Your Writing Gives Me A HeadacheBy Jill Monroe
I was agonizing over what I should write about for my WNP blog, when one of my friends suggested I talk about the rejections I received before publishing.
There are a lot of an urban legends about the writer whose first book sold. They never got a rejection. Every agent wanted to represent her. Bidding wars from publishers. The final offer was so high Publishers Lunch had to coin a new term.
Yes, somewhere there is an author out there like her. That's not my story.
After joining Romance Writers of America, one of the first things I did was enter my very first manuscript into a contest. I remember the jolt of excitment I felt when I spotted my return envelope in the mailbox. I tore the top off so I could read the comments and see the scores.
In a word: AWFUL. In fact, one of the judges said I should spring for the Tylenol since my writing gave her a headache. That comment really hurt, and I actually didn't write for a while. (I'm sure this judge thinks that's a good thing.)
I also had another judge write B/S in the margins of my contest entry, but that's another story.
This is a business filled with rejections, and yes, hurtful comments.
Of course I want everyone to love my books. Logically, I know that's just not going to happen. And yes, that's a whole lot easier to say than to believe, feel and become active in your psyche.
Sadly, the world is just not ready for my first book called A Political Affair - and never will be. (Yeah, everyone wants to read a sweeping romance about political corruption with writing where even the dog has a point of view. Think Woodward and Bernstein and one of them is a woman. You choose.)
A fellow noodler posted a link to agent Kristen Nelson's blog. Nelson gives a lot of interesting persepctives few authors probably ever heard before blogs. She also makes me want to dash off and see what's playing on MY iPod (Which is the Foo Fighters).
Being an agent, Nelson has to dish out rejections. The correct response (if one is warranted) to an agent rejection is, "Thank you for your time." What I found amazing when reading Nelson's blog is that people will argue with her. Check out her post When You Feel The Response Urge—Don’t
So what is the correct response to a rejection?
The other correct response for me was to say (and I caution - this is in your head) "Oh yeah?" After the appropriate amount of chocolate (of course) you roll up your sleeves and write something even better. The best, most original thing you've ever done. Don't keep reworking the same old same old. Do something new. I have 9 manuscripts completed. Two are published. Three I've decided I should burn. The rest are in some stage in between.
(Also send out more queries, make a notes if the agent offered advice and keep a record of if you should query this agent again in the future - bookkeeping is also important.)
Call this a flaw in my personality - I can't accept a pass. After that first rejection from Harlequin, I wrote even more. If your writing gives someone a headache, vow the next book will give someone a smile.
But don't ever give up.
Don't ever stop because of rejection.