Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rejection

. "Your attitude is everything. Believe in yourself and trust your material. To be a successful writer, write every single day whether you feel like it or not. Never, never give up, and the world will reward you beyond your wildest dreams." - Alex Haley

When you're a writer, published or not, you have to deal with rejection. A lot of rejection. And the thing that's rejected is your baby, your manuscript. The thing you've slaved and angsted over for months, even years.

Most days its water off a duck's back. The agent/editor/publisher said no, you accept that and move on. Business is, after all, business. But somedays it can be really hard. Sometimes it really grates and it can be difficult to keep on believing in yourself and your work.

Lately I've been reading Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, and a lot of the stories revolve around rejection. I think writers, by nature, are thin-skinned. We have to be. How else can we conjure up our characters and view the world through their eyes if we don't absorb the situations and emotions around us like a sponge. But this thinned-skinned-ness means we take our set backs to heart.

HOWEVER

When I read stuff like this, somehow it makes the rejections so much easier...

Fifteen publishers and thirty agents turned down John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill. More than sixty million copies of his novels are now in print.

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Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Cait,
I found your post interesting. Gee, John Grisham must have really believed in himself.
I hope I don't have that many rejections. lol.
But as you said persistance, perserverance, patience and proficiency are the key words. Putting ones butt on the chair and writing, writing and writing.
Off I go then. I am planning to undertake my own NaNoWriMo in February. :)

Rachael Blair said...

Cait - what an inspiring bit of info!!! Thanks!

And Suz - a group of us that did NaNo from Romaus are planning Aussie Nano Romance Style in June...

Sami said...

There's also a story about the book 'First Wives Club' by Olivia Goldsmith, which of course was made into a major Hollywood movie. It was rejected by 26 different publishers before it was finally accepted. From memory some of those rejections were very, very cruel as well - anything from 'this is boring' to 'nobody wants to read about divorced, middle aged women' (dare I wonder if that was a man??). Olivia is of course now a multi-published, highly successful author, and there are also a lot of books out there featuring divorced women, come to think of it. Not all agents/publishers/editors have the nouse or foresight we give them credit for.

I think in romance publishing that we're very lucky rejections tend toward the perky side, nothing so demoralising as 'your book is boring' - at least not for me. The worst I've ever gotten is a one paragraph slip that boiled down to: 'not suitable for any of our lines'. Incidentally that was for Born Again Virgin, the letter came from Harlequin. Turned out someone else thought the book was suitable, so I'm glad I didn't chuck it in the drawer (well, I did for about a year before I took it back out).

Cheers,
Sami

Sami said...

There's also a story about the book 'First Wives Club' by Olivia Goldsmith, which of course was made into a major Hollywood movie. It was rejected by 26 different publishers before it was finally accepted. From memory some of those rejections were very, very cruel as well - anything from 'this is boring' to 'nobody wants to read about divorced, middle aged women' (dare I wonder if that was a man??). Olivia is of course now a multi-published, highly successful author, and there are also a lot of books out there featuring divorced women, come to think of it. Not all agents/publishers/editors have the nouse or foresight we give them credit for.

I think in romance publishing that we're very lucky rejections tend toward the perky side, nothing so demoralising as 'your book is boring' - at least not for me. The worst I've ever gotten is a one paragraph slip that boiled down to: 'not suitable for any of our lines'. Incidentally that was for Born Again Virgin, the letter came from Harlequin. Turned out someone else thought the book was suitable, so I'm glad I didn't chuck it in the drawer (well, I did for about a year before I took it back out).

Cheers,
Sami