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Friday, September 28, 2012

Pep Talk From an LROD Reader*

You shouldn't quit, or even think about it. I get twenty rejections a day. It doesn't mean anything. I write for everyone, and publish more than anyone in this country (quite literally). Also: you don't need an agent. They're the worst. I fire them routinely, when I beat them at their own job and they come in wanting some money for work they never did. (An agent has never gotten me anything--not the NY'er, the Atlantic, ESPN, 150 other places, book deals, nothing). Your book about being disowned (which prompted me to send something to the Love column thing, which was rejected) is a good idea. You can make a go of it. Pitch it up. Write a chapter or two. Share the link to the NYT thing (or just make that into a chapter; would probably take you fifteen minutes). And go straight to editors. Bosses of houses. Why not? Don't fall for what agents say. You can't approach this person, you can't approach that person. That's bollocks, so that they can maintain their parasitic existence. Go right to the EICs and head editors. You'd be surprised at the reaction. Pitch. Pitch pitch pitch. That's a good idea for a book. Really good. I am sure you could get an indie to go for it, and wouldn't be surprised if you got a major to bite, albeit, maybe, with a small advance. But good returns on the book could well lead to a bigger advance for another. Don't give up. Fuck these people. And then fuck the fuck out of them. They're frauds. They don't matter. Not in the long term, and less in the short term than anyone tends to think.
Thoughts?  Is this sage advice?  Let's hear from some industry people and editors out there: What do you think when you get a pitch from an author without an agent?  Does it mean the same thing as it used to? Is it more acceptable these days than it used to be?

*I tried to quit this blog, but now everyone's showing up with important things to share. That's okay. I can ease my way into blog retirement.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Yorker Rejection Return

I'm not really coming out of retirement, but an LROD reader sent me this rejection, which is personalized and from the New Yorker!  I had to post it. Okay, that's all.  (I'm like Cher with the false retirement announcements, right?) Peace out again:
Dear [Writer's First Name]: We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material. Many of your images, however, are quite beautiful. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it. Sincerely, The Editors

Monday, September 24, 2012


My Dearest Mice:
     Five years is a long time to go on sheer rejection; we've had a fun time. We've battled nay-sayers, trolls, and literary journal editors. We've talked back to agents and editors and publishers. We had a go at some writers.  Someone even included us in his novel!  They all came around, wanting to be part of this weird blog that got bigger than I ever thought possible.
     Luckily or unluckily, my luck hasn't changed over the past 5 years. I am still mostly getting rejected. To wit, just a few days ago my agent wrote back to say he didn't think the new point-of-view in my novel was working at all. Long and short, on first read, he didn't really like the novel.  That leaves me exactly where?  I'm not sure. But I'm glad I get to share this final rejection with you today.
     And do you know why? Do you know what today is, micycles?
     Today is the last day of Literary Rejections On Display (LROD).
     I'm packing it in for now. I think it is high time to start pursuing a career that leads to acceptance and love, not rejection and snarkiness. Does that mean I will stop being a writer?  Who can say?  I will try to stop being a writer, but it probably won't stick.  I have tried to stop being a writer in the past many times. It is a kind of scare tactic I use on myself when I'm sick of myself, if you know what I mean. But maybe this time it's for real.
   Of course LROD will stay up. You can search the archives in a number of different ways, and if you ever find yourself googling "literary rejection" you will no doubt end up here. I have loved and hated you and this blog and my own rejections, which ultimately led to your rejections getting posted. These days, plenty of writers and bloggers post their own rejections on their own blogs, and I hope the secret shame of getting rejection has been lightened a little by the work we have done together here.
     I do promise and vow to you, though, that if anything significant of mine ever gets published (say, my novel, short-story collection, book of essays, or non-fiction book), I will post the cover here and reveal my true identity, not that it will really matter, but many of you have asked. Until then, know that I am doing my thing elsewhere...whatever and wherever that may be.
     Until then, be nice to one another. There are enough asses in the world already.
     I wish you all the best in everything.
     Peace out, for now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What Does Keep AGNI Fresh?

From: "AGNI" Date: September 4, 2012 Subject: Your submission to AGNI 

Dear Writer's Name: Thank you for sending "Title of Story." Your work received careful consideration here. We've decided this manuscript isn't right for us, but we wish you luck placing it elsewhere. 

Kind regards, The Editors 

P.S. Without submissions like yours, we'd lose the sense of discovery that keeps AGNI fresh. Please click here for a discounted subscription rate offered as a thank-you to our submitters:

Friday, September 14, 2012

From Horrible to Hopeful

I have been in ye old hospital with a family member all week via ye old emergency room. But since I've been away from LROD all week, a few interesting items have popped up. First: my agent doesn't like my novel.  (Horrible, I know.) Nothing to say.  I love him and I appreciate his honesty.  I also love my novel.  So where does that put me? Second: I am really hoping he likes the new book proposal and chapters of my nonfiction book. (Hopeful.) I will keep you ever posted.

Monday, September 3, 2012