The Pain and Anguish of Rejection
J: For this week’s talk, I’ve been thinking about the whole submission process, especially since I’m considering querying for the new series.
M: Yeah? We need to start considering that for our hockey hero story, too. Getting any closer?
J: Not really, but all this makes me think. It’s never too early to think.
When you started the submission process, what did you look for?
M: I looked for publishers specifically in the romance genre
made sure they published other books similar in scope to mine, my heat level
It was fairly broad in scope as far as that went. I started getting nitpicky when it came down to reputation and track record
J: I know working with an agent crossed your mind
That whole process is so nerve wracking. I started thinking about it when a friend revealed he’d been rejected several times
but I read the book, and it’s fantastic
M: oh, yes, I think being agented crosses every writer’s mind
it’s still so ingrained in us
used to be the only way to go, and it still has that cache
I figured why not try it, did my research for agents who represented my genre and type of story, sent a bunch of letters out
Ran the gamut of rejections, from no response at all, to I liked it, but…
Here’s why I think so many great authors see rejections
We all do so much research when we start the submission process, but I think maybe our research is too targeted
We write a fantastic book. It’s clean, it’s thoughtful, it’s well written
but it’s not what’s hot right now
Is it something to be ashamed of if you’ve written a great book that just doesn’t happen to be what Wal-Mart stocks on the shelves?
even further, we have to be able to see into the future, because it takes so long to get a book from agent to shelves
so even if we write what’s popular now, who’s to say it will still be popular when we reach the release date?
M: everything is changing so quickly, both with readers and the publishing industry
it’s hard not to fall into that trap of writing what sells, what’s popular, but it falls back to just write what you write to the best of your ability
we all want to sell, to reach people, to make some money to support ourselves, whatever your motivation
but you can make yourself crazy trying to second guess everything instead of just writing the characters and story in your head
J: of course. but we shouldn’t take that rejection as a reflection of the quality of our writing
M: can’t escape the fact everything is money driven What makes the most wins
J: No, but it’s important for authors to know there are other options. There are people who want to read those books.
It’s why I chose small press instead of chasing an agent.
M: It sucks, but rejection is such a big part of this business. You hear it over and over, how necessary it is to develop a really tough skin, and it’s so true
Once you get through the agent and publisher rejections and you get published with whatever path your choose, then you deal with the reviewer and reader rejection in the forms of reviews and opinions
and again, it’s not necessarily a reflection on you personally, but everyone’s thoughts, experiences, and opinions they bring into your words
it still hurts like a knife to the heart, though, no matter how prepared you think you are
J: Thick skin is important, but so is the realization that not everyone is going to like your book.
A bad review doesn’t necessarily mean you wrote a bad book
it could just mean the person who read it was looking for something else
M: exactly. still hurts, though
J: of course. but no one can write a book that EVERYONE loves
even the biggest sellers out there have their bad reviews
and even the biggest selling authors received rejection letters
Dean Koontz openly admits he was rejected 75 times even after he sold his first story
M: And Christina Dodd is very frank about how she tried to get published for ten years before she finally got rolling
J: The point being, of course, that rejection sucks, but it’s not the end of the world
and in many, many cases, it’s not the end of a career, either
M: it’s only the beginning of the rejection. heh.
Why do we do this again?
J: siiiiiigh. sometimes I don’t remember, either
I’m so glad this author took another route and didn’t let rejection keep him down, though
M: You just have to find a way to deal with it when it comes, because it will. You have to find the way for yourself to keep going. If you’ve got a story to tell, tell it. Don’t stop working until you find it a home, get it out into the world. It’s worth everything to make that one connection, get that one “loved your story.”
J: Right. And when someone has something constructive to say, we learn from it. Don’t hate the rejectors. Or the bad reviewers.
M: Oh, right. That. let me go cancel the voodoo doll
Talk to us about your query process. How do you deal with rejection? Do you have other options you’re pursuing? Have encouraging stories to help others through the pain and anguish? We want to hear it!
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles