Tuesday, June 26, 2012


What a ride the last few days have been. I've went from so sad I couldn't function, to mad, to determined in three days time. What started this roller coaster? Rejection - every writer's nightmare. I've heard it said that if you can't stand rejection you shouldn't be a writer. And for about a day, I thought about just quitting - giving up on my dream. Thank goodness that passed. Let me fill you in on the details:

One of the writing groups I'm in had their annual conference this past Saturday. At last years conference, I pitched my book to an editor with Avalon books. First time I've done anything like that. She asked for the first three chapters and synopsis. After I sent it, she asked for the whole manuscript. To say I was on cloud nine would be an understatement. And of course, I had to tell everyone I knew. Then the bottom fell out. After waiting for about seven months for an answer, the editor quit and Avalon was acquired by Amazon and my manuscript came back to me with a form rejection letter on top. Okay, okay, not the end of the world, right? It was good enough this time, it will be good enough the next time. Oh how naive I am.

I pitched to an agent this time. First words out of her mouth were that my word count was too small. My head started swirling - she's going to reject it - oh no! But, she said it sounded interesting - go ahead and send it. Okay, I thought, but what good is that when you've already said the word count is wrong?

Next came a critique session with four other wannabes and a very successful published author. I'd worked all morning the day before polishing my piece. It was ten pages. First thing she said was we could only read five pages. Okay . . . I frantically picked what section I wanted to have critiqued and waited my turn. The only feedback - I can't use derogatory words. Or if you do, you have to qualify them. That was it. No encouragement at all. Excuse me, Miss Famous Author, those words are totally in context with what the characters would say.

The final blow was later in the afternoon. Some of us submitted query letters for a query letter gong show. The agents lined up at their table and our letters were read. They were supposed to gong when they lost interest. I'd followed all the sage advice of experts when I composed my letter and I had imagined them saying something like "This is great. Who wrote this. Please send me the manuscript." Naive again. Instead I got the worst review of them all.

I left the conference before it ended and cried most of the night away. The next day, I was still wallowing in self pity. But something changed Monday. I started to get mad. How dare they try to dash my dream (granted they probably had no intention of doing that) but, I had to blame somebody. Because, obviously, it's not me or my writing that's at fault. Right? Right?

Today, I have moved from mad to determined. What am I going to do? I'm still weighing my options. I know for sure I'm not quitting. Stay tuned for Part 2.


  1. Hey, on a bright note, I potentially offended one of the agents who agreed to read my first 30 chapters with my query letter :) I knew it was taking a chance, but I also thought it was funny and would stand out. See what I get for thinking! Ultimately, I now know how to craft a BETTER letter. Each experience is a chance to learn and improve. Hell, by next year, they'll be lined up for YOUR advice ;) Keep on writing. You are doing good things :)Besides that, I like you dammit. So there :)

    1. People are so easily offended. I like your sense of humor. And they probably won't remember that query letter after they read your work. I'm very proud of you for getting two requests.

  2. I'm throwing a Steve Jobs your way: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions down out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you want to become. Everything else is secondary."

    Two things come out of knowing some "big name" people didn't like your stuff. 1) You learn these aren't the people you need to surround yourself with. 2) Once you drop that sadness, you gain the ability to show them.

    When I got rejected by the agent I pitched to last year (I so probably shouldn't be admitting this because the internet is forever), I took her reject letter and deconstructed it to say what I thought it really meant. She said she read it and set it aside (which to me translates into, I shoved it in an e-mail file she never looks at and forgot about it for 3 months). I cried while I did it, but in the end I was laughing because it was ridiculous. Someday I want to walk up to her say, yes, you rejected me, but I made my own way, so thanks for making me stronger on my own.

    Also, I want to leave you with this scene from The Postman (I know you don't like apocalyptic movies, but I think about this one all the time when I'm feeling down):

    Kevin Costner played a guy called Shakespeare at the beginning of the movie before he morphed into The Postman (epic hero's journey). He performed MacBeth for a little village and did very badly at it. This guy comes up clapping.
    Shakespeare says thank you.

    The guy says something along the lines of, "I'm not clapping because I liked it. I'm clapping because you stink. I tried to be an actor when I was young. I wasn't a good actor, but now after seeing you at least I can die knowing I wasn't the worst one."

    And Shakespeare comes back with: "How much did you pay to get in, Larry? So bite me!"

    Don't just tell us it's wrong, famous author/agent/editor, tell us how to fix it so we're better next time! I know I'm not a superstar, but maybe with some help instead of a bunch of negativity ('cause I can do that on my own all day long), maybe I will be.

    *Climbs off of soapbox*

  3. Man that was a high soapbox. I appreciate every word. Thank you!

  4. Okay... coming in late. Go figure LOL
    I'm sorry your day didn't go the way you'd hoped. But give yourself kudos for putting it out there! So many people never do that. Granted, they didn't provide much education or critique, but you learned a good lesson. No matter how much it seems to suck - you are STRONG! And I'm pleased to call you 'friend'.

    Can't wait to read Part 2

    Let's talk ;-)