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Friday, October 29, 2010

Only Radio Static From the Agent

No word. I'm zen. Maybe Monday. How we suffer. Finished last rewrite end of August. Now, nearly November.  Still no word.  There was Frankfurt.  And other things. She's busy. I know.  But will she send it out?  Or send me back for more revisions?  Maybe it's good. Time brings clarity. Novels need to stew. As stated: I'm zen.  Sort of.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Tyrant Will Not Publish Your Piece

Well, given the name, what did you expect? From now on, inspired by this rejection, I'm going to sign all my emails "Love, Tyrant."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Warrior of My Heart

Strange sentiment, no? "Although we've decided against your work, once upon a time we were interested." I guess the idea is that you'll feel better knowing you weren't just immediately dismissed as a terrible writer out of hand. Is it better or worse knowing that Black Warrior had interest upon opening the envelope, but quickly lost that loving feeling? Also, this is a form rejection, so how sincere could the "it's-not-you-it's-me" excuse really be taken? Not very.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Crazy Life and Your Too "Poetry Slam-y" Poetry

This rejection came from Dan Tricarico, editor of  LITSNACK, sent to one of our very own mice. I love the casual tone, like a friend taking a little too long to get back to you: "I'm sorry I took so long to respond to these. My life has been crazy. Unfortunately, these aren't working for me. There is some lively writing here, but they come off a little too hip-hop/poetry slam-y for my tastes. Hope you understand." p.s. Does the LitSnack motto make any sense to anyone? Just wondering.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not Quite Right For Junior High

Found this online. Is it me -- or are the editor's handwritten notes appearing in a younger and younger hand?  This is, like, 8th grade.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Will You Be My Father/Agent And Never Disinherit me?

Tim Seldes is an old-timey gentleman agent. I got a rejection from him too.  I chatted with him once, not knowing that he was an agent, a legend, etc.  He was very nice and sparkly. I kind of wished he could be my father in an embarrassing way that I couldn't entirely repressed, though maybe it was because my father had died so recently and had, as many of you know, cut me (of all his children) out of the will just to be mean. As it turned out, Mr. Seldes ended up being a charming conversationalist, someone I met at a wedding: nothing more, nothing less.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Literary Monkey

If you know the Kenyon Review and its blog, (which for some reason is posting only on Merwin this month) you can help out by taking the survey mentioned above by going here. (Awfully nice of me, since LROD isn't, I notice, even mentioned on KR's blog roll....hmm.) By the way, I love Survey Monkey so much that I'm going to make up an LROD survey for all you mice to give back some feed. (Does anyone want to be on the Survey Monkey Committee?) Please submit survey questions about LROD in the comments section below.  Here are a few to get us started:
  1. How many literary rejections can you honestly boast?
  2. What's your social security number and mother's maiden name?
  3. What's your agent's name?
  4. C'mon, we can't all have Binky Urban....what's your real literary agent's name?
  5. Do you really have a literary agent; or are you just floating the dream?
  6. How many times (a day) do you visit LROD? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspiration Tuesday

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For What It's Worth, There's This Book

Sorry I'm so late to post tonight. Some goober at work was so late on his deadline that he messed up my perfect evening. I had toiled all weekend to make sure that I hit today's EOD (that's ass speak for "end of day," btw) deadline, so I would have part of the day and all of the evening clear.  Get this: Goober sends me an email at 6:15 and asks if he can call me in an hour to discuss the changes that I'll need to make based on the changes he finally got his lazy ass done with! He (and everyone else in the agency) was supposed to get changes to me last night, so I could stay up all night just for, you know, good measure.  Oy.  Sometimes I really hate the other humans; disorganized as goats, they are. That said, here's a book that has nothing to do with this rant, but everything to do with rejection. I don't know if it's any good, but there's a list of these kinds of books over at Laura Resnick's blog. And here's the author's own description of the book:
This is a collection of columns and essays I've written for various publishing trade journals on living and working as a professional novelist. Using anecdotes from my own career and the experiences of dozens of writers who shared their stories with me, the book explores creative and professional strategies and adventures, surviving numerous publishing mishaps, what it's really like to do book signings and public appearances, and many other topics.
Here's the fancy blurb she managed to snag: "Laura Resnick's witty comments on the struggles a writer faces in today's world of publishing are refreshingly insightful. A welcome voice in an often solitary profession." —Jean Auel, author of Clan of the Cave Bear

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pls Cut the Crap

Here are some lesser-known editing symbols for those of you revising your manuscripts on this lovely Monday. Hope they help.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday's Child is Full of Larger Scale Connections

This came via email for me from the young minion of an editor-in-chief at a publishing house where the policy is 16-20 weeks to read your precious tome. In case, anyone cares or wants to keep track, it took 9 months, in which time we all could have given birth to human life. Anyhoo, I guess my book didn't wow anybody there. I particularly love the final note that the rejection was sent on behalf of himself....the king. Cracks me up that the court jester, who was probably also the court reader and rejecter, added that little note.  Here's the rejection:
Thank you for sending [Title of a Collection of Published Essays]. After having read it, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. I thought you have a good narrative voice and some interesting stories to tell, but I ultimately didn’t feel the larger scale connection readers would need to have with these personal essays to be able to project them onto their own lives. Sorry this didn’t work for me, but thanks again for the look, and best of luck with your writing. Best, Editor In Chief (Sent on his behalf)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's All Just Peanuts

Just a quick note to let you know Agent 99 is in Frankfurt at the Book Fair, but we have a date to meet at the end of October to discuss state of my novel: whether to work on it more or send it out. It'll be interesting to meet with her in person. I also can't help but think of all the time I could spend working on it now, but, you know, one thing you learn early about publishing is that you have no control over the time-frame, or over anything else for that matter.  So I'm just going to buckle in and go for the ride.  Oh, and, also, I'm starting to talk a lot about the new book that I'd started researching this winter.  I think that one is coming back strong to lift me out of my shoes and give me something to do.  Lucky me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just Didn't Grab

Writer Jim avoided all the common problems from the slush pile, according to this annoying form check-off letter. His piece was nicely written with a strong distinct voice with intriguing characters! But it just didn't grab the editor. Hmm? What was the editor expecting? For the story to rise off the page and pinch his ass?  Just wondering.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creamy Offer (And Not In A Good Way)

Rejecting literary magazines usually have enough sense to separate (at least by stationery pages) their rejection of your work from their bold solicitation of your becoming a subscriber.  Cream City Review (Is it just me, or is that kind of a gross name?) takes the bold step of linking their rejection of your work to the fact that you probably do not know and appreciate their "distinctive literary style," which "cannot be conveyed through a brief description."  (C'mon, really? You can't put it into words?)  Thus leading quickly and in the self-same rejection letter to the conclusion that you need to subscribe immediately to understand the complexity of the literary style in their creamy pages and to have better literary luck getting your story placed there.  Frankly, I think it's a little tacky.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Milkweed Regrets No Time for Personal Response

Nature can be fug!
Milkweed is one of the few small presses that holds a novel contest every year and publishes the winning tome.  I've never submitted my novel; I'm not sure why. I think I must have a bad childhood association to the name of the press. I confess that nature sometimes skeeves me. That said, I do think it's nice of the editors to imagine you standing in your kitchen opening up their envelope and reading the rejection you'd hoped never to see.  There's something homey in that.  Otherwise, just another standard form letter.

Friday, October 8, 2010

From The Editors of The Journal at The Ohio State University

Says the anonymous contributer of the following rejection, "Incidentally, I did not enter this contest but did submit a story to the Journal through their nifty online manager which apparently has a few kinks":
"Dear Writer: The Journal would like to thank you for submitting your story to our seventh annual short story contest judged by Lee K. Abbott. Your entry helped not only to support this contest but also supports The Journal, a diverse forum for literature that seeks to identify new and emerging talent alongside the work of established writers. The stories we received were distinctive, well-written, and moving. Our judge expressed his pleasure at how many wonderful stories there were to choose from and told us what a difficult choice it was to select just one winner. The winning story in this year’s contest is “The Summer of Interrogatory Subversion,” by Jacob M. Appel. Lee K. Abbott wrote of this story: This story meets the industry specifications I mean to champion: a brisk efficiency with exposition, dialogue of the sort heard on the streets hereabouts, interior lives messy and crosswise, scenes rich with detail of the significant sort, characters at the edge or either woe and weal, and an end sticks in the brain long after there’s anything left to read. Here’s a story with verve, shrewd observation of the species, and no interest at all in the familiar, the ordinary, or the already too-much studied. Finally, I applaud this writer’s affection for our kind, never mind how dumb or delightful we betimes are. “The Summer of Interrogatory Subversion” will be published in The Journal’s Autumn/Winter 2010 issue. Congratulations to our winner, and thank you for sharing your work with us. The Editors, The Journal, The Ohio State University, Department of English, 164 W. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

They Get You Coming and Going

Thing is, peeps, if the rejecting agents and editors don't get you, the critics and naysayers will. And maybe worse yet, your own community or your fellow/sister writers who feel like busting on your book for being too this or not enough that. It's a tough world, which is why artistic integrity is all we got. Check out what Sapphire has to say about it at Sampsonia Way Magazine. Here's a highlight:
Imagine if they had come to Kafka after The Metamorphosis and said: "Look how you depicted the Jewish family; you depicted Gregor Samsa as bug and his family as killing him. Is the family so filled with greed that they kill him once he doesn’t go to work any more?” Are artists going to bend to the dictate of a community and paint a false picture? Or, even if there is a lot of positivity within that community, don’t I get to choose my job? Suppose I wanted to spend my whole life, like Edgar Allen Poe, looking at the dark side of life? I have a right to do that. Artists can pick their subject. 
In other words stick to your little mouse guns. Also, if you haven't already, you might want to read Sapphire's other books (by now you've probably read Push, as well as having seen the movie Precious, based on the novel): American Dreams and Black Wings & Blind Angels. Power literature all the way.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cannot See Without Them

Which of you British mice were responsible stealing Jonathan Franzen's glasses at a book party and leaving a ransom note? Love it. Wish I had the balls to do something like that. You know how I feel about Franzen despite Oprah's forgiving him. Story via The Guardian.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kenyon Review

That's the problem with electronic submissions.  Or do you think the poem was titled "4 poems--see file"?  A comment on modern communication?  See file.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, Monday

Well, I'm glad someone has standard these days. What's in your wallet? Apparently not anything profane, obscene, morbid, violent or cruel to animals/humans. That's a rejection of a different color, but thought it would get us off to a good start this week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You Be The Judge

We haven't had cause for rejected story corner (RSC) in years, have we?  RSC is where all the mice come out and read short stories/literary essays that have been rejected and decide if it's worthy of publishing after all.  The whole thing was something of a flop, but I received an email that just screams of RSC revival.  Have a look:
I submitted my essay for the 'confessions' issues [of a national women's magazine]. It was a true story of a practical joke a friend and I played on my sister-in-law, that took on a life of its own. Before you judge let me say my husband's sister was a teller of really tall tales ("I'm going on tour with Joan Jett," "Revlon is offering me a contract," that sort of thing), and I decided to call her on it. As for the confession part – we never even told my husband until it was over. Our excuse was that we wanted a 'clean' man on the outside in case anything went down (ie, someone who could pass a polygraph).
My essay was rejected. I'm used to rejection. But the only essay included that month by [another] Atlanta writer was in my humble opinion stupid. The point of her essay was that she always tried to make sure she wore a necklace every day, no matter how she felt, so people would think she had it all together. Right. Now what made it ridiculous to me, was that this gal is a local columnist, owner of a boutique PR firm with high profile political clients, and is often featured in the daily rag for her happy hours with the girls. You know, how their shoes cost more than most folks monthly car note, their cocktail tab (for 4 – 6 dames) hit just under a grand, yeah, like that. Her husband is a well known local celebrity in broadcasting who, according to the newspaper, made about half a mil a year. And I'm supposed to give any part of a rodent's anatomy that she wears a necklace to give the appearance she's together?
Now I'm really not one to toot my own vuvuzuela(sp?,) but this time I thought my story much more meaningful and entertaining. And if you would like to judge for yourself, it is the first post on my blog Memoirs Of A Misanthrope, and is titled “Don't F*%k With Me.”
Is this essay worthy of publication in a national women's magazine? Thanks to The Misanthrope for sending it in.