Friday, March 9, 2007

More thoughts on rejection:

I forgot to post on Wednesday, it was a crazy day. Anyway... Welcome to Friday...

When submitting fiction you have two things going on: 1. seeking the right fit. And 2. creating the strongest manuscript and query letter it's in your power to provide. Number 2 is the only thing you have total control over. Number 1 is like dating. You'll have to kiss a lot of frogs.

I've come across a few personal blogs and websites where the writer just took rejection way too personally. They listed rejection after rejection and then went on about how impossible it is to ever get published and why waste the time and energy blah blah blah. (Well, I think...if you've determined that you're a 'lifer' in this thing called writing, you may as well write on a schedule and submit it.)

But the point is, this individual was completely disillusioned with “them” (the publishing industry.) And yes, I've had my own personal private more anonymous rants on this type of thing. It seems getting published just opens more cans of drama. Wheee. But yeah...not going there here, and probably not ever on this blog. Suffice it to say I think it's really na├»ve to believe that the world is your oyster once you're published and let's leave it at that.

But anyway on some of these: “I was rejected a lot of times which proves this is a big ole lottery and no one appreciates my brilliance” websites, you can view the actual query letter sent. And honestly and truly, I would have rejected them too.

Many times the query starts and ends with cliches and every single thing agents say PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T PUT THIS IN YOUR QUERY, is in the query.

Such gems as:

“I'm an aspiring first time novelist.” (there is no need to shout this one from the rooftops)

“first book in a trilogy” (let them decide if they like this one first)

“my sister read this book and loved it.” (of course she does, she's your sister. I understand that everyone who likes me is going to like my work more than they would if I was a stranger because people WANT to like your stuff when they know you. A good friend of mine thought my rough draft of the paranormal was just brilliant and there was no reason someone wouldn't just snatch it up and publish it. I took that with a grain of salt because even I knew the book had a lot of problems. It definitely was NOT up to publishing standards.)

“I really think this book can be a bestseller.” (if the industry can't accurately predict a bestseller how can you? Most people do NOT hit the bestseller list with their first book. It indicates a bit of a “pipe dream” mentality if this is in your query letter.)

Instead of talking about how the publishing industry done you wrong and writing your own country song, go back to craft. Rework the novel, rework the query. Find someone who will be almost cruelly honest with you. People can tell you how wonderful you are after a book is published and it can't be changed. Work to change what you can actually change, rather than obsessing over what you can't.

1 comment:

Siren Cristy said...

I never cease to be amazed at the rudimentary mistakes writers make when querying for publication, many of which you stated. Worse, perusing an article or two (or even better, a whole BOOK) on how to pen effective queries would increase their odds of success exponentially. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't come to their aid; their errors make it better for the rest of us!