There's been a scuffle recently over the negative comments of a few bloggers, who tend to insult and pontificate. There's been a call to remove the negative commenters from the blog, which is not my style. After a few folks expressed these opinions, said negative bloggers have decided on their own that LROD is "disappointing, repetitive, and predictable," and they are leaving.
Because they are leaving (narcissistic ?), they think that I should shut down my blog. Funny. But, as with my persistent fiction, I'm not much of a quitter. I'll probably be here as long as I get rejections, which as any writer knows, means forever.
Here are the comments with my responses following:
Boris said: I do think this blog sort of beats the same dead horse, over and over, though: A post about this or that "injustice" in the publishing world, followed by a few thoughtful comments, followed by an anti-MFA "it's all about connections" rant by anonymous, followed by some back and forth between anonymous berating people for what they read (or don't read), followed by indignant replies to anonymous and then anonymous cutting and pasting what's been said so that he/she (I'm guessing 'he') can tell him or her how he or she didn't read his comments closely enough, followed by 'writer, rejected' telling everyone to go easy on the insults, and then maybe a published writer gets insulted (maybe even by writer, rejected), and then the published writer (or an editor) shows up to say, 'Hey, sorry you guys hate me based on my photo, my advance, my MFA,' and then this gives anonymous an opportunity to puff up, etc., etc., etc. I realize that this is the focus of this blog, but, wow!, it's just so....predictable. Anonymous is the worst offender, of course, but the blog itself suffers the same problem. And God forbid if Writer, Rejected gets his/her novel published. Anonymous would be on his/her ass so fast for being a sell-out, for using his/her blog in some way (that he couldn't articulate) to land the deal, for being (let's face it) accepted rather than rejected. But then I start getting the feeling that rejection is a self-fulfilling prophecy around here. It's one's reason for being (at least on this blog), right? So have at it, folks. And feel free to flog me all you want: I won't be around to enjoy the party. (But, please, "Writer, Rejected": Please think about doing something that transcends the basic gist of this blog. My advice? Be radical and shut it down, putting the time you would normally spend on this blog into your novel -- or maybe a even new novel, putting the ten-year one aside for a bit? I'm dead serious. And, believe it or not, the advice is well-meaning.)
I aim to transcend nothing, dude. I'm just trying to understand. But this should not stop you from being the one to make a blog that transcends stuff. That would be cool, and I would definitely be a reader of your blog. Thanks for your concern about my time and my novel. But I'm doing just fine.
Joey Said: ^ Completely agree. I've found certain (many!) posts on this blog interesting, but I'm not so interested in having WR throw red meat at the commenters (look, an undeserved publication! doesn't that make you mad??? be angry! be angry!) over and over again. It looks like a good way to achieve a nice little echo chamber, but in the end, as anon noted, this just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it's fun; I don't know. But I've never been fond of agitprop, and this site increasingly seems to run on a set formula of posts designed to goad commenters into responding angrily and resentfully over things they have little control over. Oh well. Good luck with it. I honestly have enjoyed reading many posts here, but...I've begun to feel I could drop by once a month and I'd see the same posts and arguments posted over and over again. WR posts a literature is dead or they don't deserve it post. Some agree. Some don't. Some flame. WR cheerfully asks for no flaming. Two days later, he posts another bit of flame-bait. Repeat ad infinitum. It's disappointing. There aren't that many blogs out there that focus on the litfic publishing world at a personal level. But I just can't jive with the gimmick of repeatedly reading things that are supposed to make me bitter, frustrated, or resentful toward other people. Oh well. Good luck, WR. I'm going to take some time off to do some writing and subbing instead of reading and whinging, and I hope, at some point, you try something more than the call-response thing here. Cheers, all.
Thanks for wishing me luck. I truly appreciate (and need) it. Please feel no obligation to become bitter, frustrated or resentful; that is not my goal. I just call 'em the way I see 'em. Sorry to disappoint you by not adding more personal words about my experience in "litfic publishing," though I think I've pretty much laid it all out in my path of rejections. Maybe I'll reveal myself and really go to town. But probably not. In the meantime, peace out, bro.
Anonymous said: I recognize myself as one of those being criticized, yet I still agree with the previous two comments. They're dead-on. But other literary sites engage in blatant Toadyism. They wouldn't allow any complaints about the status quo. You'd get hit with the W or B bombs (Whiner and Bitter). You get hit with those bombs on LROD, if you point out problems of fairness. I see that the guy on McCain's campaign staff who called people "whiners" had to resign. I can never get it: why, in the literary world, that word is automatically applied to people who have legitimate complaints. But, yeah, you commenters above are right in saying that LROD is predictable and repetitious. Maybe we should all just shut up. Maybe we're all tired of this. Change won't happen. This is an exercise in futility.
Maybe we are all tired. Or maybe it's just you: tired of me. But I have a book to read and an LROD book club to run and more rejections to post, which sometimes spark a flame or two. I have more to understand about what gets published and what doesn't and why. Also about what is going to happen to literary fiction (and the fate of the book) in general as well as my own "litfic" novel in particular. So, I'm not closing anything down just yet. I'm not tired of myself, I guess. But you are free to come and go at will.
John Said: Now, I'm new here, but one thing that interests me is how little actual literary fiction I see, notwithstanding the site concerns the rejection of same. W,R has won awards, but she won't post what she's written, as far as I can tell. I go to the blogs of those who identify themselves on the comments, and ditto. I wonder how many rejections some of these folks actually get. (I got two this morning before I came here, by the way, and you can find links to my published stuff on my blog.) Now, some folks may call this humor-challenged, but it reminds me of Bukowski's story about the workshop where everybody read their stuff and bs-ed about it, but nobody actually submitted.
Every rejection posted from the very beginning is mine, and is real, as indicated by the actual posting of actual rejections (read back to June, 2007). And so that's hundreds! Other writers have written in and sent rejection stories and actual rejections, and I've always noted them as from anonymous LROD readers. So, are they real? Yes. Otherwise, what would be the point? How many rejections do I actually get. More than I care to count. I think a lot of readers submit their work a lot of the time and get a lot of rejections. Many things in the world are a sham, but not the rejected writer.
Okay, so that's my response. No end of LROD in sight. But thanks for your suggestions. Keep coming by if you want to, and don't if you don't want to. We're low-key around here about all that. I'm not really trying to drive anyone to the blog, just writing about what interests me. Do keep an eye out in the next edition of Poets & Writers. Apparently there's going to be a little piece about this blog in deputy editor Kevin Larimer's column. It will be interesting to see what his editorial take is on LROD. (I don't expect him to love it, do you?)