Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dealing with Rejection

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read Diane’s great post yesterday on Inspirational Romance. It’s always interesting to hear about the “rules” for a certain genre and then to see how authors manage to play by them (or not).

Speaking of which, one of my writing friends got back a short story she had submitted with a rejection note saying that her ending scene (2 older adults sharing a dinner that was originally meant for one) was not believable. Now, the plausibility of the comment and the scene aside, my friend gave a big cyber-sigh and said, basically, getting turned down time and time again takes a toll on you and your muse.

I tend to agree.

However, I also believe that those of us who submit our work are braver than those who write and want to submit but never do. At least we’re in the game, stepping up to the plate and giving it our best.

Still, that “no” stings. A lot. I’m planning on writing a Wednesday post that talks about how to deal with rejection…so for the record, how do you? Is it easy for you to shrug it off and move on? Do you assume a cavalier, “they don’t know what they’re missing” attitude? Or do you cry? Throw a tantrum? Pour a tall glass of wine and watch your favorite sappy movie? Stop writing altogether?

I’m interested to hear what people do, and more important, how they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and dive into the process of writing and submitting all over again.

What do you do?

And for a little (addictive and time-consuming) fun, here’s a game I found for you to play. Go on, see if you can stop after you lose the first time...

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Diane Craver said...


Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to talk about inspirational romance yesterday. It was fun!

Great post about rejection!
I guess how I handle rejection depends on what is being rejected. If an agent or editor is rejecting a book based only on a query letter, I'm disappointed but I move on and submit again.

But it was different when an agent with a great reputation requested a full manuscript after reading the first chapter of A Fiery Secret. I had high hopes and was so excited. She rejected it and told me what didn't work in the story. I was crushed with her rejection and complained to friends and family. After a few days, I took another look and rewrote parts of the book. Then I submitted to Samhain Publishing and it was accepted.

I've been trying to get short romantic stories published in this weekly magazine. Like your friend, the editor said something was unbelievable. I had best friends falling in love and getting married. How is this unbelievable? It happens.

Getting anything published is tough. But you have to remember even the best selling authors were rejected over and over again.

bunnygirl said...

Rejection is part of the game. It's disappointing, but anyone who has been around awhile knows how subjective the game can be. I like what Diane said, though. Getting a rejection from a query letter is no big deal, but a rejection on a partial stings a little.

My bigger frustration with rejection is that it means going back to the drawing board. And since agents all seem to want something slightly different, (query letter only, query + 5, query + synopsis and 30, etc) it's a big time suck to keep sending stuff out.

That's why I've got all my querying on hold right now, pending my next big case of writer's block. If I'm going to be engaging in an activity where I'm on the wrong side of the 80/20 rule, I don't want there to be something more productive I could've been doing with that time.

But then, I'm not one of those people who sees publication as the be-all and end-all. It would be nice, but the more I learn about it, the bigger a hassle it sounds like.

Marianne Arkins said...

Damn you. I can't stop playing that game.

I'll have to get back to you on rejections... I must get to level five!

Allie Boniface said...

Thanks, Diane and bunnygirl. I think you're both right: getting rejected on a partial or even a full does tend to hurt more, 'cause you've invested some hope in the first 1 or 2 positive requests.

And I'll admit that, though I wanted to be published more than anything, once you are in the process for the first time, it's overwhelming how involved it can be and how much time it takes away from the pleasure of simply writing and creating.