Wednesday, January 30, 2013

01/30/2013 Writing Wednesday

Welcome back everyone! I am glad you all came back today. I was expecting my morning to be a little more...frustrating I believe is the right word, but now I am sitting here not quite sure what to do with my sudden available time. Receiving a bill for something I never had and being told by pretty much everyone else I talked to that the hold time would possibly take into the hours had caused me to fill my morning and get up early on a day I had off. Apparently that wasn't necessary, but now I'm awake and shouldn't go back to bed.

Today I wanted to talk about what it feels like to get a rejection letter. This seems like it would be a fairly simply concept, but it's important to prepare and be ready to accept it, because getting rejection letters is a part of writing and if you aren't properly ready for it they can be absolutely crushing. I got a rejection letter today, and while I was a little sad, I was also about 99% certain I was going to be getting it. They are a way of life and you can't let them get you down.

Now let's say you have your beautiful, polished, magnificent and wonderful manuscript. You send it to a potential publisher/agent and now you are in the (terrible) waiting stage. This stage, as I've mentioned before, can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. That amount of time is generally based on how large of a company you're submitting to. After waiting restlessly to hear that you've been accepted and will be starting the process of contract negotiations, you get an e-mail. Nervously you click it open and at first your heart is filled with anticipation and excitement as you start to read. Until you see the word 'regret', and then all other parts of the letter go unread and you immediately close out of your e-mail. This has happened to countless authors, myself included, and what generally goes through your mind after that is a flood of emotions that go between sadness, rage, and acceptance. It's basically a boiled down version of the stages of loss.

The added thing that rejection letters add though is self-pity. I don't like that word, but I can't think of a better one to describe it. It's like asking someone to the dance (or whatever) and being told that they don't want to go with you, because while they think you're cool, they only see you as a friend and have no romantic interest what so ever. The rejection letter, at least most of the ones I've seen, are not scathing by any means; they are polite, appreciative of your time, but the agency basically friend-zone's you and says that nothing will ever happen between the two of you. You start wondering what you did wrong, how to change the manuscript, query letter, or you, and also whether or not it's worth it to continue to other agencies. A rejection letter is still a rejection and being down about it is normal and fine, especially if you were really confident in what you were doing.

Yes feeling down is normal, however, you can't let it last. Authors will get more rejection letter than pages in their books, and depending on the genre you pick this can be constant. I mentioned previously how agents get a ridiculous amount of submissions, and they need to be very picky when choosing the right new author for them; if they send you a rejection letter it's not because it's a personal attack against you, but because they needed to make a business decision that didn't necessary include you. Let's say you wrote about space-traveling-vampire-cowboys (someone please make that a thing) and the agent you submitted that to is having a rather poor quarter in terms of revenue. They see that as experimental and a huge risk to the firm. Now someone else submitted a coming-of-age young adult adventure novel. That is a much safer investment for them because those things get eaten up by pretty much everyone. They needed to pay bills and the YA author just happens to be the one to help them do that; it doesn't mean they didn't enjoy your story, but that the other one was safer for them. If that happens to you, it's fine, it's not the end of the world and you just need to pick yourself up and move onto the next one.

Now if you have gotten rejections and you are tired of them, either because the economy is forcing agencies/publishers to not take on new authors, risky genres, or you're just done, there is always the option of going into self publishing. You can do this through places like Smashwords or Amazon and while there is a little more work involved on your end (due to you having to do your own advertising and telling people) you won't necessarily need to go after agencies/publishers unless you want to. It also has the added bonus of being able to work at your own pace without having to worry about deadlines and other such things. I'm not saying that this is a good response to one rejection letter, I'm just saying that it's an option if you're tired of getting truck loads of them. If you have a goal to get published by a big-time or any professional publisher you can't let the letters get you down. They happen and are a way of life when it comes to being an author, and aren't something you should revolve your life around. You are doing something important to you, and the agents/publishers understand that, but you can't take the rejection letters personally because if you do the only thing that will cause is for you to become bitter and no longer enjoy your writing.

I appreciate everyone stopping by today, and I hope this post wasn't too long for you. I will be back on Friday, barring any further laptop catastrophes, with my normal review. I hope to see you all there and I hope you all have a great rest of your week. Until then!

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