Thursday, May 5, 2011

You're No Good!

Has a rejection letter ever made you feel like a complete and utter failure? Has it made you second guess your decision to become a writer?

The first time I submitted anything to a publisher, I expected a rejection. I'd heard too many author's talk about rejection letters to believe I'd be any different. And I knew I had a lot to learn about writing, editing, and the whole submission process, but I saw it as a learning experience. Until I opened the letter to find a generic "no thanks."

For some reason, I expected feedback. I wanted some idea as to why my story wasn't good enough for publication. So, I revamped my submission package and mass-mailed it to every agent and publisher I could think of in an effort to get that much-needed feedback. And 90% of those agents and editors responded with a generic rejection letter. That actually made me feel better. It's hard to take a cookie-cutter rejection personally.

What I learned from those mass rejections was that I couldn't do it alone. So, I joined Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. And I soaked up the knowledge. I also learned the value of good critique partners. And when I felt ready, I submitted again. And was rejected. Again. And again. But I started to notice a trend. The better my writing became, the more detailed the rejection letter and the longer it took to recieve a response.

I started getting feedback from editors and agents. Things like suggesting I cut more backstory. Or start my story with Chapter Three. I even found an agent. It didn't last long as she didn't really represent what I wrote, but it was progress.

I even had a big-time NY publisher request a full of my paranormal romance. And then I got a revision letter. I was on my way, baby! Or so I thought. After rewriting the story and implementing all the changes, I got a letter from the editor. She was chaning lines and turning my story over to another editor.

So, I waited patiently to hear from  Editor number two. And, when I did, it was another revision letter. But I rolled with it and implemented the changes she suggested. And those changes improved the story. So, I though for sure I was going to be published. I wasn't.

After nearly two years and two revision letters, I got a rejection letter from the second editor. While she liked my changes, she didn't feel my story was dark enough for the new line. Because in the two years between my initial submission to my rejection, the line had changed as well as the editors. And the new line was dark, dark, dark.

That letter had to have been the worst rejection of my life. I felt crushed. That's when my critique partner, Amy Corwin suggested The Wild Rose Press.

And I'm so glad she did. I revised my manuscript again, changed the name to Out of the Darkness, and submitted it. Within a few months, TWRP requested the full. And one year after I signed the contract, Out of the Darkness was published. 
My editor, Lill Farrell, was awesome. She helped make Out of the Darkness a better book. And next month, I have a historical, Slightly Tarnished, coming out with The Wild Rose Press.
AND-- I have a thrid book, another historical entitled Wholesale Husband, in the final editing stages with The Wild Rose Press.

So~Take that! Big New York publisher!

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