On Rejections

Discussion in 'Writing & Publishing Discussion' started by Phy, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    John Scalzi has some useful things to say in a larger thread about his attitude about rejections and on finding balance with regard to collecting them.

     
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  2. Poem Parks

    Poem Parks Member

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    Good stuff, Phy, especially "but accepting that rejection in writing is part of a process and not automatically a referendum on your self worth as a human or a writer is a worthy thing." Thanks!
     
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  3. Darrel Bird

    Darrel Bird Senior Member

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    Rejection letter? Their loss, don't say I didn't give them a chance!
     
  4. Poem Parks

    Poem Parks Member

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    Ha! Very funny, Darrel. I like to do the "Who's today's winner?" when deciding which most fortunate agent will get a query from me. :rolleyes::D

    I had a new rejection letter in my inbox this morning. I've found getting those letters really does get easier the longer I've been querying. Also helpful is knowing this is a subjective business, and for an agent to do a great job, she has to "love love love" the material, as they say. For me, it was big to realize unless an agent is extremely fond of the project, I shouldn't want her to take it on. Even if she's a fantastic agent, she's not the right one for that project.
     
  5. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    Amen, Poem! It's like buying a pair of shoes: not every pair fits and not every pair looks right! :D
     
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  6. Nicholas Reicher

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    To me, rejections say "I don't love you." So, I'm trying to re-do my outlook, and eagerly anticipate my first 75 rejections!
    Although I wouldn't cry if I was accepted the first time out like Tom Clancey was!
     
  7. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    I've written hundreds of rejections. There was usually something specific I thought the author could have done better or differently. When receiving rejections, I pay close attention because the editor is telling me what they look for in stories they accept. And that, my friends, is the kind of insider information you can't buy. Listen to the critique, learn from the suggestions, and write a more targeted story using what you've learned.
     
  8. Poem Parks

    Poem Parks Member

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    Ooooohhh, something's occurring to me. I think we may be talking about two different types of queries/rejections. :)

    Phy, you mentioned the editor, stories they accept, and targeting a story. I can see how it would be very helpful to get a response from the editor of a publication saying why the story wasn't right for that publication, if the author wanted to have something published in that publication. Very, very helpful! :D

    I've been querying literary agents about a novel. It's different with querying agents. Even if an author likes a particular agent, her goal probably isn't to be a client of that agent. Instead, she probably wants to get the novel published, have a successful career writing novels, etc. If the particular agent rejects the query, another agent who is gaga about the story and the author's writing could do a great job.

    There is such a thing as reading too much into comments. I so hope everyone querying literary agents stays cognizant of that. We writers tend to be thinky-think-think sorts, and we may be prone to see a comment as something more than what may be just a subjective comment--not something that should make us question our work and stifle our efforts. (If, however, you get the same comment from several agents and/or others--say, your main character isn't someone the readers found themselves caring enough about to want to see more of the story after reading sample pages--then you should probably look into that.)

    This is getting long, but just to share some personal experience in hopes it might help someone else: My queries have resulted in multiple agents requesting the full manuscript, and multiple other agents sending rejection letters. Typically the rejections are form letters, and almost always, they say something about this being subjective and that another agent may feel differently, and they wish success in finding the right agent. And if the rejecting agents were just being nice by saying so, I wouldn't have gotten requests for the full. Query on!
     
  9. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Good point, and valid observation.
     
  10. Nancy Sonneman

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    I was once told that a rejection just means you are a working writer and to be glad when you get them. Frankly, I rate it right up there with James 1:2a where he says "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials.."
    I have a lot of health issues, and trials are not joyous occasions, believe me. I want to shout, "Oh, shut up!" I need to develop the hide of a Sherman tank. lol.
     
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  11. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    Unfortunately, practice makes perfect! :eek: :confused: :rolleyes: :p :)
     
  12. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Heh. Or, rather, 'Practice makes more practiced.' ;)
     
  13. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    LOL Sooooooo true! :D
     
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  14. Justin Swanton

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    This heartens me - it seems a given that most publishers don't recognize a classic when it's put in front of their eyes. Morale of the story: just keep submitting! (and hone one's craft)
     
  15. Poem Parks

    Poem Parks Member

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    #15 Poem Parks, Apr 21, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
    Wow, Justin! That is very encouraging. Thank you!

    I do have a few thoughts to share after reading it.

    I don't want anyone who plans on querying to have the impression that they'll likely have unkind things said about their work. I've gotten scores of rejections letters, and I've never had anyone say anything unkind--nothing like some of the comments in the linked material. Quite to the contrary, I've gotten some compliments, some reasons the story didn't work for agents (nicely put), and many mentions about the subjectivity of the business with wishes for success finding an agent the story is a better fit for.

    Today my inbox included a rejection letter from an agent on the full manuscript she had requested. (For people new to querying agents: When you query, you hope the agent will request more. Like you hope the resume will get you an interview.) I felt like I wanted to apologize for getting her hopes up and then failing to deliver. I've read interviews where agents talk about the hopefulness they have when reading queries. They want to find something good. They want us writers to do well.

    Also, I've read and didn't like a few of the books mentioned in the linked material. :) Fifty Shades of Grey sold well. Did everyone here at Christian Writers like it? :D
     
  16. Justin Swanton

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    Agreed. Some of those books should have stayed rejected. Which shows you what can rise to the top of the heap. o_O
     
  17. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    Didn't want to read it. o_O :eek: :rolleyes:
     
  18. Poem Parks

    Poem Parks Member

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    Exactly my point. :) I didn't read Fifty Shades of Grey, either. Lots of readers did. Different readers like different books. Different agents like different books. Different publishers like different books.

    For writers querying agents, we have to get our book to an agent who likes it.
     
  19. suspensewriter

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    #19 suspensewriter, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    I'd like to say there was a tremendous amount of discernment that occurs when editors reject manuscripts, but that's not so often the case. When we published magazines, we would get several thousand submissions per month and I think most were pushed aside after no more than a 15-30 second read by the editors since they were not "name" authors or recommended by name authors .

    What a lot writers forget is that magazines or book publishers are part of a business operation. They are more interested in their sales than your sales. That's why they are, all other things being equal, more interested in your cred pack than your writing's merit. This is not to say that the quality of your writing is not important- in my experience that expected. Meet the specs or don't submit. Writer's are vendors, in other words and there are quality control standards to meet or you're wasting their time.

    If you have a proven record of generating sales for publishers, your chances of getting acceptance letters is always good. If you're new to the trade, may I recommend that your chances of being accepted go way up if you participate in the writing community- in other words, pay your dues by attending conventions, etc. People who know you sometimes give your work a second look when they would ordinarily pass.

    So rejection letters aren't a badge of shame. That's just ridiculous. Most writers don't think of themselves as promoters or sales people and that's a mistake. Salespeople understand that every rejection, if properly utilized, is one step closer towards a sale.
     
  20. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    This is so true! :)