Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Happy Publishing Experience

So far, I am having a pretty good time with the literary press publishing my novel. The editing process has been going well; I've filled out a ton of publicity forms regarding my own thoughts on how to market the book, I have people who have agreed to read the galleys and give a blurb, and the cover of the book is amazing. It took more than 15 years for this to happen, so I have to say I'm pretty grateful to start out, but I am also impressed with the immediacy and proficiency of the publisher.  I want to post the cover, but I think I'm going to wait.  One day I will simply post an entry into "Victory over Rejection," and you will all intuitively know that it is my novel.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Great Volumes, Batman!

Those New England baked-beaners are so formal. They don't read; they get "acquainted" with your work.  It's not terrible (see Saturday's post); it simply "does not suit" them. They aren't sorry they can't respond personally, they "regret the great volume of submissions they receive."  They don't want you to bug off, but to have "success placing your work elsewhere."  Thanks for thinking of them!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Is This For Real?

Boom! Now, that's an honest form letter for you. This is, of course, how most of the weary readers at these beleaguered  feel about it.  So, sing it, sister!

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'll Have A Classic Coke, Please

It's an American standard form rejection is what it is, a classic. I stopped sending out short stories a while back, though I do have a collection of them that was never published as a book. Ah, books! I know a writer who used to make a living in the newspaper business with a syndicated column. Of the 20 papers that used to carry this friend's column, exactly 1 is still standing today. What is the fate of these print literary reviews? I can't help but wonder. Remember when books were things people wanted to have? I am just as guilty as anyone; I gave away all but a small shelf of books, mostly keeping those that were published by friends, or those that I love to use for teaching, or those that I simply love beyond reason. Also, I imagine, that very soon these paper rejections will be a thing of the past too. I feel like my novel is one of the last to be published on actual wood pulp at this late date in the new Century, don't you?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Three Hundred Books to Read Every Week

I found this rejection online since it is now, apparently, all the rage to post one's rejections, though remember the good old days when people used to post comments telling me I would get sued and lynched, and I would never get published in "this town" again?  I wasn't getting published in any town anyway, was my thought on the matter.  That was what was funny.  That and the fact that no one really gave a crap about my posting my little treasure trove of rejections.  But when this whole concern started in 2007, it was a radical move to expose the names of the rejecters, which I have generally done. This particular found rejection has the name of the writer removed, as well as the last name of "Vicki, Agency Editor."  Because the title "Agency Editor" is so unusual, you can pretty much use the old Google-Whats-It and figure out who she is. Very young, bless her heart.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some Wisdom Is Needed Here

Let's hear a few words from other writers like ourselves who have struggled with rejection and made it. (Any writer could probably qualify under those terms.) Though, do you think anyone ever feels like he or she has made it? I know of a very famous writer who lives in fear of never writing another book as good as the one that won him the Pulitzer Prize.  I also know of a very famous writer who was awarded a Nobel Prize after she was too old and infirm to collect it in person. Ah, life; a kick in the teeth, no matter how you slice it, right?
  • “Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.” – Isaac Asimov
  • “I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’“ – Saul Bellow
  • “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath
  • “Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” – Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Often, you have to fail as a writer before you write that bestselling novel or ground-breaking memoir. If you’re failing as a writer – which it definitely feels like when you’re struggling to write regularly or can’t seem to earn a living as a freelance writer – maybe you need to take a long-term perspective.” – J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Somewhat Intriguing, But Not Really

Last Spring, I submitted 25 pages of my novel to a contest where the perk was to get direct feedback from three readers who are "industry insiders."  Here's a smattering of what I got back:
  • There are a lot of unnecessary and misused colons. En dashes were used where em dashes were needed
  • This novel will be very difficult to place
  • Lots of good detail of the snow, clothing, hair movements, etc
  • The first chapter is very long
  • The first line is somewhat intriguing, but not really fascinating
  • It is definitely original. I saw no cliches
  • Writer has a very unique voice
  • Main character seems dark, trapped in a horrible world
  • I don't see any conflict. The mother is too domineering to allow it.
  • The children talked in a manner appropriate for unsupervised, uncared for children of the era.
  • Narrative vastly overwhelmed the dialogue.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Help! Someone Knocked Me Down and Stole My Shoes!

Some people have a lot of nerve, ripping off blogs with no shame.  Literary Rejections sprouted up like a weed in 2014 (i.e., the last 11 days), claiming to be the "official website."  Official, my ass. What does that even mean? Official of what? Ah, well, some people are truly full of douchery, am I right? Here's what s/he writes about the :

Giving a Voice to Those Without a Publishing Deal

The quest to be read consumes the life of the writer. Doors too often close in their face. Rejection dangles the temptation to quit before their eyes on a frequent basis. Their prose is silent, as are their voices. Unpublished writers are some of the most dedicated, hardworking, unrewarded creative individuals on the planet. Their stories of rejection, and their journeys to the promised land of a publishing deal, matter. They embody the relentless ambition of a dream. They remind the publishing industry that talent is always knocking on the door. That no matter how many no’s they hear they will never give up. It is not an option. Writing is what makes them who they are. It defines them. This site will give them a voice. Through a series of blog posts, writers from across all genres and countries will be able to share their personal experiences of rejection. This community will help each other, and inspire those about to embark on the arduous journey to print.
BTW, you'll be relieved to know that the site declares it will not charge you any dues to be a member of the site.  Weirdly, it is a hugely extensive undertaking, but its owners ripped off some other ideas and a few of my branding elements, as displayed above. I don't know how I'm going to get behind this grand effort. I'll have to mull it over and get in touch with my more generous self.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Despite a Thousand Rejections

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I was surprised that among the 1,316 prose applicants to the NEA this year, I was not among the 38 chosen.  Those seemed like such reasonable odds to me, and I was surprised at how few had applied and how many had been short listed.  But, alas, it wasn't to be.  I wonder: after so many years rejected, what makes a person go on believing so strongly that each submission is going to end in success?  Any ideas on this, mice? Surely, if anybody has the answer it will be among your legion.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gone So Long

I have so many rejections to catch you up on.  During my hiatus, I received a number of them, as you might have expected, despite my claims to have quit. I acted as my own agent, sending the book out directly to editors, and got a few to actually read and respond. It was surprising.  (Do we need agents any more?) Also, I submitted the novel to a few contests and got some really crazy feedback, which I will share. Stay tuned for that. Now that my novel is actually going to be published, it's an extra pleasure to post rejections.  Like, for instance, this one, from an imprint at HarperCollins:
Writer, Rejected: I did hear back from [someone billed in an earlier email as a "star editor"] today and did my own reading as well. We both love what you are doing, but in the end, we both agree that [title of novel] isn’t the right fit for us here. Thanks so much, again, for reaching out to us, and I sincerely wish you the best with your future writing. All best, Daisy, Vice President and Publisher, Fiction

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Guess the F**** What, People

Dear Mice:
     I am sending this post from an undisclosed location in the desert.* I have been locked away in a bunker with Rosemary Ahern for some time now, revising my novel. She is an amazing editor, just as I imagined. So, I was not lying when I said I was lying that I was going to stop writing entirely. Or to put it in a positive construction: I have been working on the novel this last year without blogging.
     Since my hiatus there have been many more rejections, as you may have guessed. And, just so you know, peeps, I got them all without an agent. I had been sending the book out myself and getting read and rejected all by myself.
     Then, at the very turn of 2014, something wonderful happened. A publisher who wants my book has appeared like a vision from nowhere. My book is going to be published!
     It only took 15 years, but think about it, gentle mice, what the hell else would I have been doing during that time anyway. So congratulate me, and take heart. It seems that publishing still has some breath in it yet.
     I will post some of my more interesting rejections in the meantime, for your reading pleasure.  I am also going to blog the hell out of this publishing experience, so stay tuned.

*Not really; I've just finished watching all 6 seasons of Breaking Bad, so don't believe my dramatics, yo. My novel, however, really has been chosen for publication, bitches. That is not part of the joke.