Sunday, February 2, 2014
Why I Hate Rejection by Jannine Gallant
When it comes to writing, we've all felt the sting of rejection. Let's face it--not everyone will love your book. Not everyone will love your style. That's okay. The world would be pretty boring if we all liked the same things. I'm actually good with some types of rejection. I appreciate constructive rejection that will make my writing stronger. I can even relate to honest rejection that won't help me out one bit. What really irritates me, though, is rejection for no reason at all. My agent has been shopping two of my books (one historical and one suspense--book one of a three book series) to the bigger publishers. Here are some examples of rejections I've received along with my interpretations. Warning: I'm feeling a tad bit jaded! LOL
1) Heat level isn't quite right for our line. Translation: Yes, I know we say we take sensual to hot, but what we really want is MORE SEX!
2) The time period is too hard to sell. Translation: We may ask for something new and different, but when you give it to us, we don't have a clue what to do with it! Stick with the tried and true.
3) The heroines in this series have outdated professions (reporter and photographer). No Translation Needed. I love that she gave me a creative rejection, though I don't really understand it. Last time I checked, people were still reporting the news and taking pictures. Maybe if heroine #3 was taking selfies I would have gotten a thumbs up! The most amazing part about this rejection was that she didn't mention heroine #1 who owns a bookstore. Now there's an outdated profession--more's the pity!
4) I'm afraid we'll have to pass on this one. Translation: We checked your Amazon ranking, and while it did give us a good laugh, we didn't bother to read your book.
5) Big Five Editor: I loved this book. The writing, characters and plot were all very strong. The story kept my interest from beginning to end. Big Five Review Committee: We'll have to pass as we haven't had much luck with romantic suspense lately. Me: Hello, maybe you should try your luck with a book that kept your editor's attention from beginning to end! Grrrrr...
Now you all know why I hate rejection. Let's here your best (or worst) rejection ever. We all get to spill our guts today!
You're also welcome to check out my books that actually made it through the war zone of publisher rejection and emerged victorious! Links are on my WEBSITE.
Posted by Jannine Gallant at 12:01 AM
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I try to remember that rejection is always in the eye of the beholder. For example, whoever came up with #3 (reporters and photographers) couldn't be more out of touch. I work in a newsroom in my day job. We focus coverage on our local community, and go we in depth--the things you won't find on CNN or even the local TV stations. That requires our reporters to fill much more than the traditional role of a reporter. They're responsible for getting the story online well before the print deadline. They're responsible for shooting photos and videos, again for our digital audience. They're not just reporters, they're multimedia journalists. The photographer's job is essentially the same but with newer technologies and tools. They're still the ones who are responsible for capturing a story without words, and that's a skill that never goes out of date. One of our photographers shot pictures of homeless people in our town and posted one each day on his Facebook page during "the holidays." It was an amazing collection of photojournalism.
Sorry to get on a soapbox, but that struck a nerve!
Thanks, Leah, for validating my opinion about that point. Honestly, in most cases I think they just make up an excuse instead of flat out saying, "We don't want to invest time and money in an unproven author."
First of all, I love your take -- and attitude -- on these rejections. One even made me laugh out loud. Hmmmm. I had to search far and wide -- yeah right -- to find a suitable rejection to share. Here's one on a short story sent to a magazine: Thank you so much for sending your material for our consideration. We liked your manuscript but will not be able to use it in the near future. However, we would like to hold your materials in the event that there is a good fit for it in the future. (Yeah, I fell for that one a few times for more a year before taking them back.) Another I love is from a different magazine after they'd asked for changes. A stock rejection letter with 'Sorry, but thanks for the revision.' All we can do it keep at it!
Yeah, I'll let you keep my story until I'm old and gray on the off chance you'll change your mind and publish it. I don't think so! Glad I made you laugh, Margo.
Well, I guess we laugh to keep from crying, right? I agree, constructive rejections are great, but those that are ambiguous or totally off the mark are irritating to say the least. You are so right about the Big 5 saying they want something unique and different, but being afraid to take a chance. This type of thing is why I stopped submitting to the Big 5. I would rather handle my own career and work with small publishers and self-publishing than to beat my head against the wall and hear all these lousy reasons for not accepting my work. One of the many reasons I'm proud to be with TWRP is that we give clear, concise, and hopefully helpful reasons for rejecting. I can't count the number of times I've been THANKED for a rejection letter. ;)
What the heck? Outdated careers??? And an editor who couldn't put your book down but a review committee rejects it? I think the Big 5 are totally out of touch with what readers want. They just keep churning out new books by the same authors instead of opening the door for new blood. UGH. Annoying.
Sorry to be so wordy, but you've struck a nerve with all of us, I would imagine. Let's see, one of my most memorable rejections...
I guess it would have to be when an editor said she loved Death Notice, but the way I went from first person in heroine POV to third person in others was a little distracting. She offered to look at it again if I revised to all third person. I did, and she came back with "I couldn't connect with secondary characters." REALLY??? You didn't realize that the first time your read it? All of my secondary character stuff remained the exact same in the revision.
All good points, Ally! Yep, if you're going to send out a revise and resubmit letter, Then shouldn't the rejection be based on the part you were asked to revise? FRUSTRATING!
Jannine - the rejection because of character careers just shows how outdated the publisher is!Consider you had a lucky escape with that one:-)
Here's my worst/best rejection: 'I loved this book. The characters are real, the plot strong. Really held my attention. You are obviously a talented writer. However, we have just signed something similar, therefore I must pass but wish you success.' Grrrr!
By the way, the heroine in Saving Maggie (Crimson Romance) is a newspaper reporter/publisher....
My collection of rejection letters is still packed away so I can't share any specifics, but they were mostly of the vague, non-helpful type. However, I'll never forget the editor who rejected UNWRITTEN RULES because no one would ever buy the idea of a female bodyguard. Really!? I'd been to a presentation by an ACTUAL bodyguard who said females were at a premium because of their superior ability to blend in and protect female clients.
Glenys, you must have been so frustrated! I guess timing is everything!
Alison, we're fighting a losing battle with editors who have a specific idea of "in" careers. Another example of not really wanting something new and different!
Excellent points, Jannine. I particularly get torqued by the 'not enough sex' comment...at the same time my editor is saying I should dial back on the 'progress' of the relationship in my latest novel. Sigh. The reject phrase "I wish I had loved it..." drives me nuts.
"I wish I had loved it." is about on par with the breakup line, "It's not you, it's me." Lame! I'd rather hear why she didn't love it. My skin is thick!
Good topic, Jannine. A rejection that sticks in my mind was that my heroine (in a scifi romance) should be shoved out an airlock. Ouch! I guess she really didn't like the heroine.
Wow, Diane, someone was having a b%#ch attack that day! I bet we're all feeling better, knowing we aren't alone!
Made me laugh. I have one of those the editor loved it but the committee didn't like the villain.
Hey Barb, maybe we should start a revolt to eliminate committees...
Great, great post. I know I've got rejections that fall in most of your categories too. Sometimes I have to wonder if we're just gluttons for punishment, then a character whispers in my head, "No, you're not. Just keep writing."
Chris, there must be a little masochist in us all to do what we do!
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