Romance By Catherine: Let's talk Rejections!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let's talk Rejections!

Ohhh... the dreaded 'R'! Do we really want to talk about rejections. Getting the Dear John letter from an agent, editor or publisher?

Yes, yes we do!

Harlequin recently held a week long event labeled, So You Think You Can Write, or as we on the HQN forums call it, SYTYCW. During this week long event wanna be HQN writers were able to take a deeper look at what the editors over at HQN wanted to see in a query letter, a synopsis and in the actual manuscripts that pack in their in-boxes and mail room. It was a very valuable learning tool for any new and even seasoned author to attend. If you missed this event, never fear, the forums are still there for you to go back and read. My guess is the questions you have will have been asked by someone else so go on over and take a look by clicking this link HERE.

All that said, the final challenge in the SYTYCW gig was for everyone to send a synopsis and a first chapter to the editors via e-mail (something HQN doesn't do) and they would respond by January 31st. Yesterday, the rejections started pouring out. When several aspiring authors receive rejections at the same time, the topic is hammered. So here I am, hammering the rejection process.

Rejections are a badge of honor folks. It means you've written something and had the courage to send it to someone to read and either smile or toss in the trash. Ouch, that toss in the trash thing hurts. But I ask you, dear author with a pile of rejections sitting on your desk, have you ever read a book and thought... UGH, what a waste of money that was? Of course you have. In this subjective world of fiction many a book has been loved by one and hated by another.

A couple of years ago, in my quest to find a publisher for Binding Vows *Top 100 seller in Amazon Time Travel for more weeks than I can count* I sent out queries to publishers and agents to the tune of maybe 25 queries. Not that many really... but the rejections came in. Then I read an article in RWA magazine about The Wild Rose Press. Rhonda, the goddess of TWRP stated that they responded to every query personally and if they request a partial they would give feedback even if they rejected your book. So, what the heck did I have to loose? Next thing I know I have a revise, resub request and off I went... It took some time but my finished product was worth it.

Publication is a journey and the only real difference between a published author and a non published author is persistence.

And one more cliche for the road... If you toss enough shit against the wall, something is going to stick! Keep writing and subbing, everywhere... with agents, publishers etc. Rejections don't sting as hard after you've had a dozen or three or five.


Kaye Manro said...

Well said, Catherine! While it may be true that rejections don't sting as hard if you have a few publishing credits under belt, still rejection just goes with the writing experience. We all have to suffer them, learn from them, move on and submit again. As you say, the shit will stick sometimes!

Julia Broadbooks said...

I won't say I wasn't disappointed buy my SYTYCW rejection (you wouldn't believe that anyway), but I gained so much from the experience that I'm not at all filled regrets.

Catherine Bybee said...

Hi Kaye, long time no see. It does stick some times, which is a very good thing!

Julia: This is a business for publishers, and if every author looked at the whole thing with a business mind, they might not be so torn up about a rejection. Thanks for stopping by.

Emma Lai said...

Great post! I like the comment that "Rejections are a badge of honor."

Catherine Bybee said...

Feel free to quote me, Emma. LOL

Angel Martinez said...

Brava, Catherine! The old saw is true, no doubt about it - a writer with no rejections is an unpublished writer.

The first time hurts the worst, sort of like your first heartbreak. You feel the same bewilderment and loss of self-worth. You sit on the kitchen floor and cry. What? You didn't? I'm the only one who did that? *shrugs* Oh, well. But after that, you get up and keep going and the rejections become useful.

Always something new to learn.

Eliza March said...

I'm okay with rejections for many reasons.
1. If the publisher has just contracted a story similar to mine
2. If the agent is already representing someone who writes similar stories to mine
3. If the publisher has several authors under contract who write the same genre
4. If they give me a reasonable reason and an example of an author's work that I can look at to compare.

I don't expect a critique, but I want more than "no" answer, more than "it's not working for me" or "paranormals are out this year."

Eliza ;-)