1. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    How do you deal with writing rejection?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Ashley Harrison, Feb 16, 2016.

    I'm sure I'm not alone in having their writing, at some point in time, rejected. Whether it's a publisher or literary agent, rejection seems to be the writer's byword, at least in my case anyway. I just wanted to put the question out there, to gauge if it is the exact same for you and how do you deal with it? It's common knowledge that acting is a very precarious profession. I'd say writing is right up there, in its complexity and difficulty to establish yourself and gain a foothold on the ladder. I can't be alone in sometimes thinking it's all for nought, can I? So, I'll keep this post brief, because I do have a tendency to blather on. If anybody has experienced similar thoughts on this topic, please feel free to reply in the thread below. I'd like to read your stories and solutions to dealing with writing rejection.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've learned not to take it personally. Sometimes it's simply a matter of your piece not being a good fit with what they publish or your piece not appealing to the tastes of the editor. So I feel sad for about two minutes and keep on submitting.
     
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  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Are you writing an article on this, Ashley Harrison?

    Rejection isn't bothering me anywhere near as much as I thought it would. Hardly at all, in fact. I think I'd read so much about how hard it is to get an agent or get published that I'd already written the novel off when I began querying. The hard part for me is waiting. I prefer the rejections to the crickets.
     
  4. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    No I'm not writing an article, it's just an innate curiosity about the entire process from completion of the novel to getting on the selves of Waterstones (other book retailers are available) that both fascinates and frustrates me in equal measure.

    By the way, I love your profile picture, Richie is brilliant. Rest in peace Rik Mayall!

    Thank you for your reply.
     
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Doesn't bother me. I blow it off and submit to the next market, unless the editor who rejected it made specific comments as to why, in which case I consider those comments and decide whether to revise the story accordingly.
     
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  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Rik Mayall approves of your post :D

    I spent a ridiculously long time reading this thread and its comments over the last week: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html

    The blog post is an editor talking about the rejection process from her side, but the real value is in the comments. You start to see just how much of the slush pile is really utter unpublishable dross. If you can use spell check and put a query together in the right format, you're already ahead of 95% of your competition. It doesn't make rejection any easier to bear, but it's something I'll probably go back to when I'm feeling "this is all a waste of time and I'll never be published".
     
  7. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Thank you for your response. I get exactly what you mean. Sometimes though, perpetual rejection is just so disappointing and makes you feel crestfallen.

    I've noticed in my experience, that the industry is deeply elitist. They've got the wagons circled so tight, it's almost an impossibility to penetrate through to the other side and become recognised. I suppose it's much like most professions out there, in that respect.

    Thank you again for your message.
     
  8. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Thank you very much for the link. I'll use it as my crutch, when I'm also feeling despair. :)
     
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  9. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    In my experience, I don't even get a critique and when you've exhausted every avenue and flooded all available markets, then what can you do?

    Thank you for your reply.
     
  10. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Are you submitting a novel or short stories? Agents, publishers or magazines? I think the answer is different in each case.
     
  11. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Several novels and novelettes. It's a catch-22 (not the book by Joseph Heller) the publishers won't even let you submit manuscripts without a literary agent and the many literary agents I've conversed with, won't take a chance on an unpublished author. I want to swear there, but I'll refrain from doing that. It's so illogical, which leaves you in no man's land.
     
  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I don't know who you've spoken to but most agents have found some of their clients in the "slush" pile. It's only when they become very senior that they stop taking on unpublished clients, or even stop taking on new clients altogether. I'd forget about talking to them and just start querying. Most people say it took 3-5 years before they got there, so you do need dedication.

    Also, there are plenty of smaller publishers who take unagented submissions. What genre are you writing in?

    There's a big power imbalance in the publishing industry, that's for sure, because there are more authors wanting to be published than there are publishing contracts available. It's one of the main reasons self-publishing has taken off in such a big way, but in my opinion, self-publishing has shown why we do need gatekeepers.
     
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  13. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Amen to that. Without dedication, facing such an unconquerable mountain, like publishing houses, you would give up pretty rapidly.

    The genre I predominantly like to write in, is psychological thrillers mostly.

    Can I ask, what genre do you enjoy writing in?

    Thank you for keeping my chin with your replies. It's reassuring to know that other people have experienced the negatives of writing too. It's not just me.
     
  14. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Amen to that. Without dedication, facing such an unconquerable mountain, like publishing houses, you would give up pretty rapidly.

    The genre I predominantly like to write in, is psychological thrillers mostly.

    Can I ask, what genre do you enjoy writing in?

    Thank you for keeping my chin with your replies. It's reassuring to know that other people have experienced the negatives of writing too. It's not just me.
     
  15. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I just searched QueryTracker.net and there are 23 publishers listed who take unagented thriller submissions. :D

    I write in romance, and there are plenty there who take them too, but I'm trying agents first.
     
  16. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Thank you so much for your help. Gosh, I didn't realise anyone would be this kind. I'm very grateful.

    It's a shame to hear you only write romance novels (the good kind of shame) Would you ever think about venturing from romance at all?
     
  17. Ashley Harrison
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    Thank you so much for your help. Gosh, I didn't realise anyone would be this kind. I'm very grateful.

    It's a shame to hear you only write romance novels (the good kind of shame) Would you ever think about venturing from romance at all?
     
  18. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I would, but at the moment I'm pinning my hopes of success on romance. :D My reading leans towards horror, but that's a much smaller market and I've never actually tried to write a horror novel so I might be crap at it.
     
  19. Ashley Harrison
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    Okay, I understand that. I like to stay in my wheelhouse too. I would suck at writing romance. I wish you all the luck at being a published novelist.

    From what I can determine from your messages, you're highly intelligent. If you turned your hand to a different genre, I'm sure you could be as successful. :)
     
  20. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It can be elitist, but it really depends on the publisher. A lot of smaller publishers are looking for good manuscripts by new authors (same goes for big publishers, though it's harder), so it's not all elitist. Keep submitting and trying. Take all feedback seriously. If most editors are saying the same thing, chances are there's an issue with your manuscript. Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress. :)
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Short stories to various publications.
     
  22. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If by "elitist" you mean "they want to publish writing that will sell well", then, yeah, I guess they are. I want them to be!

    I handle rejection by remembering that it's just a question of fit. The editors aren't judging my book overall - they're just judging whether it would be likely to sell well, given their marketing directions. And they certainly aren't judging me, either as a writer or as a human being.

    And I agree with @Tenderiser that lots of agents sign new writers - if they didn't, they'd soon be out of business as the old writers die off or retire! There are also lots of (mostly smaller) publishers that don't require an agent.

    So, no, there's no way to avoid the rejection, but there is a way to keep it from taking over your writing life!
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Self-publish and you don't have to deal with gatekeepers. You get to decide when to publish, how to approach the business, and to retain all of your rights. If you're going to traditional route, then you have to accept the fact that the big publishers are running businesses to make money and that's pretty much what they're thinking about when they're looking for new books to publish. Niche publishers may have other priorities.
     
  24. Startled Crow
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    If I were to publish, I would likely self-publish. What I specifically write about is what I interpret as my own artistic abilities to write. Many agents or publishers or whatever may have certain types of stories and plots they are going for and if you do not meet their needs, then whatever you have made is less important. I'd say that if you are wanting to eventually have a publisher, let them find you instead of you finding them - then rejection is simply 'tables turned' because if someone looks for you to publish and then rejects you, they are wasting their time on their own more than you wasting their time. My few cents, at least. :)
     
  25. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    By 'elitist' I mean, I'm sure if I had a first-class honours from Oxford or Cambridge and had a friend of a friend in a publishing company. I would almost certainly have an easier ride and my manuscript could be bumped up the agents reading list. You can't deny this doesn't exist in the business. I'm not saying nepotism, is the exclusive reason why writers don't succeed. There's plenty of rubbish written, I agree. There needs to be a quality control, that's obvious. It seems like when people get to a position of power, they use their authority to pull the ladder up and say "I'm alright Jack". That's the 'elitism' I'm referring to.
     

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