Thursday, July 24, 2014

Feeling Down? Rejected? Dejected? Think Your A Literary Wash Up?

Remember this author, this book, this victory? Right then. So you can keep at it, friends. Some people take longer to get to the goal than others. No shame in that. Some books have longer gestational periods and some books are rejected for, say, a decade. This "experimental" novel won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, the Desmond Elliot Prize, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, and the Goldsmiths Prize. A very small press published it.  Hooray for small presses! Hooray for persistent artists! Writes the Telegraph:
McBride began sending her manuscript to publishers in 2004 but its experimental style – with no commas or speech marks - made it a difficult sell. She endured rejection after rejection, and all but gave up hope that the book would ever see the light the day.
Right on, yo. Write on!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Uh-Oh: Am I A Rejection Junkie?

I ran across a book titled The Rejection Junkies Book in my travels. I read a little bit about it, and I guess I have to admit I qualify. The author's blog asks the provocative question: "Are you tired of being rejected by the world?" Um, yes. I am. But I'm used to it. Did you know that by 8 years old, 80% of our emotional patterns are formed? Was I therefore raised to be a writer? My family would be surprised to learn it, I think. They wish I'd stop writing; it makes them uncomfortable. Hmm...I'm going to go lie down on the couch and think about that for awhile.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Editor of the Atlantic Monthly on Rejection

Remember this guy (who is NOT my father)? He wrote an essay titled "How to Read a Rejection," which on the whole is very interesting. You can read it here. Consider his words of wisdom on the power dynamics involved in rejection:
As someone who has been writing letters of rejection 30 or 40 times a day for more than 35 years, I have considerable sympathy for my friend the writer-and an appreciation for the dilemma of "the editor," someone compelled to reject far more often than accept and to manage relationships with writers that are wildly lopsided. The editor has almost obscenely exaggerated power, since the ratio of candidates to published stories is so enormous (at least 1,000 to 1 at the Atlantic Monthly) and the writer's emotional stake in acceptance or rejection is so huge.
He parses out the meaning of different rejections, and offers some insight, probably nothing you don't already know.  Still, a helpful read.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Joan Didion Rejections

Smoke in your face and an avalanche of rejections for a Joan Didion story circa 1965:
Saturday Evening Post:
Many of us read it and a great many were excited and insistent in their admiration of it. Others, and they include Bill Emerson who has the final vote, also admired it but felt that it was wrong for the Post, not so much because of its subject matter, but also because of the oblique method of narration.
The New Yorker:
As a whole it just isn’t effective enough.
Ladies’ Home Journal:
Too negative for us.
I feel very bad about rejecting this story — not because I think it’s really a well worked-out story but because the writing is so awfully good. She has a very special way of involving the reader… but I’m turning this down, reluctantly, because I don’t think it’s a successful story in the end.
Just too brittle.
Harper’s Bazaar:
While “The Wellfare Island Ferry” is almost my favorite among the stories we have published… I feel that “When Did Music Come this Way?” is not quite as good.
Not quite right for us.
Unable to use this particular story.
The Atlantic Monthly:
I hope you’ll be sending us more of Joan Didion’s work, but this didn’t make it, so back to you.
The Reporter:
Alas, not right for The Reporter.
Too depressing.
  Good Housekeeping:
Marvelously written, very real, and so utterly depressing that I’m going to sit under a cloud of angst and gloom all afternoon… I’m sorry we are seldom inclined to give our readers this bad a time. 
Via: whose magnitude for reading and writing interesting blog posts seems endless. Thank you. (Plus to be totally transparent, this is also a pick up of the cool yellow Brainpicker quotation marks, with which I am now officially in love.) 

p.s. Interesting to see what the respectable magazine rounds for a story were in 1965.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hunter S. Thompson Goes B*t S***t on Biographer

Does it count as a rejection if the author lambasts his biographer? Here is a charming little hand-jotted note from Hunter S. to William McKeen who wrote Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson. Guess he didn't like the book.

Via: Flavorwire.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rejection Written to Ursula Le Guin's Agent

Here's a good one to Virginia Kidd, famous sci-fi lit agent, from an editor who found Le Guin a bit complicated. Love the line: "The interim legends become so much of a nuisance despite their relevance."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

T.S. Eliot rejecting Orwel's Animal Farm

Eliot worked for Faber and Faber at the time. He rejected the book, indicating that he thought Orwell's satire was off. He expressed it in this mind-boggling way:
"After all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore are the best qualified to run the farm -- in fact there couldn't have been an Animal Farm without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue) was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs." 
Is he defending Stalin here? And wouldn't a more "public-spirited" pig be a communist pig? Not sure I get it, but I'm not as smart as all that anyway.