Publishing is a hard business and sometimes it’s nice to know others have gone this road before you and survived! And today I’d like to talk about the
$@#!& cursed awful rotten inevitable rejection letter.
You’ve done it. Finished your first (second or third) novel and sent it off to the editor or agent of your dreams. And now you wait. Since this one will be such a best seller you don’t want to waste precious time and you get started on your next novel. The words are just flying onto the page when the letter or email arrives. “Sorry, but this isn’t for us …”
It hurts. It feels like someone told you your baby was ugly. Well, what do they know? So you package it up again and send it out. Good for you! But then the next round of rejections comes back and now you’ve slowed down in the progress of your next book. Why bother? The whole world is publishing except you. But dang, everyone who read your manuscript thought it was wonderful. Maybe they only liked it because they love you, except old Mrs. Harrington, your mother’s hairdresser, but she didn’t like the last Nora Roberts block buster either … so she doesn’t count.
So now what?
Whatever you do next … don’t give up.
First, step back and make sure you did indeed send your manuscript to the right people. Does that agent represent mystery writers? Does that publisher sell paranormals? Did your word count fit their criteria? There are many reasons manuscripts are rejected. If you didn’t receive a form letter, did the agent/editor make any helpful recommendations? If they did, look at them closely and make note of them. Unless several people say the same thing, you may not want to completely rewrite the ending (or beginning or murder scene), but just keep their suggestions in mind. When several agent/editor type people point out the same mistakes, it’s time to seriously consider making the change to your manuscript.
Sometimes you receive a rejection with suggestions for rewrites and an invitation to resubmit. If this publisher/agent looks promising get down to work and take their suggestion and rewrite. This doesn’t always guarantee an acceptance letter, but it does get you one step closer.
People will tell you that letters with your name and the title of your book and perhaps some words of encouragement are “good” rejections … and they are … don’t get me wrong. It means the agent/editor found your writing compelling enough to read past the first page or two. But trust me, they sting just as badly as a form letter. Sometimes more because you know you were so darn close. It’s okay to kick gravel and shed a few tears. Because let’s face it, it’s still not a sale.
I allow myself to have a small pity-party. Sometimes for the rest of the day. Let the disappointment sink in and celebrate the positive feedback received.
But then that’s it.
The next day get back to writing. Revise, rewrite, or find a new story to work on. Whatever you do — write. Because in this business of publishing, it’s all about the PLOT … perseverance, luck, obstinance and talent. And no one got anywhere by quitting after a rejection.
So this week I got another big “R”. The bane of writers. Yep, a rejection. Ba da – da da. (That was supposed to be that ominous music.)
This particular manuscript has been bumping around for over 2 years. It has been written, rewritten and edited by several beta readers. It has been through several agents. One of them calling me on the phone to request the full manuscript. (That was an exciting day.) And it has been rejected by countless editors.
There was a time when rejections really bothered me. They caused a setback that could keep me from writing for days. But that’s not the case anymore. I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that I am published. I don’t feel that desperation I once felt to get my writing out there. It’s out there. I’m writing stories I know will find a home.
But this story? It’s a goooood story. It’s different from what I usually write. It’s not erotic romance. It’s a romantic suspense that includes a mysterious FBI agent and a stalker and a couple of murders and … really, I just love this story. I want it to find a good home with someone who will love it as much as I do.
But this rejection has made me sit back and re-evaluate the story. There’s something missing. Something that isn’t quite right about it. I’ve learned a lot about writing. More than I knew when I first sat down to pen this manuscript and even more since it had its first rewrite.
So I’m not bummed. (Okay, that’s a totally lie … I was completely disappointed when I got this rejection, but I’m over it.) I see this as a challenge to pull the manuscript apart. Look at it scene by scene and really see if my writing is up to snuff. After the rejection an editor/author offered to take a look at it and gave me some very valuable feedback about the beginning … too slow. Yeah, I was married to a prologue that needs to go.
Which then begs the question … what else needs to go? What else needs to be tightened? Wow, now instead of being bummed out that my baby was rejected I’m now being challenged. Challenged to mine the beauty of a diamond from the rough story sitting before me. Challenged to throw out the sagging scenes that slow the pace. Challenged to step up and make this story the best writing I’ve ever done.
Wow. That’s a totally different mind set than thinking I’m not good enough or that this story will never find a home. I’m finishing up another story and when that’s sent out I’m sitting down with this manuscript and tearing out all the dull scenes and rewriting until it shines.
Then it’s right back into the world with it. Because if I don’t keep sending it out, this book I love so much will never find its way to readers.
So now, I’m curious … how do you handle rejections? Do they depress or motivate or perhaps a little of both?
So lately I have had lots of guest authors visiting my blog and then I share with you some silly list of thirteen, but sometimes I forget to tell you exactly what I’m up to. Well, let me just ramble my way through an update.
I finished a novella for a new publisher at the beginning of the month. I crossed my fingers, did a chant over the email, pressed the “send” button and off it went through cyberspace. Submitted.
Now I wait.
I hate waiting. But I’m working to be patient. I’d really like this new publisher to fall in love with my writing. It means a lot to me. Not that I don’t absolutely loooove LSB, but a gal’s got to branch out or she’ll never grow.
Oh, and I don’t think I mentioned, but my “big” book … a full romantic suspense novel involving the FBI, a stalker, and a married couple viewing their relationship from opposite ends of the spectrum has been turned down by two publishers and now an agent. Every single one of them told me the writing was solid, but it just didn’t “grab” them. It’s okay, really. I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with my heroine … basically she’s a b#@*! and no one really cares if the stalker kills her. It was my second book … cut me some slack! LOL! Anyway, I know it can be saved, it’s just going to take some real work.
Then I decided to start a novel I intend to submit to yet another publisher. I’m still going to write it. It will be a great story. It involves cowboys and firefighters and since it’s a Nina Pierce title … hawt sex. I’ve got the first chapter and a loose plot (which is how I work), but then Cole and Jayda started screaming at me.
Yep, Jayda from Blue Moon Rising (in the Furry, Fluffy, and Wild anthology) decided her story wasn’t finished. How could I ignore her when she was stamping her feet and insisting I find answers about her past and offer her more hawt manlove? Okay Jayda … I hear you. I think this is definitely the most naughty story to date. But I’m loving it!
So how’s your fall going? Whether you’re a writer or a mommy or a working person, let me know what’s going on in your life.