Monday, January 23, 2012

The 'R' Word

This week I'm passing on a couple of resources gleaned from recent issues of The Writer Magazine.
  • In November, Karen Rigby, reviewed 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected: And How to Be Sure It Won't Happen Again (Mike Napa, Sourcebooks, 384 pp, print or ebook) He takes up (1) editorial reasons (2) marketing reasons and (3) sales reasons--plus tips for "fixes". 
  • First Page, a semi-regular column by Peter Selgin which displays an excerpt from a story/novel, analyzes it, and explains why he would/would not keep reading
I cite these because all writers (published, not-yet-published, struggling-to-be-published) know the importance of 'hooking' editors with a query, synopsis, first three chapters--or whatever has been requested by a particular publisher. With all the competition out there, what we send has to be the best. 

Successful author Ken Follett, interviewed in the January 2012 issue, didn't hit the bigtime overnight. But, he says, he knew what he wanted to achieve--and eventually, he did it.

In the same vein (and issue!), Laura Maylene Walter talks about what we've all experienced: rejection. She advises moving on, using the rejection as a motivator, looking for positive aspects of the rejection, and remembering that all writers share this crushing moment!

My soon-to-be-released novel, The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall, received 5 rejections--some encouraging, some simply form-not-what-we're-looking-for. Each time it came back to me, I went through it again with the eye of a critic and recognized its weak points. I revised and even completely rewrote--and the sixth time was the charm. I had a fantastic editor who took me through four complete edits before she/I/we considered it ready to go.

I'm preaching to the choir--we all know the necessity of a good query, a good synopsis, and the best three chapters we can possibly write. We dream about overnight success and recognize that it's rare. We all experience rejection and, hopefully, become better writers because of it.

1 comment:

Calisa Rhose said...

My first complete ms was rejected three times by harlequin. Two of those were from the same editor two years apart (no I didn't send it to him twice in the traditional sense). The second rejection (by a whole other editor) wasn't even a real rejection and actually brought about the third one by the first editor. Are you confused yet? LOL It's a long story but the short version s that editor A requested the full and told me to sub a partial to editor B at the same time. Editor B rejected it within a month while editor A kept reading (I asked). After two years with no word editor A said she had passed the full on to editor B. I don't know why because I had already informed her that he'd R'd it that first year. So I contacted editor B again. He never got the full, couldn't even find it in the main database where every single submission is supposed to be entered. It was lost. I consider that the second rejection. To be nice, editor B asked me to send him the same partial he'd rejected two years before, and I told him he had. It took him just two weeks to reject it the third time.

I learned a lot from that ms rejection! Even editors are people who make mistakes. lol