Nobody likes being rejected, but believe me, there's hardly a writer on the planet who hasn't had to cope with rejection from time to time, so if you want to be an author you'd better learn how to deal with it.
     There are usually three stages to coping with having the work that you've sweated and fretted over unceremoniously rejected. The first is distress or depression. You feel that your work, and therefore you, are useless, worthless, unlikable, talentless... the list of negatives you can beat yourself up with is endless. Then there comes anger. How can the publisher/editor reject your work when what they do publish is no better? Once it was possible to find alternative uses for the dreaded rejection slips such as lining the bottom of your cat's litter tray, which would inevitably make you feel better. If nothing else, you could feel pleased that you were helping to save trees. However, now most rejections arrive in your email inbox, and deleting them provides nowhere near the satisfaction of ripping up a piece of paper.
     Hopefully, you can pass through these first two stages as quickly as possible to reach stage three. When you're calm again, take another look at your work. Is it as good as you can make it? Did it adhere to all the submission requirements? Are you still happy with it? Take advantage of any comments the publisher may have made. You might not agree with them, but they'll help you to focus. If you do receive comments, take them as a positive. At least they give you some idea why your work wasn't successful in that instance and they prove that the publisher thought it showed enough promise for them to spend time sending you more than a standard email. It might not feel like it at the time, but receiving a rejection is better than not receiving a response at all. If nothing else, you know where you stand.
    The best cure for beating rejection despondency is to reread your work critically, rewrite it if need be and send it out again. For short story writers, you could try Alfie Dog Fiction's latest short story competition. There's no satisfaction quite like having work that was previously rejected win a prize somewhere else.