Dealing with Rejection – Part 1

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Dealing with rejection

Although it happened to all of us, no one really likes it when one of their files gets rejected on the Marketplaces. Whether it’s a hard or soft rejection, you feel a bit like Charlie Brown when the football always got yanked out by Lucy right before he tried to kick it. In this series of articles we’re going to look at how we can dust ourselves off and get back in the game when we face rejection.

I wrote a bit about dealing with rejection in my article Introduction to the Envato Marketplace, but this time around we thought we should go to some of our authors to ask them how they face rejection. You may be surprised that even long-time, successful authors don’t get all of their files approved.



Quickandeasy is one of our top flyer designers who puts together a heap of great work for GraphicRiver. Here’s what he has to say about rejection:

If you’re rejected because of quality issues, the first thing you need to do, is accept that your item simply isn’t as awesome as you think it is.

Either take on board everything the reviewer says, or put it into an ‘unfinished items’ folder and come back to it in a few weeks – by then, you’ll have fresh eyes and it’ll be far easier to see the problems with your file.

Several people regularly say things to me on Skype like “How can he even reject this, he’s not got any items like this in his portfolio” or like today someone said “I think the reviewer has made a mistake, this file is much better… lalalalala”


Secondly, regardless of your rejection, it’s important to understand that reviewers weren’t hired because of their dashing good looks. All are fully qualified for their positions and more than capable of the job in hand – So whatever the reviewer’s reason for rejecting your file should be taken on board as advice from a professional who’s in a position to judge your work.

I was hired for my dashing good looks, but I’m not a reviewer, so I guess that’s OK.



dtbaker is an Elite author with high-quality work on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. Here’s what he had to say:

Even the best authors here get rejected many many times. Sometimes an item just won’t ever make it on the marketplace, other times it can be improved. Your best plan is to have two (or more!) projects going at the same time, just incase one doesn’t make it through the approval process. I have an approved and rejected folder, I use the good parts from the rejected folder to make even better items that eventually end up in the approved folder. When I look back at my rejected items and see what the improved version looks like I can certainly see the difference. That nasty rejection email was that last push I needed to put in the extra effort, which resulted in a great item.



Sevenspark is another Elite author who, while he may not have a huge portfolio, his files sell like hotcakes. Here’s some of his advice:

Take a rejection as an opportunity and a challenge. Many times, iteration is the key to success. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. As a new author, you learn SO MUCH during the process of creating your first premium-quality WordPress theme. It takes a while to internalize everything, and the parts you coded on day 1 won’t be nearly as good as what you coded on day 40. Rather than trying to fix everything in your code, it can be very liberating to just start from scratch and apply your newly gained knowledge to a fresh canvas. While it may seem daunting, you’d be surprised how quickly you can build a way better version of your product, now that you can see the whole picture. Leverage that perspective.

Also, “Do a huge volume of work”. AKA practice, practice, practice. “It’s going to take a while… and you have to fight your way through that” – Ira Glass

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Join us in Part 2 where we’ll talk to our Review Manager Jarel for some great advice on the role of reviewers and how authors can become successful.

  • Sherman

    True! “I agree with Adam about looking at a rejected item “Fresh Eyes”.

  • The best thing to do when determining suitability is by releasing your product to a test group prior to submission, and it can really make a big difference.

    Also take a look at what they are looking for and make sure your submission ticks most of the boxes (if not all).

    Make your product unique and stand out from the rest, and as suggested, reuse components of work that gets rejected, so it has some use.


    The proper response to a rejection is to cry havoc, open a forum thread were you point to a dozen items that are worse then yours (and at least 24 months old), then call the reviewer at 5 AM in the morning and tell him that your grandma designs better stuff than he does and ask him how he dares to reject your brilliant work. Once his voicemail is flooded and doesnt accept new messages send another 20 mails or so to the reviewer, envato support, collis and everyone else remotely connected to the marketplaces and declare that you leave now and without your uber skills they will for sure go broke.

    Guess thats pretty much it.

    PS: dont forget the flame tweets.

    • Quickandeasy


      to see Kreisi + that comment made me choke on my tea!

    • +1

    • Beantown Design

      Haha, of course, the “flame tweet”, the mark of any real designer!

    • Thanks, I was a little worried that I’d just have to keep trying harder!

      *searches for flamethrower*

    • hahaha not everyone can be that classy though. Bonus points for throwing a tantrum that the reviewers didn’t provide specific enough feedback. 😛

    • haha. nice

    • Tru. I am always amazed seeing what #$$@%^ they approve, and then give me the nonsense about “having to design for web in 300dpi”(!?), or inventing more reasons to reject my perfectly fine soft-rejected file every time I fix something lol. Every reviewer has a personal preference and it shows. My style is grungy but many of them like modern hipster-simple style. Does it mean that my file won’t sell? My sales show different.
      I had to write to managers and even ceo’s and when some of my files that (finally) got approved after I made a lot of drama about it, sold hundreds of times. Wish I cold rub that reviewers face in those few thousand of $$$ later, but they don’t really care. Who needs vector birds and cross colored patterns that are obviously so easily accepted? And even with over 300 items here, I get rejected left and right by saying “you should familiarize yourself with the design process”….(I am a professional designer for 15 years). So funny, but that copy/paste rejection letter is kinda insulting. One thing is sure, Envato can live without any of us, and it shows in the attitude.

  • I must really remove that Christmas hat.

  • @Kriesi, you are forgetting pointing out authors, calling them names for daring to give constructive feedback 😀

  • Thanks for this article. It will really help me to improve myself.

  • i point i need to confirm.

    if a reviewer has some file on market, by whom it would had been approved ??

    • A different reviewer. Each marketplace has multiple reviewers.

    • Reviewers are not allowed to reviewer their own files. They’d loose their job.

  • Plus, it’s an ethical thing. Reviewers are not gods. They learn to create awesome stuff by being rejected themselves.

  • Pingback: Dealing with Rejection – Part 2 | Envato Notes()

  • HektikMusic

    I wish I would’ve read this before my rant lol

  • Pingback: Dealing with Rejection – Part 3 | Envato Notes()

  • I found this post to help. Thank you for taking the time to share with your experience with rejections. I just got my first one last week! 😎

    It’s only make me better!

  • i have rejected many times, even more than rejected by girls. hahaha.
    but i still always upload some new designs. no problem with rejection..

  • And what do to when your item is hard rejected then after 3 weeks a similar item with yours gets approved ?

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