need improvements) than the writer.
I know it's more difficult to do, if someone keeps getting rejections, because it seems like getting that one acceptance is the "validation" of how good our writing is; but most often than not, it's simply "the right thing at the right place at the right time." If you think rejections are tough, wait until you see your first negative review, or the first person sends you a piece of "hate" mail about your book, or you sit at the store and no one is interested in buying the book or they say "the plot seems stupid." Criticism is just a fact of life. It may make it feel a bit "better" if you're getting paid -- but criticism is still criticism; rejection is still rejection. We just need to let them slide off our backs. Smile and nod and move on.
The bottomline is, we all just need to keep writing and keep believing in ourselves, if writing is truly what you love to do.