Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Rejection. We all have to learn how to deal with it, whether it comes via e-mail or in the guise of an impersonal white envelope dropping through the mail box with a depressing finality. But I don’t think anything can really prepare you for having your first novel rejected. Allowing anyone to even read your first novel is pretty traumatic, let alone having to hear that it isn’t good enough for publication.
Writing a novel is a very personal thing, and the characters are very real to the author. Therefore a rejection of the novel, is a rejection of the characters themselves. Most of us authors published by Black Rose have some pretty scary main characters too, so reject them at your peril!
I remember graduating from art school, and how I trawled Central London with my portfolio to very many interviews. The mantra then seemed to be that no-one would give me a job because I didn’t have any experience. Sooo ... how could I ever get experience if no-one would give me a job? My first bout of rejection letters came then – thick and fast! At first I filed them in folders, but when they became too many, I made paper planes out of some, tore others up and even ceremoniously burned a few. Then I (metaphorically) dusted myself down and carried on.
I got a job eventually, so the old adage of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,’ still holds good.
In the UK there aren’t many publishing houses who accept unsolicited manuscripts, so this means getting an agent. Their rejections are often harsher than those of the publishers themselves. One agent, whom I used to work with, told me to send him the first six chapters and he’d give me a fair crit. What he actually did, was send me an email with a standard rejection and the immortal words, ‘good-looking vampires don’t sell.’ Er ... actually they do ... and sell very well too. (This from someone I’d worked with for years!) Then I remembered he had been the publisher who’d turned down Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire for the UK market. (More dusting down ensued.) Another agent rejected my novel because she just didn’t ‘get’ vampires and hated Anne Rice. I was beginning to have more sympathy for Anne Rice than myself at this point! The Twilight phenomenon did a lot of harm to vampire novels here, with most agents/editors saying ‘Oh no, not another vampire novel.’ I learned from this, to do better research and only approach publishers who publish the genre I write. Hindsight is a wonderful thing :)
There are numerous stories of famous rejections, one of the best being J.K.Rowling’s story. She was rejected by almost all the big houses in the UK – in fact I was working for Penguin UK when she was turned down by them. (I know who rejected her, although my lips are sealed!) But it’s to be hoped he/she is enjoying their new career at MacDonalds! This story is now almost as famous as that of EMI rejecting The Beatles.
I think the standard rejection letter or email has to be the worst by far – you know the sort: “Dear Author, Thank you for sending your manuscript to us. However, it is not what we are looking for at this time.” Most of the time they don’t even use your name or the name of the book, which makes you wonder whether they’ve even read the synopsis, let alone looked at the obligatory first three chapters.
The ‘nicer’ rejections are those with constructive criticism of course. Correctly worded, they can fill an author with enthusiasm and make them eager to re-work parts of the manuscript. One of my nicest rejections said they were really torn about my book, but had decided to say no because it was more romantic than the paranormals they published. The editor went on to ask me to let her know when it was published, because she wanted to buy a copy. That’s one rejection I did keep.
There is no easy way to cope with numerous rejections, but after a while, a protective shell does seem to evolve. It really isn’t the end of the world, because what one editor or agent doesn’t like, another will love. Never lose hope and never give up.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Rejection hurts. There’s no way to block that nasty refusal that hits too close to the heart. The worse response is the one that states: Oh I got a ‘good’ rejection. Who are you kidding? Good rejection? Is that the same as a good root canal?
Sure, I said the same thing. And editors who also include a suggestion on how to make the baby better should get prime seats in Heaven. But it’s still a rejection.
I’ve learned a few tricks to lessen the pain, but nothing totally masks it. They used to come by mail and I thought if I only peeked without unfolding the letter that would keep the bad news inside. Then I’d slide it under the blotter for a few days, maybe a week. Sometimes it gave me a chance to look at it with steady hands and strong heart.
Email is tougher. The subject line can say the title/rejection. Oops, no chance to dodge the stab. Or it starts so nice, with Dear Author. No matter how nice the phrasing, I always interpret it to mean ‘your work stinks and so do you.’
What do I do? I make a cup of tea. I actually read the rejection. Every editor has their own opinion and tastes. If the editor doesn’t like it, okay. The entire world can’t love me. If the editor has valid reasons: the plot isn’t resolved to her satisfaction; the conflict isn’t strong enough; too much description, for example. I can take that away and look at the work with a different view.
I use the adrenaline to get back to writing. I weight the response and have redone the work to make a better book.
Like the saying goes: No pain, no gain.
It’s not too late.
I’m giving away an e-book copy of Ancient Blood on May 27th to celebrate the release by the Wild Rose Press. Just go to one of my May blog appearances and leave a comment where I’m appearing from May 1- May 27, 2011 or at my blog. Enter often. After leaving a comment, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can notify the winner. The winner will be randomly drawn on May 27, 2011 at midnight.
http://www.michelezurlo.com/apps/blog/show/6891403-tsr-welcomes-barbara-edwards For the 1st week in May - Visit The Steam Room at http://www.michelezurlo.comhttp://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2011/05/guest-barbara-edwards.html about Tarot
May 25 at The Black Rose blog about being rejected: http://twrpblackrose.blogspot.com/
May 25 Hosting Stephanie Burkhart, The Wolf’s Torment blog tour: http://barbedblog.barbaraedwards.net/ or
May 27 About Ancient Blood: http://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com/
My new book is available on May 27, 2011
Ancient Blood by Barbara Edwards
Paranormal, strong romantic elements, sensuous
Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.
Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.
Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.
“Lily?” His strong hands gently cupped her shoulders.
“Don’t, please don’t.”
She pulled away, fully intending to flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too late to escape. Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag aside as he sat her on the counter.
“I can’t wait,” he growled. His flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”
Clasping her bottom, he slid her to the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.
The cold surface only made her more aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped. His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she tightened her thighs around his hips.
The Wild Rose Press: Ancient Blood, a Black Rose
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Until that first rejection letter arrived.
“Thank you for considering us for publication, Ms. Purington. Regrettably, your story is not quite what we’re looking for at this time”
Okay, fine. No problem. I’d sent out multiple queries. That publisher obviously wasn’t a fit for me anyway.
Days later, the next rejection letter arrived. I shrugged. These things happen. Can’t please everyone.
One week later, the next letter arrived. Yet another rejection. I think it was around this point the heavy sighs kicked in. The kindle of arrogance I’d enjoyed fizzled.
Suffice it to say, three more rejections rolled in before I realized it was time to take a second look at my manuscript. Newly determined, I sat down and slapped on the ol’ elbow grease. My story needed to be better. Alright… much better! Long story short, or should I say short story longer, my manuscript was at last accepted for publication a year later.
To this day I keep every single rejection letter tucked safely away in a shoebox. Why? Because I want my son to know his mom never gave up. Since the day he was born in ’05 I’ve made a point of raising him on the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed try and try again.” If he knows mom never gave up on her dream, there’s a very good chance he won’t give up on his.
Stephenie Meyer’s, Twilight was rejected by fourteen publishing houses before it was accepted. I’ll bet all those publishers are ruing the day now. Stephen King was rejected so many times he was going to give up writing. Can you even imagine?
Rejection’s part of life and certainly part of a writing career. Truth told it’s a blessing in disguise because it makes you strive to do better. Be better. We should all learn and grow throughout our entire career. Part of the process! The minute you think you’ve got it all figured out is the day the wild world of publishing will throw you a curveball.
Write well everyone and never let a little rejection get in your way!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011
My senior year in high school I took a creative writing class. With the encouragement of my teacher, I decided to submit a novel to one of the New York publishers. I was 18 years-old when I got my first New York rejection. Not to be deterred, I had another novel finished, so I sent another, and then another. All nicely rejected.
In the meantime, I had the opportunity to attend my first romance writer's conference. What an experience that was!! I still remember every moment. Of course, I was so incredibly shy that I couldn't approach the writers who are my idols, such as Sandra Hill and Merline Lovelace. And, I stood at the sign-up table for a good 15-minutes debating on whether I should sign up for an editor meeting. My boyfriend (who became my husband) lost patience with my insecurity and took the pen from my hand and filled my name in a time slot. I had my first appointment with a Harlequin editor at the age of 19.
At this time, I had no prior knowledge of what was expected at one of these meetings. The internet was in its infancy, so all I had was my common sense and gut instinct of what I should bring and what I needed to talk about. Luckily, the editor I met was incredibly patient with me as I stumbled through my proposal. When I got home from the conference, I packed up my manuscript and mailed it to the editor. I waited and waited and waited. It seemed like such a long time, so I sent another letter, inquiring about the status of my manuscript. About a day later, I got my rejection from them. About a week after that, the editor I had sent my manuscript to called me on the phone. My letter requesting the status of my manuscript crossed in the mail with the rejection letter. It still stuns me that I received a phone call from an editor at Harlequin, even if it was to nicely tell me of their rejection.
It wasn't until I became Assistant Manager at the bookstore where I worked that I learned there are different kinds of rejection letters. I hosted a few romance author book-signings and I had the chance to interact with romance authors who knew the publishing business. They were shocked when I told them of my rejections. Until then, I didn't know there were different kinds of rejections in the publishing industry. Form letters and good rejections. I was told by these romance authors that I was a very lucky writer when it came to receiving rejections.
None of the rejections I received were form letters. In each instance, I had a note from the editor, explaining exactly why my novel was rejected. Even in the one form letter I did receive, the editor had penned in her explanation in the margin. This was not the standard practice for rejection. I was very lucky that in each case, the editor told me what I needed to work on to improve my manuscript. These are good rejections, and a practice that I'm very glad that The Wild Rose Press adheres to. Although I was saddened to not have my manuscripts accepted, I wasn't at all discouraged. Instead, I set out to improve my writing and I'm very glad I did. It took some time, but it was well worth the wait to receive my first acceptance!
-Tricia Schneider worked in a bookstore for 12 years, 6 of those years as Assistant Manager. Now she writes full-time while raising her three young children. She lives with her WWII re-enactor husband in the coal country of Pennsylvania. For more information visit her website, and to purchase her books visit her publisher, The Wild Rose Press .
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
After that, I won a contest at TWRP and got a most wonderful editor, so I submitted the story previously submitted to the other publisher and got a rejection. I was really bummed. Until I re-read the story. Then I was really embarrassed. When I had sent that novel off years ago, I thought it looked really good. Really good. But as the years passed, my technique improved and now the story was bad. B-A-D. As my editor said: I really wanted to kill the hero. She had a point. I wanted to kill him too. So, guess what? I did. :) Kept his name and occupation and tried really hard to clean him up since my editor said she'd look at another round. It still got rejected. I was really bummed, but asked if I could try again. Poor editor. She really needs a medal. Third time was a charm, and I'm happy to say my completely reworked story, with a new and improved hero, is coming out in August. :)
My advice is to not let rejections get you down. Everyone gets them. It's what you do with them that counts. And if you have a manuscript sitting around that you haven't read for awhile: read it before sending it out. Just saying.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
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.