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rejection letters

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Lavender, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Never give up! Never surrender!
     
  2. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

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    Did anyone happen to see Castle on Monday? For those who are unfamiliar, it's about a famous novel writer who follows a police detective around to get inspiration for his crime stories (he gets away with it because he's close friends with the mayor).

    Anyway, his daughter is having a tough time because she got rejected from something important to her (I won't spoil it), and she asks him how he can stand to have his first-ever rejection letter prominently displayed on his office wall. He tells her it's to remind him what he overcame or something to that effect, and then he says this:

    "Rejection isn't failure. Failure is giving up."

    Anyway, just thought I'd share, as it seemed appropriate for this thread. :)
     
  3. dean

    dean New Member

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    My 1st rejection letter was pithy and ridiculously hyperbolic with the publisher's best wishes and whatnot. I felt that the man was either insane or on drugs to reject what I thought at the time was one of the greatest fictional works of our time. I have that load of slop lying in a drawer somewhere (my book, not the letter).
     
  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I was going to start a new topic, but I saw this already existed sort of. So I wanted to add this on to maybe get some new discussion going.

    While self-publishing has definitely decreased the amount of rejection in the publishing field now, a lot of people are still interested in going the traditional route. In this case, how do you usually handle rejection?

    1. Do you get angry and assume the publisher just doesn't get what you're writing?

    2. Do you use the rejection as inspiration to get better?

    3. Do you completely give up on traditional publishing?

    4. Do you essentially ignore the rejection and just keeping writing the same way in hopes that it'll click with some publisher?

    5. Do you not bother even sending anything out because nothing you write meets your own high standards?

    6. Something else?

    I would say I've done a bit of all of the above in the past.

    1. When I was young.
    2. More often than not now
    3. Haven't given up on traditional publishing yet because I haven't given it much of chance.
    4. I never ignore rejection personally. I use it in some facet.
    5. I would say this is my biggest problem so far.

    Anyone else have thoughts about this?
     
  5. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    Always #2 because after a few months break, I can see that the piece of work in question could be better with more work.

    Once I've developed my writing further, I'm guessing it'll become more like #4. Many things get rejected a few times before someone takes them on (though I'm guessing they still edit between that.)

    Currently I'm only submitting short stories to anthologies though. I'm #5 with any novel I'm partway through completing.

    While I have respect for those who self-publish (because goodness that must be hard and dedication is required) I'm only interested in the traditional route. I live for the day I get accepted by a publishing house. That's my aim, and I can't wait to get there.
     
  6. #4. At this point, the only thing I'm submitting is short fiction to markets that qualify for SFWA membership. I have three stories in circulation at the moment; I've made six total submissions and gotten three rejections. I'm also self-publishing some short stories, and publishing other short stories for free on my blog. The idea is to attack on all fronts at once, and build up enough material that it looks professional enough that people will think it's professional, and read it, and say "Wow! How professional!" and then recommend it to their friends. Eventually there will be revenue, followed shortly by harems of dancing girls and palaces made of solid gold.

    The first rejection hurt a lot; the second one a lot less; the last one I barely blinked and immediately went to the next market on the list and submitted the story there. My plan is to get enough stories in circulation that eventually one of them gets sold, which, statistically speaking, may take a year or two, but that's okay. I'm in this for the long haul.

    Several years ago I wrote a few short fiction stories (all SF, in fact) and submitted one or two of them. They got rejected. After only one or two rejections I gave up, because it was disheartening; I thought my writing was really good! and I couldn't understand why those fools at mumble mumble mumble wouldn't want to publish it. (This was before I learned that Stephen King got rejected hundreds of times before selling a story.)
     
  7. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    For me it's #5 all the way... it takes several cycles of leaving something sit for a month or two and then coming back to it to polish before I'm finally pleased with it, and by then my writing style is fairly different from when I started. So far only short stories though, I haven't quite written a novel all the way through to an ending
     
  8. Vanya

    Vanya Dreamer

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    For those who have work published by a publisher, have you received rejection letters for your second book? I planned on making mine a series and wondered what I have to look forward if I decide to go to a publisher rather than self-publish.
     
  9. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    Generally if you're writing a series, you tell the publisher that when submitting your first book and they accept the series as a whole once they've seen a series plan, synopsis and so forth.

    Or have you already had your first book published by a publisher, and you're looking to going back to them with a second book?
     
  10. Vanya

    Vanya Dreamer

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    Nah, I'm procrastinating with my first book. I have the first book jitters if there is such a thing. :) I was just curious how the process could go.
     
  11. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    In that case you submit the first book, with note to say it's part of a full series. Some also submit with a synopsis and sometimes even a chapter plan, others hold back and wait for the publisher to say they're interested in seeing more :)
     
  12. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    I have questions for you all:

    I have never sent anything fictional in and have only had journalism pieces published, which requires dealing with newspaper editors rather than magazine editors or publishing etc.

    Say I finish my novel and send it to various publications. I get rejection letters. Should I try to find out why? Should I then revise it and resend it to the same people who rejected me? And should I wait a certain amount of time before doing so again?

    Thank you.
     
  13. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Here's my experience on both sides of the fence, both as a writer and as a submissions editor.

    If an editor asks to see more from you or asks you to edit your manuscript and re-send it, then do so. If they don't, then it's best you don't re-send them something they already read. I'm sure they would be fine with something new even if they didn't ask for it, but if they reject two or three manuscripts from you, it's safe to say they don't want anything you write.

    It's best to read publisher guidelines because some of the more prestigious ones don't want unsolicited manuscripts anyhow. They'll usually also list their policy on rejections and submissions. They may say "please wait six months before re-submitting to us" or "we will not contact submissions that are rejected." It depends on the volume they're getting. I notice small presses are generally better about giving detailed info regarding your manuscript. I tried to do that as much as I could when I was editing. When I noticed some writers couldn't bother to say thanks for the opportunity or questioned my judgment then I was less interested in giving feedback.

    Editing is somewhat of a thankless job in some regards. Keep in mind that they are fielding hundreds or thousands of manuscripts so it's difficult for them to give special attention to certain manuscripts. It can't hurt to ask why. Some send form letters so it's best not to ask them for more specific feedback.

    Another thing is read about their policies regarding simultaneous submissions. Some editors don't like that.
     
    Jess A likes this.
  14. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    Phil - thank you. Much appreciated.
     
  15. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    Don't know...will tell you soon as I need to submit something to fullfil an option clause. To be honest, I doubt they will reject my next work as I'm selling well and they know I have an audience and therefore will be successful with it. Whether we can agree on terms? That's another matter entirely.

    If you have a series - more likely than not they'll want to sign a multiple book deal. It is possible that once you submit your "sequel" they won't like the way you went with it - and they may cancel its publication. But then you can self-publish it and people who have bought the book from the "publisher" can still get the second book directly from you.
     
  16. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    Most rejections will come as "form rejection" that basically says...it's not for us...good luck. It's not worth bothering to ask why as they probably didn't spend more than 3 - 5 minutes on the review and just moved on. They'll not likely remember why.

    In some cases you'll get a personalized rejection - in which case they will give you feedback...in that case it is worth taking their advice and resubmtting, along with a copy of the rejection, as well as a letter indicating you addressed their concerns. It will at least get a "second look."

    It's not uncommon to submit the same work to an agent several times (say with six-months between) and in many cases they won't even remember it from before. Sometimes its just a matter of hitting them on a "good day" but the more likely scenario is if they didn't see what they wanted the first time around the chances of them being interested at a later date is unlikely.
     
  17. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I've received about four rejection letters so far for my first novel, all of which I've saved. Though I'm reconsidering sending my novel out to any more agents in the near future, because it is the first book of a duology, and I've had advice speaking against sending out the first book of a series of any size before the rest (or at least the first three of a longer-than-trilogy series) are finished. The sequel is in progress, but currently stalled on account of writer's block.
     
  18. I'm up to 9 rejections now! (All for short stories.)
     
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