Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ides of June--Reject Me Baby!

Welcome to the Ides of the Month with Marilu Mann.

We all hear about those First Call/First Sale stories and rejoice along with those celebrating. What about the stumbling blocks on their road to success? What rejections did they face? More importantly--how did they face that rejection? Why did they keep going?

Here's two stories.

The first is from Sandy. She got a long, detailed letter from an editor. The response she got included a few books for her to read so she could get a better feel for that line.

That editor's rejection letter made me feel good. All of the rejection letters I received from SAVING FACE were good, but eventually, I knew I had to set it aside, so I could grow. After several more books, I found the rejections were getting tougher, and the contests I entered, the judges wanted to rewrite my work rather than make suggestions. It really was all wrong. Even though I was improving, I was losing my voice because I did everything anyone told me. I was desperate to get published. It didn't help because the next person would disagree with the first person. At times, I would feel so bad over a form rejection, or a contest score that I couldn't write for weeks and months. One thing that helped me was to go back and read every single good rejection I received, and then I could keep going. The better my writing became the tougher it became to receive a scribbled note on a query letter saying good luck, but it's not for me.

S Kay Marshall
THE CATALYST and ADDICTION coming soon from Forbidden Publications

Then I learned that sometimes wine and chips are the cure from Cara Marsi.

Red wine and potato chips. That's my comfort food of choice when I wallow in self-pity after yet another rejection.

When I open that rejection letter, or more commonly, that rejection email, I shed a few tears, vow never to write again, pour several glasses of red wine and open a bag of potato chips.

After several days of wallowing in self-pity, I pick myself up, brush myself off, go back on my diet, and start writing again. Hope springs eternal!

I'm still waiting to hear from a major publisher about a manuscript I submitted in 1998. One of my fantasies is that I've finaled in the RITA (we all share this fantasy), and an editor who rejected the book approaches me at the conference and asks me to send her something. Then I say to her, "I sent you this RITA book, but you rejected it." I recognize that on so many levels this would never happen, but it feels so good to imagine it.

Cara Marsi
Logan's Redemption
Available in ebook, print and Kindle
Cara Marsi

What about you? If you are a published author, send Marilu a note detailing how you dealt with that rejection letter. What kept you going? Let me hear about it and feel free to promo your latest book at the same time.


Darragha! said...

I came back stronger!
I didn't give up!

I'll never give up! Ten books later, and I still face the occasional rejection, but I will never give up.

Rewrites rock.

Susan Macatee said...

I shopped my Civil War time travel around for four years, entered it in contests, won a few, then tanked. After those first few wins, all I was getting was advice on how to change my story.
I finally weighed all the opinions I was getting and did a major revision, found a great critique group that helped me with the early chapters, then entered it in the Golden Heart. While waiting to hear back on that, I submitted a query to The Wild Rose Press and sold it. It didn't final in the GH and all the earlier rejection letters I'd gotten were form letters.
Many times I thought I should give up on this manuscript, but I'm glad I didn't. I don't have a release date yet, but I have a beautiful cover and I'm working through edits with an editor who just adores my story. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Mona Risk said...

Great blog. I kept all my rejection letters. I took every suggestion very seriously, revised and edited non-stop.I think the good rejections made me stronger in the end. I learned that the two most important things that keep a reader reading are the Internal Conflict and the Pace. Slow pace kills a good story.