Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dear Author...

Sigh... don't you hate those two words?

They mean only one thing - rejection.

They suck. Big time.

It's like a Dear John letter, only at least you have a name with Dear John - or Jane, as the case may be.

But for just about every writer who's ever submitted, those two words have come in the mail. Usually on an obviously photocopied form letter. If you're lucky, the signature is real.

I hate those two words. Recently, I was asked to submit a partial to one of the NY houses. Woohoo - the chance to write Requested Material on the envelope! And an editor's name! I'm halfway there. I put in phone number and e mail address (y'know, to make it easier for a request for the full. What can I say? I thought it was a great book. But, maybe I'm a little biased.)

So I wait.

And wait.

And wait a little more.

Last week, I missed a call. Caller ID gave a NY number. Was it possible? The request I'd been hoping for?


Yesterday, I looked out the window (I stalk my mailman when I'm waiting for something, but doesn't everyone?) and saw something that made my heart sink.

I recognized my envelope.


But wait, ok... maybe it's not so bad. I had an agent request a full in writing. Maybe this was the same thing.



But I'm used to rejection. I'd gotten plenty of it before Shelter From the Storm was published last year. My skin's so thick, my clothes are bigger now.

So I opened the damn envelope. Maybe the editor had some suggestions? Maybe it was a request to rewrite and resubmit (I'll admit, I don't know how they handle that one.)

"Dear Author..."


Dear author is the writer who submits blind - or over the transom, as the saying goes. That's the writer no one has ever heard of, the one that ends up in the slush pile.

My manuscript was requested. Ouch.

That's what bothered me. Dear Author. I didn't have a name. Jeez, at least the one nasty editor who rejected a manuscript personalized the letter. Sure, she spelled my name wrong, but that's something for another post.

I know that publishers receive ten tons of crap every year. I get that. And I know it's not possible for them to personally respond to every query. But to be lumped in with the slush. Ugh. My skin's thick, but that freakin' stung.

Was this editor obligated to at least put my name on the damn thing? No, I don't suppose she was. Would it have been nice? Yes. Would it have left a better taste? Absolutely. Would it have changed the fact that the book was still rejected? Of course not. But considering that it was asked for, I think it deserved a little more effort than Dear Author. But I'll get over that.

It did, however, make me think about the direction my writing career is heading in. Am I happy with it? Sure. I love to write. Always have. Always will. Do I want the NY houses to consider me? I'd be lying if I didn't. I am happy with my current publisher, but there is no reason why I can't branch out. The book I'm writing now is for that publisher. But I have other pans on other fires as well.

Of course, that didn't help last night. I sat and vegged, watched American Idol (I only watch the auditions - some real winners came out of the woodwork for this season). I thought about whether or not I really can write. Last night, the answer was no. I sucked. I really, really, really sucked. No talent. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Was deleting all my files and throwing out the laptop.

Then something amazing happened.

I checked my e mail from my website - which is something I never remember to do.

I had a fan letter.

Ok - maybe I won't throw out the laptop just yet. Nah - I'll do what I always do. Get my butt in the chair and get back to work. It's only one no. There are plenty more waiting for me. It doesn't matter how many books you've published. I know a few award winning authors who still garner rejections. And we all do the same thing.

You get mad, throw something maybe, kick the dog (just kidding), rant and rave about how stupid this editor is, or that editor, and how they wouldn't know a good book if it closed on their nose.

Then you get over it and sit down and get back to work.

And that's what I'm doing now.

Keep your fingers crossed.

1 comment:

Rashenbo said...

Doh!... never a good start. But, I really enjoyed reading your post :)

Thanks for sharing.