Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Joy Form Rejection


To start the new year right, here's a no-joy form rejection from the literary agent Joy Harris. That's really no frills...not even a signature, or single person's name.  It's as if the machinery of the JHLA read and rejected your work.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't even try anymore. Too many disappointments. I have nothing going for me - except the words I write, and I feel that unsolicited manuscripts by Nobodies aren't given consideration. So why submit?
Why write, if your work won't get published? I haven't written any fiction in 5 years or so.
Have a great 2009, everybody.

rmellis said...

Anon, don't write if you can help it. The world doesn't need more writers; it needs nurses and scientists and teachers and social workers. Only write if you're a selfish bastard and can't stop yourself.

Anonymous said...

negative much?

just saying. but oh, man. positivity! seriously.

also, no whining. nobody likes a whiner unless they're funny.

Writer, Rejected said...

Many is the time that I have resolved to give it up, never write another word, burn the manuscript in progress, and yet....


Rmellis is right. I'm a selfish bastard.

Would that I had been born to find happiness in retail sales.

Anonymous said...

About that word: whining.
It's a derogatory, dismissive label.
It ends dialogue.
It's grossly overused, particularly on this blog.
How about, in 2009, people stop whining about whiners.
(Humor.)
Just let others say what they want to say. And if it's a gripe, isn't this the place to come? If you disagree with the content of their words, address that.

gimme said...

"Why write, if your work won't get published?"

Because you have to.

There's no other reason. There's certainly no GOOD reason to write - especially literary fiction - so don't bother looking for one (or beating yourself up because you can't find one).

To be a writer today is to accept that you will spend most of your life laboring over something that will likely never be seen by anyone or make you a dime. If you can't handle that, you're not a writer. That's that. You are LUCKY. Go do something more lucrative and satisfying.

In the words of Don Carpenter:
"Of course they won't let you do it. If they would let you do it, we'd all be doing it, wouldn't we?"

quescaisje said...

To Anon1: Don't give up. Don't give up. Don't give up. And to stinking hell with whoever it was that discouraged you five years ago.

rmellis said...

You know I don't mean that as an insult, right, WR? I mean, I'm talking about myself. But you gotta face facts.

Writer, Rejected said...

Rmellis: No way, sister. I was practically singing amen to your comment. (You couldn't hear the choir in the background.) I *am* a selfish bastard because I think I have something so important to say that I would spend 12 years of my life on it, all my spare time, and everything else be damned. ( Also I can't do another thing well, which is why I am a writer by career trade and a writer by craft and a writer to express my art. It's the only thing I know how to do, I fear.)

So, from me, amen.

Anonymous said...

how about kvetching? is kvetching about kvetchers allowed?

seriously, though: whatever it takes to get you writing again, do it. just because nobody's published it doesn't mean you should stop writing. sometimes it just means you should try harder, or else better. negativity only brings you down. successful people (the people who you want to be reading your work and helping you out) avoid it at all costs.

just one writer's opinion.

The Rejection Queen said...

Funny thing,

I got the same rejection letter from her. I think I posted it up somewhere on my blog.

Writer, Rejected said...

Oh I snitched it off the web from this guy:

http://booksay.mindsay.com/chapter_6_reject_this.mws

Had I known you had one up, I would have snitched it from you...but I try to avoid snitching from friends.

KATE EVANS said...

Have you seen this?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98503490

Rick Bayan said...

The system is broken, folks. Non-celebrity authors haven't a prayer today except in genre books. (Or unless we have a meaningful relationship with a well-placed acquisitions editor.) Even my agent has given up, and I'm a successfully published veteran. My conclusion: We must dare to become outlaws for the good of the book world. Here... read my lament: http://bayanology.com/2008/12/16/hoisting-the-black-flag/

Anonymous said...

I'm the first anon.
I had a good deal of fiction published, and in good places, then the door seemed to close - about 10 years ago. It wasn't that my work was inferior. Why was I being constantly (and uncaringly) rejected? That's a subject that interests me.
Now I write personal essays, pieces on books/writers, reviews. I have a place that treats me with respect; I stick with them.
BUT - that said - I'm happier out of the fray. I'm happier, folks!
I don't feel I have anything important to say. The world can get along without my "insights." I felt I wrote fiction that was engrossing, original and was about Something. I still believe in its quality. But great, necessary? - No.
I read a lot now.
Thanks for the generous comments that some have made.

Writer, Rejected said...

FIrst Anon: After I finish writing this novel (for the hundredth time revised), I want to be you. I want to be a reader, an occasional writer of something interesting, but not necessary. I hope I don't have to write anything else. I really do. Your life sounds appealing.

Thanks for coming around and sharing.

I'm thinking about starting a "Lives" section wherein writers offer a small essay about their experience with rejection. Would you be willing to write the first one? If yes, please write to me at writerrejected at aol dot com.

Anonymous said...

My initial reaction is - No. It would mean dredging up a lot of stuff I would rather stay buried.
(Though maybe that sentence IS my "small essay.")
Thanks for the offer.

Luke Fiske said...

I, too, submit to competitions all the time. In a way it gives you hope...I think it is also true that competitions are democratic, whereas regular submissions can be rejected instantly because of a bad phrase in a cover letter or because the editor hates the fact you did an MFA or resents your other publication credits or hates the fact you didn't do an MFA or just doesn't like the way your name sounds.

Does anyone know of a comprehensive site for all competitions? Most of the ones I've found on PW and PEN are partial, and the Short Story and Novel Markeplace book isn't much better.

Luke Fiske said...

I, too, submit to competitions all the time. In a way it gives you hope...I think it is also true that competitions are democratic, whereas regular submissions can be rejected instantly because of a bad phrase in a cover letter or because the editor hates the fact you did an MFA or resents your other publication credits or hates the fact you didn't do an MFA or just doesn't like the way your name sounds.

Does anyone know of a comprehensive site for all competitions? Most of the ones I've found on PW and PEN are partial, and the Short Story and Novel Markeplace book isn't much better.

Anonymous said...

I won second prize in a contest sponsored by a university (with a noted author at the helm of its MFA program). The young lady who won first prizes in BOTH the fiction and non-fiction categories was 1) gorgeous and 2) a current student in the writing program of that university.
I haven't submitted to a contest since then.
I'm not making this up (though it still amazes me).

The Rejection Queen said...

Hey, thats why I post my rejections up....you can snitch them anytime you want. Obviously, they are worthless to me.

Anonymous said...

First anon, it doesn't have to be so black and white. Don't be so hard on yourself, please.

I write, I have jobs, and I publish here and there. I do what I can, understanding that writing's a tough game. But I write, simply because I want to.

And that's all you need to do, really. Write it long enough and you will find an audience-- but it may not be through the big publishing houses.

Write for a local publication, or a trade mag. Or start your own guerilla press and fly your literary freak flag. Put it online (domains are cheap) or hand-write it on scrap papers and drop them on sidewalks. Or put your work up on Lulu and make peace with self-publishing.

Just don't give up. in the end, you have to write for yourself, not for the big publishing names.