Friday, September 30, 2011

Christine's Top Thirteen Reasons for Rejections

Current Project: Sharks
Status: Moving slowly but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

Christine's Top Thirteen Reasons For A Character To Be Rejected

I am intrigued by the unlucky 13 concept. And since I am floundering to write a third article on rejection I looked for a different path. What things are going to keep our characters from love. So let's see…

1. The hero is too old for the heroine

2. Hero or heroine are just too bossy

3. Age difference

4. Too serious one is no fun

5. Airhead/perhaps silliness or stupidity override everything else

6. Right place--wrong time

7. Wrong time--right place

8. Pretending to be someone you are not

9. Feuding families

10. Parents don't approve

11. Different lifestyle (cowboy vs the city girl)

12. Children

13. Animals

…feel free to add to this list.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

THE REJECTION HOTLINE--OOPS! HOW YOUR CHARACTERS HANDLE REJECTION

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: editing book #3
Posted by: Genene Valleau

OK, it's the end of the month and I've pretty much shared all the wise words I have about rejections and setbacks.


So I started to write a silly blog and began searching the Internet for ideas. In doing that, I found there is a Rejection Hotline. It's a phone number you can give out if someone doesn't understand the word "no." Or you can call it yourself or give it to friends who are bored or…


Well, I decided not to call as my sense of humor doesn't tend to fit their video, and it sounded a bit more harsh than a number I would give out to anyone. Though there have been a few obnoxious telemarketers who won't take no for an answer that this might discourage. Hmm…


But at least the Internet search gave my brain time to come up with a legitimate topic for a blog: Have your characters been rejected by someone in one of your stories? If so, how did they handle that rejection? Yep, there are probably as many answers to those questions as there are characters.


Here are a couple of mine from my LEGACY series.


Use HUMOR to deal with rejection. A secondary character in the first book has a crush on the hero. However, their one date is awkward and ends up with a guy in a gorilla suit spying on them through her window. The hero tackles the gorilla and the secondary character ends up with her own hero in one of the other series books.


Use DRAMA and a WARRANT FOR ARREST. Using a much more serious tone, the reporter heroine flirts with a guy to get information for a story. When she realizes he's dangerous, she's in too deep and he kidnaps and attempts to rape her. She escapes by using her brain and survival instincts fueled by adrenaline. The guy gets a warrant issued for his arrest.


Want to share a rejection scene from one of your stories?


P.S. If you call the Rejection Hotline, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Set Backs

Current Project: Logger in Petticoats
Status: Not as far as I should be

This past summer has been one of my longest, since writing, spells when I haven't put words to paper on a regular basis. I'm hoping once I get caught up, I can manage to get back in a rhythm.


My schedule got skewed when my daughter and six Alaskan grandchildren arrived in July. They stayed at my house for three weeks with the addition of the two Oregon grandchildren. During that time I managed to keep up with my monthly blogs, and work on getting projects ready for self-publishing, and promotion. But I was still behind. I've been running around so much between judging county fairs, promotion/signings, and ranch work that I'm still feeling behind.

This is the last week for the two contests I inadvertently signed up for not realizing they would fall at the same time. So next week, I have my sights set on getting back into Logger in Petticoats and using NANO WRIMO to finish the book. My goal is to self-publish the book in January.

I've always been my most critical adversary when it comes to getting things done on time. So while I don't have a contract that says my book must be done by January, I have an inner contract with myself that says the book will be done by January. I nearly ate myself up because Spirit of the Sky took longer than I'd "allowed" myself.

When a setback appears on my horizon I mentally kick myself in gear and try to outrun the setback, but this summer, I just plain wore out. The more I kicked myself the more tired and less enthusiastic I became about the project. If I can get the list of "to do's" out of the way, and just focus on the book, I know I could get back on track with everything writing related.

The last of my Alaskan company, while they haven't been physically living in our house have been in and out for the last two months, will be headed back home in one and a half weeks, after that, look out Hank and Kelda, your story is going to fly from my fingers!

What kind of setbacks slow your writing progress? How do you cope with them?

Paty

http://www.patyjager.net/
http://www.patyajger.blogspot.com/


Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, September 26, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 96 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 24000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 48000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 72000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 96000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 120000 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do-it-Yourself Angst Therapy for Writers

Current Project: Submissions
Status: Don't ask
The first thing you’ll need is a Reality Check Book documenting your writing kudos. This scrapbook or online document is a record you create for you own use.

Kudos may include:
  • positive comments from contest judges (nothing negative)
  • positive comments in critiques of your work
  • photos of you hanging out with writers
  • requests for you to submit your work to an agent or editor
  • positive comments on blog posts
  • shorter works that were accepted for publication in print or online (newsletter articles, short stories, etc.) (whether or not money changed hands)
  • recognition by your peers (PRO or PAN status, earning an award from your local writers group, a request for you to critique or mentor another writer, doing a speaking engagement or workshop, etc.)
  • positive reviews
  • positive sales numbers
  • your book covers

In addition to your Reality Check Book, you’ll need the following:
  • An uninterrupted half-hour
  • A mug that makes you smile
  • A beverage that makes you feel pampered
  • Chocolate or other indulgence that you savor
  • Your favorite scented hand cream or scented candle
  • A pen or pencil and a notebook
  • A comfy place to sit  
  1. Whilst enjoying a little self-pampering, take a few minutes to write down the negative thoughts you’re having about writing. Be honest. No one will see this but you.
  2. Take fifteen minutes or so to read your Reality Check Book. (Feel a little better?)
  3. Now read your first negative thought, and then write down the reality that counters it.
 
Here are some examples:

I’m not really a writer.
I’m a writer. I write, study craft, get feedback, write. Writers continuously learn and get better at writing. No one is a perfect writer.

I’ll never be good enough to get published.
Someday I’ll get published. Usually, it takes years. Lots of people see merit in my writing. My Reality Check Book proves that. If I continue to study craft, learn about the industry, write, and submit my work, I will get published.

Do this for each of your writing fears. Put them in perspective. We tend to minimize our accomplishments and maximize our fears. Writing the truth helps quiet the negative thoughts that our subconscious minds produce when we take risks. 


We writers are famous for our angst (almost as famous as teenagers). There's a reason for this. Words are powerful, and writing is a dangerous business.

Writer, heal thyself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quote of the Day


Hard as it is to remember, keep in mind that rejection is not really about you at all:

"Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. --Don Miguel Ruiz

"Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential." --Jessamyn West

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Can't It Be All Fun and Games?

Sometimes writing can feel a lot like picking up rocks from one pile and dropping them on another. And then once you've moved all the rocks from the first pile to the second, you start moving them from the second pile to a third, and so on and so on and...well, you get the idea. That doesn't even cover dealing with the how-tos and how-not-tos and shoulds and coulds and woulds. And you know what all that adds up to, don't you? That's right.

Drudgery.




Writing shouldn't feel like drudgery. It should be fun and creative. You should feel like you're free when you write. Admit it, isn't that what attracted you to writing in the first place? That, or something along those lines? No one in their right mind sits down and says, I know what I'll do, I'll write a novel. That's an easy way to make big bucks. Or maybe I should put it this way, no one who has ever attempted to write a novel has ever come away saying it was easy (I'm sure there are exceptions to that, but trust me when I say I don't want to hear about them ;).

So we start out writing to be creative or free or have fun or tell a good story, or some other positive reason. And somewhere along the way the act of writing turns into drudgery. Something to be avoided. Something to dread. Something, dare I say it, not unlike work.

It happens. Maybe not to every writer, but I bet it's happened to a lot of us. Come on, show of hands. How many writers out there have experienced this at least once? Yeah, me too. Well, at some point, unless this writing is truly a hobby, most writers have to come to terms with the fact that writing is a job, and even jobs we love can sometimes feel like work. What do we do when that happens?

I can only speak for myself and say, it depends. About the only thing that stays constant for me when this happens is the need to take a step back. What changes is how big a step back I take and what I do once I'm there. Generally, though, I find taking a small step back and finding something in what I've written that I can be proud of does the trick. It may be a small thing, a sentence I'm proud of or a line of dialogue, so long as it's enough to keep me going.

When I need to take that bigger step back, it's usually because I need to remind myself why I write and ask myself the hard question: is it worth it? So far, the couple of times I've felt the need to ask that question the answer has been an unqualified Yes! I'll cross the No bridge if I ever come to it.

What do you do when you feel like writing has become work -- or maybe just something unpleasant you find yourself avoiding? How do you get back on track?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, September 19, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 103 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 25750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 51500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 77250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 103000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 128750 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Noticing Changes

Current Project: Sharks
Status: moving along slowly

I read a post on facebook that reminded me of my time with weight watchers when I started loosing weight. It felt so good when I had lost my first ten pounds and I was so proud of myself but no one noticed. I discovered that until I lost over thirty pounds no one commented. But I was so proud of myself and wanted everyone to notice. So how does this tie into our topic of rejections you ask?

As a publisher/editor I read a lot of manuscripts and I read many from the same authors. I like to think that when I spend hours on editing and copy editing that I will see the learning curve going up on the next submitted ms. I have found that while I am willing to take the time (multiple reads and hours of exhausting work) I need to see improvement if I am going to buy a ms again from that author.

When I first began writing, I sincerely believed that if I wrote a great story the publishing house would buy it. I thought that if I had a few mistakes: commas, pov problems, dangling participles... the house would be more than willing to make these mistakes go away. Boy was I wrong. Now that I am on the other end, I know how important grammar and sentence structure are to the editor. An editor can not get to the elements of the story if they are forever having to scratch their head and think, huh...

Rejections are a learning process for the author. We all have elements that might not be a strength i.e. grammar, characterization, pov, plotting... and of course the list goes on and on. I always had trouble with pov. Thankfully I had critique partners who could teach me and help me learn.

If that rejection letter is to be avoided make sure all the elements are in place, don't take it to personally and learn, learn, learn from the rejections. Hopefully the editor will tell you why he/she rejected your manuscript. Whatever you do be proud of all your accomplishments even if rejected. How many people can say they have finished a book? And how many people say they want to write one?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SETBACKS...or more of those blessings in disguise?

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: editing third book
Posted by: Genene Valleau


You might see a theme in my blog posts about rejections and setbacks this month: digging for blessings, the silver lining, the positive spin--whatever you want to call it--from something hurtful.


Because no matter how much I know the mantra, "It's not personal," in my brain, there's still a sting that comes with rejections. Perhaps I've become better at minimizing that sting or finding the positive, but there's still that moment of feeling "not good enough."


But what about the setbacks we create ourselves? What about the writers' blocks, the family events that we "have" to attend, the day job, the story we lose interest in…I'm sure you can add your own reason for not writing to this list.


I'm not talking about compelling, moral (in my opinion) reasons why writing sits in the back seat for a time. When my kids were young, pretty much anything connected with caring for them immediately hit the top of my priority list. That included the day job, which paid the mortgage and put food in our bellies.

Other writers have priorities in their lives such as caring for aging parents, their own health issues, or many other things life brings our way that push writing aside for a time. It's not my place or purpose to judge others. We all need to choose what's best for us at any given time.

However, sometimes I notice patterns of my own that suck up writing time. Things that could be called self-induced setbacks.

Here's one I use a lot: Something came up that has to be done…a

nd pretty soon cleaning up that doggie accident by the door has turned into talking to my mother on the phone for an hour, followed by a call from one of my sons saying they are stuck on the freeway and can I bring a can of gas, and by the time I get home the doggies are unhappy because it's an hour past dinner time, and the neighbor just got back from vacation and had some wonderful experiences, and have I watered the yard today because the flowers are drooping in the heat, and…pretty soon it's past midnight and I haven't done any writing.

A string of days like this destroys most of my forward progress, sets me way behind my writing schedule, and makes me crabby. When I recognize I'm falling into this pattern, I need to remind myself "no" is a complete sentence, kick writing higher on my priority list of things to do, then BICHOK--Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard--and write! Yeah, I'm in the middle of this pattern now and am getting crabby. I guess even this self-induced setback has a positive side in that it focuses my determination to get back on the writing schedule I want to be on.


However, sometimes avoiding my story is a signal I took a wrong turn in the story. Or I'm missing a vital piece of information about a character because I'm not digging deep enough into their emotional motivations. Once I pause, and take a close look at the story, I can usually fix it and the words start flowing again.


Though sometimes setbacks or side trips pay off in writing a better story. When I was preparing for the September meeting presentation about "Storyboards…and Beyond!" and caught up on my databases, I realized the heroine in the second book of my series needed to confront the villain face to face and not let others fight her battles. Rewriting several scenes of that book resulted in more emotional growth for this character, which made a better story.


I also saw an online class about the emotional make-up of law enforcement officers. Since several of the heroes in my series are police officers, I signed up for this class. The instructor's first lecture gave me some great insights in why LEOs act like they do, and I tightened the beginning scene of the book I'm currently editing. Yes, the class is taking time I could be writing. However, I think it's worthwhile in helping me craft better stories.


How about you? Do you have familiar patterns to avoid writing? Are those choices you consciously make that fit your priorities or are they a symptom of something in your writing that needs to change?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Both Sides of Rejection

Current Project:Logger in Petticoats  
Status: 6,863 words

As a past editor for a small publisher I've been on both sides of a rejection.

It's hard to reject another writer's work knowing how much they put into the story, but at the same time, I made money off of the books that sold, and if I took on every manuscript that came to me, I would never have time for anything other than helping them "fix" their manuscripts to make them salable.

When evaluating a project to take on, I had to like the main characters enough to want to read their story multiple times. Because face it, if you can't stand the characters and you have to read the manuscript five times within a few months, you HAVE to like the characters or your eyes are going to skim and you aren't going to give the book the full edits it deserves.

So when looking at a project the first time the characters have to grab my attention within the first chapter. I have to want to learn more about them. Then as I read, the plot/premise has to be interesting. If it has a twist or something unusual, it will grab me. Then the POV (point of view) has to be within reason of not being a huge task to master for the writer. If the craft needs lots of work even if the characters grab me I had to reject but with notes telling them I loved the characters but they need to take more workshops on the particular craft issues they had and resend.

This goes back to the fact if I'm helping them rewrite their manuscript, I'm teaching them how to write and that's not how I received any monetary reward. To be paid, I had to have a good book for readers to purchase. The longer I took on one book the more I was short changing myself. But if there were characters and a story that called to me, I'd tackle it even if there were major craft issues. Also if a book came in that was immaculately written but I couldn't "like" the characters I'd reject. Even if it was well written, if I didn't care for the characters I couldn't read it the required times, let alone perhaps make it through the first reading. And that again is all subjective. Another editor may have loved the book.

Writing a book is a package deal- it has to have engaging characters, a good premise/plot, and well crafted prose. And even then you aren't guaranteed a contract. It depends on what the big houses have room for in their client list and what they believe is selling. So don't take rejection personally, it is all a business. But if an editor makes comments to you about your manuscript, think about what they say and is it true? Could you make this character more likable, could you up the sexual tension, do you indeed need to take a workshop on passive voice?

Never take a rejection to heart, but do look at your work with an unbiased eye and see if there are improvements that you could make.

Paty Jager
www.patyjager.net
www.patyjager.blogspot.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, September 12, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 110 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 27500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 55000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 82500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 110000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 137500 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

HOORAY! I’VE BEEN REJECTED! And rejected, and rejected, and…

Current Project: Proposals
Status: Getting there
The Master of Rejection

A long time ago, in another life, I worked (briefly) in telephone sales. If anyone had asked me what the worst job I could imagine was after slaughterhouse worker, I would have said phone sales. Ironically, there I was, learning how to handle rejection in spades.

You know what? It really wasn’t that bad. 

Before each call, I smiled to make myself feel more positive. I didn’t want my negativity to taint the calls. Most people politely declined if they were not interested. A few kept me on the line because they were lonely, but had no intention of taking the bait. And some were interested in what the company had to offer. I think that smile carried into my voice, because I had really good sales numbers, in spite of my inner doubts.

I firmly believe that projecting a positive and confident attitude is key when pitching face-to-face. Like the smile on the phone, confident body language is contagious. It inspires confidence in the person listening to your pitch. 

Even if you’ve connected with an industry professional on a personal level, be aware that the decision they made to reject your submission was not personal. 

Once in a while, someone would hang up on me mid-sentence or yell at me for interrupting their favorite TV show. Having always hated being on the receiving end of telephone solicitors, I understood the hang-ups were not personal and the yellers had issues I didn’t want to deal with (so I hung up on them.)
My 1st Rejection Letter!!!

Agent or editor rejections are not personal, just as hang-ups weren’t personal.
Any agent or editor who treats you unprofessionally isn’t one you want to work with, believe me. Ignore everything they said/wrote and give thanks they are not involved in your professional life!

My supervisor gave me a perspective on sales pitches that translates nicely into pitching or submitting a book. “Every no is one step closer to yes.” 

Memorize this truth, post it over your desk, tattoo it on your forearm, scrawl it across your rejection letters in permanent ink—do whatever it takes to internalize this gem of wisdom.

You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Quote of the Day


It's easy to forget that our work is often rejected not because it's terrible, but because it isn't right for that market at that time (or the editor reading it doesn't think it's right for the market):


"For over a year I continued to submit mss, and have them rejected - the last few with rejection letters indicated the story was pretty good, but I was American." --Nora Roberts 

Poor thing.  I hope this "Nora" person didn't give up.  Who knows; she might have a future in the writing business if she gets her work in front of the right person....

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Lies I (Used To) Tell Myself

I considered chucking this month's suggested topic and writing about something else. See, I didn't think I had any experience with rejection of my work, so how could I talk about what it feels like or how to deal with it? Before you think I'm bragging or full of myself, understand what that really means. I haven't sent any of my work out yet, so there aren't any rejection stories to tell. I'm very, very close, though...and very, very nervous about it.

Then I realized there's more than one kind of rejection and I'm a pro at a certain type. It's a doozy, too, maybe the worst you can experience (check back with me about that after I send out my book and receive that first, "Thanks, but no thanks" form letter). What kind of rejection am I talking about?

Negative self-talk. Or, as I like to call it: The Lies I Tell Myself.

It's one thing for someone else to tell you they don't like or can't use your writing. It's another to tell yourself that what you're writing can't possibly be any good. We all have self doubts (and if you don't, please don't tell me--that's one thing I'd rather believe, even if it isn't true). I'm guessing that some of you may also experience those doubts as that little voice in your head that whispers to you words like:

"What a load of crap. No one's ever going to publish it, let alone want to read it!"

"Trite. Cliched. Boring."

Or my personal favorite:

"What makes you think you can write? You can't do this.


If you're a writer, I suspect you know what I'm talking about. Maybe you call it your "internal editor" or the "little demon" on your shoulder (or maybe you think I should see someone professionally about hearing that little voice).

Silencing that negative voice can be a very hard thing to do. It's insidious and insinuated itself into my thoughts until it was second nature to think negatively. The closer I was getting to sending out my writing, the more my fears and self-doubts fueled that voice. It wasn't until I sat down and tried to figure out why I was having such a hard time reaching my final goal that I realized what I was doing.

I was rejecting myself! The more times I told myself, "You can't do this," the more I began to believe it. Why bother sending my writing out for rejection, when I was doing such an efficient job of rejecting it before it was even written?

Once I'd figured out what I was doing, I became acutely aware of every negative word I was telling myself. I'm learning to stop saying them in my head, which isn't easy, believe me. At the very least, when I hear myself going down the same old negative rathole, I stop and turn the negatives into positives. Now, when I start to say, "You can't," I say instead, "You can." Here's my new positive statement; I've found I only really need this one--it succinctly counters any negative talk my fertile brain can come up with:

"You can do this. You are a writer."

The next time you hear a little voice in your head tell you that "you can't" or anything else remotely negative, be sure and turn it on its head and firmly tell yourself, "Oh yes I can!"

Monday, September 05, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, September 5, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 117 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 29250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 58500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 87750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 117000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 146250 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Current Project: Vacation/no back to school for me :D
Status: Dodged Irene

Rejection: How can anyone critizice my baby?

Rejection is so personal. When I first started writing, I took every critisicm and suggestion as a personal afront to my beautiful child (manuscript). I quickly learned that for the most part all the suggestions were constructive and if I listened, really listened, I could improve my writing. Most of the time the chanes were little, fixing dangling participles so I didn't leave the reader going ... huh ... and shaking their head in confusion. The list would go on and on if I wanted to elaborate, which I don't.

One famous and very well known romance writer once said (this is a semi quote because I can't remember the exact) "I went to the post office and sent my manuscript to an editor and it was returned so fast it hit me in the head as I was leaving."

Well, I have never had that happen but I have had a requested manuscript take over 3 years to receive a rejections letter. Many authors say they would like feed back as to why the piece was rejected. However that can be confusing as well. When I had an agent, I received many conflicting reasons as to why they did not want the book. For example, one house said their was no conflict and the next house said the conflict was too much. So what did that mean? Did they read it?

Another author who spoke at a Dream Spinner conference said "I have received so many rejections letters I wall papered my bathroom in my office with them." I haven't received enough to wall paper a bathroom but close.

Whatever the case, I suggest we learn from rejections, critiques and well meaning suggestions. Weed out the ridiculous and move on.

Now back to vacation. We are moving from Atlantic City to Manhattan tomorrow and I have a $1.oo in my hand to gamble. Going to try to double my money :). And if all this sounds a bit jumbled, I'm not surprised.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

REJECTIONS AND SETBACKS aka Blessings in Disguise

Current Project: Book #3 of the LEGACY series
Status: Editing and finishing the cover
Posted by: Genene Valleau


Just as I find it hard to believe today is the first day of September, when the first rejections of my stories came back, I struggled to believe that could be good news.


The first romances I read were from Harlequin and Silhouette, so I figured when I sold, it would be to that publisher. I came close: getting personal letters from editors, and meeting senior editors at conferences that earned the coveted words "requested material" on the envelope.


However, the end result was the same: no sale.


When I did sell, my e-publisher bought three books in a row. I was in heaven! As a bonus, I am also a graphic designer and had the privilege of designing my own covers. More happy dancin'!


Then my first e-publisher changed ownership and I wondered what the new "bosses" would be like. Would they change the company so much it was no longer as much fun?


But another blessing showed up: a friend of mine set up her own e-publishing company and was actively looking for submissions. They agreed to release the print-on-demand versions of two of my books and contracted for two novellas published as part of anthologies. Again, I had the privilege of designing the covers, and have also designed the covers for a number of their other releases. (If you want to look at those covers, they are on my design Web site at http://www.designsbymsg.com/MoreSamples3.html.)


Today, with traditional print publishers drowning in the red ink of losing money and e-books gaining more and more market share, I am grateful for those early rejections. I haven't been orphaned by a big publisher struggling to cut losses. I'm in the flow of a new publishing river gaining momentum.


What will come next in today's rapidly changing publishing world? A combination of text, graphics, video, sound? And perhaps something we haven't seen before!


Now, I can look back and be grateful those early rejections steered me down a path that prepared me to be ready for new developments.


How about you? Have you had a rejection or setback that turned out to be a good thing?