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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trolling Around Book Stores to Get Readings

The thing about trying to get a reading at a book store when you happen to walk into one and fall instantly in love is that you cannot really be shy. You have to be bold. Last night in a beautiful bookstore in Los Angeles, where I happen to be for a week due to my spouse (a playwright) having a play that is in auditions here, I screwed up my courage. What I actually did was leave my Fisher Space Pen as a calling card, since the woman who does the bookings had earlier admired the one my spouse was using. Then I sent a follow up email with all my fantastical blurbs and an ask for a reading.  It's bold, but someone's got to do it. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who Doesn't Love A Guy Who Says His Life Was Changed By A Box of Donuts?

Check out this cool TEDx Talk from Austin called "Surprising Lessons from 100 Days of Rejection: Jia Jiang." It's especially great to watch if you've ever gone after a dream and been crushed by a rejection letter, and I know you have been.  He talks about a game called Rejection Therapy, in which he went around and intentionally got 100 rejections by asking for crazy things.  Most people said no when he asked for something ridiculous, but some people said yes and some people on this planet, you have to admit, mice, are pretty damn cool. He reminds us today that the higher you go, the closer you get to your dreams, the more you will get rejected. You can read more about his experience on his blog, his facebook page, his twitter account.  Also, I think I ❤ this guy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This is One Historic and Prestigious Rejection, Lad

I was going to say something snarky about being rejected by an undergrad lit magazine run by a bunch of undergrads, but thought I'd check it out first.  Good thing.  Did you know that Stylus is Boston College’s largest undergraduate literary and art magazine? I did not know that.  According to BC's English Department page of publishing opportunities, Stylus was founded in 1882. That's a long time ago and a lot of rejection, Mice.  It is in fact the oldest club at Boston College and one of the oldest collegiate literary magazines. It is also a completely student-run publication.  Thus, today's rejection is a piece of fine rejection history.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blurb, Blurb, Blurb...Drowing in Strong Emotions

I'm feeling overwhelmed and lucky. You guys are never going to guess who just gave me the BEST blurb a new novel can have.  I'll give you a hint: It's someone we know here at LROD, which is my only connection to the guy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What Happens to all the Words That Die in The Process of Writing a Novel?

This morning my shirinkydoo (whom I'll call Mini-Freud) seemed disgruntled. I asked him, "What's up? How are you feeling?"* This led to a long drawn out discussion about me, of all things, about how I'm doing with my forthcoming novel. November still seems a long way off, but by the end of this month, the final edited, the publisher's proof and the layout of the book will be put to bed, which means no more final fantastical blurbs, no more changes, no more holding it close to my chest. Not ever again. It is done, ready for sailing.

What came up as I was saying all this to Mini-Freud was somewhat surprising, at least to me.  That is, a great wave of sadness rose up and appeared in written words, not water. All these written words were the ones that didn't make it into the final book. Discarded scene after discarded scene, and back story after detail, all of which have been cut from the novel, and they washed over me, and I felt a sense of enormous grief. How is it that all these beloved words, these hundreds of pages, which did their duty in service to building the little boat that is my novel, are now gone, erased, their work complete? What happens to the unused writing when the little vessel floats out there on its own? It's just a slim volume compared to all that has been written in it and as it over the years to get to this very launching? How will it do on its own without the support of every single left-behind thought, word, image, metaphor, and scene that helped to create it? All those words that only I know about.  What if those are the words that justify the novel as being worthy of reading?

Mini-Freud suggested in his gentle way that perhaps I am grieving all the choices not taken in my own life, all the options passed by on the way toward realizing my one impermanent, imperfect, fragile life.  He said, "To actualize anything, especially a life, we leave a lot of dreams behind, don't we?" Ah, Mini-Freud, how wise you are.  Ah, novel, I hope you have a safe, adventuresome, and long journey into the world without too many storms. Sail boldly in the name of all the words that have drown in your honor.

*Or maybe I was feeling disgruntled and he asked me how I was feeling? I always know who's who in there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Y.A. Rejection of Yore from the InterWebs

Time may change the equipment on which these bastard rejections are written, but it doesn't change the content much, does it? I found this modern classic while surfing the InterWebs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blurb Ettiquette: Amazing response from a cold-call email to a famous, favorite writer

Got a new blurb on Sunday from someone I do not even know, whose intelligent read brought a tear to my eye. This was an extremely nice woman who responded to my cold email request.  This alone makes me have faith that all is not lost in this publishing world: kindness among writers exists! While thinking about blurbs this weekend, I came across this fun post over at Ward Six, when it was still up and running (closed in 2011).  Here are some of my favorite interpretations:
"luminous prose" = too many goddam words
"a tour-de-force" = threw it across the room
"a triumph" = huge advance
"a commanding new voice in fiction" = girlfriend's brother wrote it
"sublime" = didn't know what the hell was going on
"achingly beautiful" = really long sentence 
"radiant" = already been blurbed by people more famous than me
 Luckily the blurb I got was very original.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Douglas College Review Shall Reject You Too

I love a good form rejection letter with an exclamation point.  It is fresh and speaks of youth. At least this editor invites you to come back again with new material.  That is nice.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Snoop Dog....I Feel Your Pain, Bro

I remember the days of sending out stories to literary journals and magazines and waiting around to see if my particular work was going to "fit the needs of the publication."  My odds were about 30:1 for a long time.  After I got some good publications under my belt and won a couple of prizes, I stopped sending stuff out.  I got caught up in writing the novel, which was a much bigger undertaking, and I pretty much stopped sending stuff out.  Once in a while, I'd write an essay and send it out.  But after I had an entire collection of published stories (nobody wanted as a book) and an entire collection of published essays (nobody wanted as a book), I pretty much gave up on that whole enterprise.  It's a discouraging business, but as Alan Ginsberg says: “To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” True. So true.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Dear Author"...Even The Literary Assistant to the Literary Agent Will Reject You.....

We've all been rejected by literary agents, but how many of us have been rejected by literary assistants? (Probably all of us.) I once worked as a literary assistant, and I once rejected a lot of you under the name of the actual agent. That was old school practice. Now the assistants get their own letter head? Well, good for them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Remember the Days of the S.A.S.E.?

As I recall from the old days, agents and editors were always losing prepaid envelopes and refusing to send back manuscripts. That was back in the day when the U.S. Post Office ruled. (You probably wouldn't understand.) However, before my time, it appears that the editors were the offending parties.  In this 1922 rejection follow-up, the editor of Love Story Magazine is returning twenty-six cents in postage to the author, who wrote a letter of complaint. Now that is quaint.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Did This Rejecting Editor Just Tell This Writer to Grow Up? That Ain't Right....

With all the talk these days for and against YA books, it seems to me that this author is taking his/her life in his/her hands. It says:  "I'd like to see something grown up." Editors are always telling writers what they'd like to see. I think it's playing with fire to do so, unless you really know the writer, or really know what you are talking about.  One time, an agent really messed me up with her "idea" about what my novel should be. Another time I let an editor I trust very much line-edit the voice right out of my novel. I learned some hard lessons. Mostly it's best to be edited by someone who LOVES your work. Here, I think I wouldn't send more work to this person, who doesn't like kid narrators or teenage subject matter. I personally think the comment is pretty insulting. Then again, sometimes it's hard to pass up an editor who asks to see more of your work. What would you do?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Does This Author Have Low Self Esteem, Or What?

Someone posted their lit rejection thusly online. But I do believe the big red "You're Rubbish" notation was from the author (being mean to herself), not the rejecting editor.  But that's just a guess. I suppose it is slighlty possible that editors are more aggressive than ever.  Certainly, that would be rather refreshing.