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Friday, February 28, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Thanks for giving me a peek at [title of manuscript]. I think it's clear that you're a wonderful writer, and I like the energy of your emails. But it comes down to this: In the end, I just didn't get the tingles about this one. And in this ultra-tough marketplace, I've got to be head over heels in love with something in order to take it on. I'm sorry I don't have better news, but I'm glad to hear you have others looking at it, and I hope someone falls in love with it soon. Best of luck, and take care. Regards, DanielleGood news: someone else did, and it's going to be a book in November. Suck on that, fizzle.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Not long ago, I entered a novel contest and received some comments from the judges. There were three judges offering critiques. Above is some of what the third judge had to say. Here's my question:Whatever happened to settling in and letting things evolve? Do you really need to know everything on the first few pages...this isn't facebook, is it? Oy.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Update: I changed it back to the original.
Monday, February 17, 2014
I've been compiling a list of people in the great big publishing world who rejected my novel along the way during the past 15 years of my trying like a dog to get it published. In the end, despite all the snarkiness I have proffered on this blog since June 2007 (hiatus notwithstanding), I probably should thank them. At the very least, I've been meaning to count them. There were professionals who offered good advice, professionals who said the project wasn't ready and I should keep working on it (which turned out to be true) and even the fine clueless folks who scratched their head at my efforts and simply stepped aside while I continued on my long march to publication, now scheduled for November 2014.
I am grateful to the first 50+ rejecting agents/editors/contest judges.* Also hats off to their unnamed hired-hands, assistants and slaves who rejected the book in their names so they didn't have to waste time doing it themselves. Seriously, you are all now part of my story, and maybe I wouldn't have ever gotten here if you hadn't encouraged me, pissed me off, blew me off, or said a sincerely kind word to me:
Agents: Joe Veltre, Charlotte Sheedy, Marly Rusoff, Danielle Chiotti, Bill Contardi, Andrea Barzvi, Elisa Petrini, Priscilla Gillman, Tim Seldes, Ira Silverberg, Susan Ginsburg, Kate Garrick, Julie Barer, Emily Stewart, Mitchell Waters, David Vigliano, Secret Agent Man, Geri Thoma, Douglas Stewart, Christy Fletcher, Kimberly Whalen, Joy Harris, Jill Grinberg, Emma Swinney, Heide Lange, Leigh Ann Elisio, Xanthe Tabor, Amy Williams, Alexia Paul, Kim Witherspoon, Lily Oei, Betsy Nolen, Warren Frazer, Molly Kleinman, Emma Perry, Emily Fletcher, Deanna Handel, Daria Finch, Jane Dystel, Wendy Sherman, Sarah Chalfant, Gail Hochman, Elizabeth Schneiderman, Dan Lazar, Sarah Crowe, Laurie Liss, Michelle Tessler, Erin Hosier, Francis Goldin, Sam Stoloff, Elizabeth Winick, Jenny Bent, Jennifer Jackson*These are the ones I could find quickly. There are more rejections than this, lady and germs; so I will keep looking and add to the list.
The novel didn't make it to as many publishing houses given the problem I had with agents (see above), but here are some editors who rejected it:
Editors: Paul Elie, Anton Meuller, Becky Saletan, Regan Arthur, Julia Serebrinsky, Beth Adams, Kathy Pories, Daisy Hutton, Ami McConnell, Chuck Adams, Lauren Wein, Tin House Books, McSweeney Books, AWP contest (x5), Softskull books, Tuscany Press, Counterpoint press, (there are three more specific editors, but I can't find the rejections....will keep looking)Finally, here's to the few kind souls who took the book on for a while, tried to hold my hand or make me see how to fix it, passed it to someone else with all good intentions, or generally tried really hard not to reject the book, inevitable though it was in the end.
Non-rejectors*: Diane Bartoli, Bill Clegg, Leigh Feldman, Kirsten Magnes, Claudia Ballard, Henry Williams, Nan Talese, Ginger Barber.*Three of these good-hearted people actually tried to get the book published.
Thank you all for your consideration and for the occasion of this blog, which has kept me in great company and I have been told offers hope to others.*
*Though seriously if you can do something other than write fiction (anything else!)--it's a dying art!--step away quickly and do not look back.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
fine New York editor, Rosemary Ahern, it was sparked by this first rejection. From there I wended my way with many a fictional tale about how she was going to save my literary life by becoming my editrix extraordinaire. As I recall some of you mice thought the whole thing was a bit creepy and overblown; perhaps you were even right. But, here's a truly amazing thing: my agent suggested I get in touch with her fer-realz to help me with my novel, which wouldn't settle down. So I did just that. I paid her to read my novel and tell me how to make it work as an entity unto itself. It was an expensive phone call, but worth every single penny, because she was hugely insightful and made it really clear what the problem was and how to fix it. In short, it was a matter of cutting back the secondary and tertiary story lines, which were distracting. The reader didn't know where to focus, and the primary story and characters were getting lost. So, I cut out some serious back story, a good 40 pages if not more. And then suddenly the story began to float, the novel was working, and I started getting some traction. Shortly thereafter it was chosen for publication by a literary press. Ironically, if I wanted to I could now pick up the phone or email Rosemary Ahern directly and tell her personally that she is my Literary Valentine. But in the end, though a lot has changed, much has stayed, since I'd rather post my VD message on LROD. Happy Valentine's Day, Rosemary! You are spectacular.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
- “You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” –Ray Bradbury
- “Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.” –James Lee Burke
- “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” –Neil Gaiman
- “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.” –Barbara Kingsolver
- "Rejection slips [are not]...messages to stop, but rather tickets to the game.” –Anita Shreve
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
"How Iowa Flattened Literature" published today in the Chronicle of Higher Education is a hot mess and yet kind of fascinating. I'm not even sure I understand where it *is* going, even though author Eric Bennett writes in the middle of it, in his super confiding tone, "I'm sure you can see where this is going." Also, confusing: the the article seems to be a mash-up of a personal essay about being a student at the Iowa Workshop published in an anthology entitled MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of Fiction in America and the author's new historical book entitled, Empire of Workshop, about the CIA and communism at the heart of the prestigious MFA program's inception. The latter is published by guess who? University of Iowa Press. So, it is a criticism? Anyway, though I have my own set of torturous topics, I am glad the cold war and questions of greatness are not among them. Check it out.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Friday, February 7, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
If I had to tally my lifetime earnings for my creative writing over these few decades of my time here on earth, it would add up to about $44,000.00, and I'm counting a local library poetry prize from my long-ago youth. So that is an actual lifetime tally. The sad thing is, I am surprised by how much it is; not bad for a hack! By the way, has anybody seen that one 1099 from that company with the funny name? I can't find it all of sudden. How is it that papers can evaporate like that into thin air? It's disturbing.
Anyone else care to share their lifetime total earnings for creative writing? I don't tend to egg-on blog comments, but I thought that might be an interesting thread.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
an article with some other thoughts for your consideration. In my opinion, there is plenty of room in the world for more psychiatrist/detectives!
Monday, February 3, 2014
Speaking of chick lit, my book cover is going to be bright pink. However, it has a large type treatment of the title taking up all of the cover. The publisher wanted it so because "mostly only men get bold type treatment covers." The above is the one that comes to mind: no comparison intended, of course.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
I just read this New Yorker article about Jennifer Weiner's complaints concerning how her books are (mis)treated. She makes a noble and worthy argument on the state of books by women, which are ignored and often belittled, but then slightly confuses matters by comparing apples to oranges. No one is in fact comparing her to Chaucer, nor should they, and elite male authors do often seem to be held in esteem as if they were the father of poetry himself, which is irritating, misguided, and often absurd. But there are different categories of fiction in the world, and to make an accurate comparison of a commercial fiction book with a literary fiction book is not necessarily a cogent argument for gender inequality. Wouldn't Weiner do much better to insist on parity with the likes of Stephen King or Dan Brown--she should be treated like those highly successful, very good, male writers of commercial fiction. She should be compared favorably in the category in which she writes, and c'mon, of course she should be reviewed in the New York Times Book Review! To ignore her is ridiculous. But why maudlin Franzen would even occur as her likely comparator is a mystery to me. Your thoughts on the matter?