1. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    So, I've received my first (three) rejection letters...

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by sophia_esteed, Apr 19, 2011.

    ...Where do I go from here?
    What do I do?
    This is my very first attent at getting my work published.
    Also, this is my first original work ever.
    I'm not sure what should I do now (actually, I'm at a loss)...
    I think those letters contain like, a standard answer, meaning they're not going to publish my work, but I don't think I should write back and ask why it isn't fit for publishing.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't lose heart 3 rejection letters isn't many - most get more than that before finding a home.

    Look at your letter, synopsis, proposal etc look at the work - edit it if you think it needs it, if you don't send it out again. Also start working on project number two often first projects aren't accepted.
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Only three? I lost count of how many I received. So as above, hang in there, keep trying, don't let the B*****ds grind you down as they say. The road to succesful publication is a long one.

    At this stage, yes do review what you've written, see if you can get some feedback from friends family or the people here, and if you're happy with the quality etc, then submit again. Also take another look at your cover letter to agents / publishers, see if it has the right amount of punch, if it grabs their attention. Also check to see if they are the most suitable people to receive your work.

    Then, if nothing happens, consider both self publication and starting another work.

    But at the end of the day you have to write for yourself. If you like it then that has to be a good start even if agents and publishers don't.

    So have faith and keep trying.

    Cheers.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sophia Esteed,

    That is correct. You wouldn’t write the markets back and ask why your work wasn’t right for them. Chances are they’ve already moved on and forgotten about it. Harsh but true. Good markets get far far FAR more submissions than they could ever hope to publish. The competition is stiff. They can’t worry about what was passed on, only what’s next in the stack.

    You look over your piece itself—for a short story for example—or the synopsis or query, in addition to the work itself, and see if you can improve it (them)—but don’t fret over and over it. Find other potential markets and send it to them. Keep track. Maybe it seems like it’s not necessary now, but if you stay at this writing business for a while, and have a lot of pieces out going different places…it’ll make a difference.

    While you’re waiting for a response on your first piece, be working on the next project. Your writing will improve, increasing your chances. Send that second one out and begin on a third.

    Sometimes it’s not that the work wasn’t good enough. The market may have already purchased something similar to it recently, their publishing slots are full in the near future and they’re just rejecting everything—except maybe a very very exceptional find, maybe you didn’t align your work with the proper market—it was good enough, just not right for them.

    Then again, maybe it didn’t meet their standard, or maybe it just didn’t jive with that editor.

    I’ve had pieces rejected a half dozen times, and then the next editor I send it to really enjoyed it and offers a contract.

    I know I am repeating much of what Elgaisma said, but that’s because I believe she’s right on the mark.

    Good luck moving forward.
     
  5. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe put your query up for review. They're a tricky product, queries, so make sure you have an unbiased outside opinion on yours. If you don't want to post it here, there are other forums which are pretty good with query critiques. Google around.

    There's a good chance your query might already be brilliant. If that's the case don't despair. It's always going to be a long shot. That's what makes it such an achievement if you succeed.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all good advice!

    if you don't what to post your query letter, i'll be happy to look it over for you and let you know if it's hitting the right buttons, since i do that for my mentees all the time...

    good luck!

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I'd like to see your query letter, too; I bet I could help some. And, like everyone else said, 3 rejection letters is nothing. This thread is all about famous books that were rejected tons of times.
     
  8. MoonlitJess
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    MoonlitJess New Member

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    A little editing never goes amiss

    The publishing landscape is changing.

    Publishers used to be able to invest a lot of time and money bringing manuscripts up to publishable standards. They used to search for writers with potential, and then nurture them throughout their careers. But today that's happening less and less.

    Now, it's all about cutting costs. Editors at publishing houses are losing their jobs, and publishers are choosing more and more to contract out to freelancers instead.

    So, they may have read your query and loved the idea, and they may have thought there was a market for it. But, if it looked like it would need a heavy substantive edit or copyedit, they may have decided it wasn't worth their investment.

    It may be worth considering having your query letter or manuscript professionally edited. Just try to find an editor who is well-read in your genre.
     
  9. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    I believe Dr. Seuss received approximately 46 rejects before being picked up. I wonder how all of those publishing houses feel now.

    Don't get discouraged, especially after only 3 rejections. I believe I'm at the 10 count myself. Publishers and agents alike need to have a certain feel for your story before investing in it. Would you want someone to take on your book just for the sake of taking it or someone else that actually enjoys and believes your story is truly unique and one of a kind?

    Keep plugging away. d(:-D)b
     
  10. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Buy a bottle of wine (if you're of legal age to drink that is) and celebrate.

    Rejection letters are like badges of honor to many writers.
     
  11. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    Wow, a lot of advice! This is why I love posting on this forum.
    It wouldn't be a problem to post my query letter as some of you asked, but I wrote it in my own language (I write from Italy). I'm not sure if my English would be good enough to make a good translation of it...
    Anyway, I structured it by inserting a very brief summary of the novel first, then I added some personal information, saying I was still a student at a foreign language university and that it was my first work, plus some information on my studies which I thought might be relevant for a potential writing career (like writing courses taken as part of my study plan and such) and I attached to it a complete and detailed synopsis of the novel plus some info on major characters.
    The publishers I chose to send my work to, asked for a copy of the manuscript too, so I sent a package containing the query letter + synopsis + character info and the manuscript.
    I sent the work to four publishers and then three of them actually sent me a rejection letter, which I think it's still good, since in my country they're very big :eek: publishers, so I might not have heard back from them at all.
    I'm still waiting to hear from the fourth publisher I sent the work to, and in the meantime I entered a writing contest from yet another publisher.
    I think that it is more likely the problem lies with the manuscript itself rather than the query letter and synopsis, since it's my very first original work and I had to proofread it and do some little basic editing all by myself.
    It's possible there was too much work to do to make it fit for publishing.
    Yet I'm not too sure about trying and edit the novel all by myself.
    Having no past experience with publishing anything, I don't even know where to start.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    so, the book is written in italian only, and you're not aiming an english translation at the us/uk markets?

    in that case, i doubt anyone here can help you with the query... even if someone was fluent in italian, not being familiar with italian agents/publishers, they'd not know what would be expected in a query and having lived in italy and knowing the italian 'persona' as well as i do, i am sure the 'language' [as in style] used would not be the same as what works for us/uk agents/publishers... but you should not pay anyone to edit it!...

    buona fortuna!

    abracci e bacci, maia
     
  13. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Have you tried using an agent? In the US, that's basically the only way to get published. The agents look at your work, and if they like it they'll help find the representatives from various publishers that look for a manuscript like yours.

    For example, if you're writing a steam-punk cyber fantasy and you send it directly to the publisher, you might get someone who hates steam-punk almost as much as they hate cyber fantasy, and they'll reject it even if it's amazing. But if you find an agent that likes steam-punk cyber fantasies, then they would know which reps from which publishers would be best to send it to. They take 15%, but they increase your chances of getting published drastically.

    Also, having an agent is good for the legal side of things. They make sure the contract you sign is not going to screw you over in the end. I heard publishers will often have two contracts, one for those who have an agent that will check it over, and another for those who don't have an agent. Though, I heard that from an agent, so who really knows. Although I am not yet published, I would feel much safer dealing with an agent.

    Of course, you need to make sure they are reputable, but that's easy enough. For one, you can ask how many books they've gotten published in the past year, and if it's like 1 then that's a bad sign.
     
  14. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    I'd thought about getting and agent too, but it seems in my country what we call 'publishing agencies' all ask for a fairly big fee.

    Some do not ask money for a proofread, but then the basic fee for editing is pretty high for pretty much all of the agencies I looked at.

    It's really costly and I'm just a student and both my parents are schoolteachers.
    I've talket about it with my father and he said then we should first of all make sure the agency is reputable and that it's going to have the book published for sure through a real publisher, since there's always the risk it turns out to be a scam or something.

    I've also thought over the idea of translating it into English and maybe try with the US/UK markets, since it's a sci-fi work, and it is likely there's a much bigger market in those countries.

    It is kind of a thrilling idea, to translate it in a whole different language, and I love English, I just love they way the language works, what I could do with such a flexible language, so much more flexible than mine.

    Back at school I enjoyed playing around with English, wrote a couple of short stories.
    It would be a really big project to work on, and I'm sure I'd be thrilled to work on it.

    Also, maybe in the end the whole work would sound and look more natural, since my sources of inspiration were all american novels and writers (Asimov, P.K. Dick, Clarke, Gibson...) so my characrers have English names and places have English names too (I just couldn't imagine a sci-fi novel set in Italy).

    But should I really? Shouldn't I try to get it published in my country first?
    And if I do translate it, then how do I approach publishers from another country?
     
  15. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I have no idea. This depends on what you want; do you want to see your first work published in Italian, or is it okay to get it published in any language, so long as it's published? Even though I only know English well enough to write in it, if I could write in another language, I'd still want my book published in English. 1) I'm proud of my language and 2) I'd want to show it off to all my friends, and almost no one is fluent in a second language.

    I don't know how easy it is to contact a publisher directly in Italy, all I know is it is very unlikely in the US. I'd say work on your query letter and overall how you present your manuscript, and keep trying to get it published in Italy. Meanwhile, translate it into English. Even if you want it to first be published in Italian, you are just going to sell more copies if it's in English.

    Again, you need to start with an agent. There are so many in the states, the hardest part is where to begin. You can find a current science fiction writer, open their book, and look for where they thank their agent, "Mrs. Smith" or whatever, and you can google them. Or, you can try agentquery.com, and do a search query there. It's generally a good idea to find someone who is a member of AAR, "Association of Author's Representatives", since they follow a code of ethics, but there are also plenty of great agents that are not member of AAR, but that's a place to start. Be sure to check out their website, read their bios, and read what they expect to see in a query. This will help make sure you are finding the best agent to read over your work.
     
  16. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    I just wanna say thanks to all of you guys.
    This place is great to get advice when stuck.
    I think I'll start working on the English translation anyway. Who knows, maybe working on it in an entirely different language, I'll find ways to make it better in my own language, too.
    I'll also look into the possibility of getting it published abroad, while keeping at it in my own country as well.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sophia...
    legitimate 'literary agents' do not charge a fee... here is a reputable one in milano:

    vickie satlow agency

    you can google that for contact info and with a bit more googling probably find more good agents in italy...
     
  18. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    Thank. I've written that down, I'll look into it.
     
  19. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    CONGRATULATIONS you have gone out there, thrown yourself into the maelstrom and haven't given up when you've been knocked back. Your halfway there, just keep that attitude and you'll do great. revise if you need to be critical of your own work. don't worry, you'll get a hell of a lot more knock backs before someone accepts. Not a comment on your work, just the way the industry work?
    good luck, and keep up the good work.
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good luck with everything. I do speak italian (I'm not italian mother tongue though) but I doubt it I could give any advice about how a query letter should be, that is something i'm sort of struggling with myself. I wrote my first novel this summer while still living in Italy, (I did for four years) but I think I prefer being published in my own country rather than going through the process of having it translated and all the trouble with finding an agent, something which I won't need here.
    In bocca al lupo e facci sapere come va! :))
     
  21. Schwinn57
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    Schwinn57 Member

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    I don't know whether to sympathize or congratulate based on the quality of responses so far. Having never completed a full project or submitted a manuscript for publication, I can't say I really understand how you're feeling but at least you're putting yourself out there.

    Seems like all the greats have gotten more than a handful of rejections before finally hitting it big.

    Good luck getting published!
     
  22. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    Thanks to all you for your support!
     
  23. ramatheson
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    ramatheson Member

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    Keep them. Frame them. Wear them like badges of courage.

    That said, you know the saying in the game of Go? "Hurry up and lose one hundred games so you can start to win." I think the same goes for publishing.
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    From an interview with Mike Resnick (science fiction author) I referenced in another thread:

    :D
     
  25. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Out of curiosity, which publishers did you contact?

    Personally I decided to write my story directly in English because I don't there's a market and I've seen too many friends writing for free or paying for publishing...
     

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