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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Philosophy

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. --Walt Disney

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday's Philosophy

We pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free. --Tom Robbins

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Waiting For Readers

I don't know about you but I find waiting is one of the hardest things about being a writer. I want to get my final revision to Agent 99, but I am having a little focus group first by asking 5-6 readers who've never seen my novel read it fresh to make sure it does what I want it to do.  Then, I'll ask the new readers a ton of questions. Then, I'll make changes as necessary. Then, I'll send the book off to the agent.  However, waiting for people to read something you've written is pretty unbearable. For a while I thought: Okay, so it's not very enticing, the subject matter isn't compelling, and even my writing can't hold their attention.  Then I realized people are just busy.  I got this back from one of the readers: "I am on page 87 of your novel and I must say it is very good. I thought I might not be interested in it because it is not usually the kind of books I read. I got hooked. You are a very good writer and I expect to read the entire book."  Well, so that's a calming note.  We'll see.  I wish people would read more quickly, but it's Memorial Day weekend, so I might as well chill.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Change of Pace

What if I have a change of heart and only post literary acceptance letters? This extraordinary one says:  "Dear Lee: As I go through The Files, getting the material together for the next issue of Great Works-- I come across some pieces of paper, that are, yes, your poems sent in to me, and duly put aside by me (I'll reply tomorrow I suspect I thought). I am sure I didn't reply tomorrow (I am a desperately appalling correspondent).  Well, I would, actually, like to publish probably most of what you have sent me, if you would still want this, after I really have no idea how long. Is that OK?" Love everything about it, especially the creative grammar, tone, and verb tense. A+

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blessed Little Monster

Here's an interesting story about a book's journey from rejection to best seller list to the silver screen from the author's perspective.  Thought it might offer some hope for your own big-headed monstrous child of a novel.  Mine is being read by a bunch of people who haven't seen it before just to make sure it all make sense. Then off to the agent by the end of the month. As for me, I'm swinging in the trees: sometimes I think I've finally done it; sometimes I think all is lost. Oh, well. Part of the process, right? Shall we start praying now?

Friday, May 20, 2011

There is No Rejection to End All Rejections

As someone commented here recently, it would be nice to be accepted. But, alas, rejection is an age-old fact for the writer.  This one is from 1936, predating even WWII, the war that truly modernized and changed the world.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

At the Moment...Not Right

It says: "Many thanks for the opportunity to consider your submission. I'm afraid I'm passing on our regrets--we don't feel that it's right for HarperCollins at the moment, and I am therefore returning it to you.  Nevertheless, thanks again for the chance to consider it, and best wishes for your writing. Yours sincerely, the ASSISTANT"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Delighting in Rejecting You

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jub Jub bird
And shun the frumious bandersnatch!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Calling All Modern Love Rejects

Got a note from the nice peeps over at the aptly named Modern Love Rejects blog in case you have a hankering to post the piece Daniel Jones at the New York Times rejected. (That column is tired anyway.) They have posted some nice work over there.  Take a gander.  Here's the note I received:
Hello Fellow Reject, I write you from our new website Modern Love Rejects. We post the essays not nearly good enough for the NY Times Modern Love column. I couldn't help but notice that you, too, have been rejected by Modern Love three times (as have my co-founder, Kiri and I) Would you care to share one of your essays with us. We'd love to have you. Rejects must stick together! Yours, Samara
This is where hungry agents should go trolling for talent.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Always A Speculative Day A Way

This one is hilarious. It says: Dear Michael: Thank you for showing me "The D--d." Although it was generally consistent, and often clever, it was not quite right for Tomorrow's audience. Working for that audience can, sometimes, b e pretty tricky.  I'm sorry. It seemed to have an ending that meant something to you, but didn't quite make it with me. Your spelling is more or less bad. So is your attempt at copyediting. Can you start doing something about that?  Send me something else, please. You're Good. Best, Algis Burdys

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

A Facebook Page where agents can meet new writers? I suspect that is an agent's worst nightmare! Confession: I only ever "unfriended" one person and that was an agent who quit the business on me. I used to hate to see her all chummy with other clients and with me not so much.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Speaking of New Yorker Rejections

This would be refreshing, but I don't think it's real. The New Yorker editors are too genteel for such crude language, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Because We're So Warm and Fuzzy

This really cracked me up. Who said the editors at the famed magazine were a bunch of cold-hearted douches? Best regards to you too, esteemed sirs and madams. Best regard to you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

1,983 Rejections: 3 Acceptances

Mary Bennett of Portland, Oregon has an installation of interest to us at 23 Sandy Gallery on May 20th. According to the promo material, the artists "examines the personal qualities of perseverance, deliberation, consistency and belief that were possessed by one woman, a poet and a dedicated writer. The unknown, anonymous poet believed in herself so much that she sent out 1,986 submissions to literary journals from 1973 to 1978, all recorded on yellowed and tattered index cards. As the cards document, she received 1,983 rejections and only three acceptances. Her dedication is the inspiration for Mary Bennett’s exhibition, which includes the found index cards, which will cover the gallery walls plus a re-creation of the poet’s imagined writing studio." Can't find a link to the show yet, so I'll keep looking and add, so everyone can read the rejections.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In the Fantasy Version, Mazur Says "Yes"

Dear Author: Thank you for submitting your story to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but I’m going to pass on it. This story couldn’t hold my interest, I’m afraid. Good luck to you with this one, and thanks again for sending it our way. Sincerely, Stephen Mazur, Assistant Editor                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Other Words...No

Cannot use it at this time•Didn’t pique my interest•Didn’t strike a chord•Doesn’t meet our needs•Doesn’t fit our plans•Have to pass on this•Isn’t resonating with me•Isn’t something we’d like to pursue•No room for more clients•Not a right fit•Not exactly what we’re looking for•Not for usNot suitable for us•Not quite right for this publication•We are not enthusiastic enough about this work•We are not certain we could be effective in placing your work•We are not right for your work•We do not have a place for this