Monday, April 20, 2009

Rejection and Dejection

A little bit ago I got an e-mail from the acquisitions editor of the small, local press I'd submitted my novel to months and months ago.
This is what it said:

Dear Mary,
After much consideration, we've decided this ms. is not right for us. However, we wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere.

Well. Ah-yah. And so forth. I've been rejected by far bigger publishing houses than this one! Yeah! I will survive! Oh yes I will!
And yes, and so forth once again.

It's funny though, that this rejection struck me hard. It really did. I mean, I sincerely had no hope. They only publish like one novel a year. But still. It did. It hit and it hurt.

But here's the funny thing- I suddenly feel just like I did last summer. Anxious as hell. As if I'd been informed of a diagnosis of a dread disease in a loved one. I'll be going about my business, transferring chicks, planting seeds, taking a shower, getting ready for rehearsal and I'll realize I have this nagging oh-my-god-something's-very-wrong feeling inside.

Which I find very interesting and informative and I need to think about that and learn from it what I can.

I do acknowledge that to me, this book is a sure-fired, born-from-my-own-loins baby of my own. It may not be any damn good at all, but it's a child of mine, and took years of labor and delivery.
And this e-mail is not unlike a doctor saying, "Well, maybe someone can save your kid but it's not going to be me."

Now don't get me wrong. I KNOW the difference between flesh and blood and pen and paper. As it were. But still, you do somehow give birth to a book. It's true.

So. I'm going to be proactive with this. I'm going to figure out how to do something with it. Maybe I'll put it up on a blog, ten pages at a time and put a Pay-Pal button up too. If people like it and want to give me a buck every chapter or so- great! If not, read it for free. Or, just don't read it if you don't like it. No risk involved.

Except once again, I'll be risking something. Not expense. Just my ego. My small and very-slowly developing sense of self-worth as a writer.

Lots to think about here.

Any thoughts? I'm asking you because you're the people who read me. Who take the time to click on my blog and read it and maybe even comment, maybe even e-mail me. So if you have any ideas or thoughts, please, I'm begging you- send them along in the comments or in an e-mail.

In the meantime, I'm trying to remember why I'm feeling anxious and let it go. This is not the end of the world. Someone very wise said to me the other day, "The only thing that's the end of the world is the end of the world."

And as far as I can tell, the world is still turning.

And I am churning. A bit.



  1. I for one, think anything that comes out of your brain is worth something. I don't mean to sound stalkerish, but, oh well. I don't have a sent to my name right now, but if I did I'd be more than happy to give you a buck a chapter.

  2. Ha ha, make that "a cent to my name."

  3. Hey,

    I'm sorry... I know rejections are so very hard. I've been known to slam my husband for anything that even smells like it might contain a hint of a rejection of any kind.

    I have a book for you if you want to check it out. It's SUCH an easy/fun read. It's called DO IT! It was a huge success and nobody would publish it, so the authors had to publish it themselves. I'm sure they're retired by now on an island someplace! But the thing is not to give up.

    I'm really delighted to hear that you are continuing to find creative ways of getting your words out there. And that is the goal right? If they are out there, they will be read... so get 'em out there however you can.

    Boy will they all be humbled when you are on NPR being interviewed about your first best selling novel! Meanwhile, call or come over any ole time. We're always here. Was great to see you today.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Of COURSE it's like your baby--only you made it from your mind, as it were. Writing is deeply, intensely personal and you end up with yourself just splattered across pages (even if you write fiction) rejection of it is like rejection of YOU. So I get it.

    I'd never thought about posting chapters w/ paypal although that's really an interesting idea. Because the more people you get to pay for it, the more dollar signs you can show future publishers.

    I'm not simply being nice here, because it's not my style -but you have a talent and a gift in this. I feel like the world can benefit from your words because I feel like I myself have benefited from your words. I think you owe it to yourself (future rejection notwithstanding -you can deal with that when it gets here) to pursue it further. I really do.

  6. *sighs*

    I hate rejections. They suck.

    Maybe you can self-publish. Or publish it online and have it downloadable for a fee. Or something like that. Because I'm sure whatever it is you have to say is not only beautiful, but relevant.

    I'm sorry, Ms. Moon.

  7. I love reading your blog and I, my friend, have VIRRRRRRY good taste in authors. Please try not to feel anxious. Where is that publishing company located? We'll all go hold up signs of protest while you have a nice rest and some time with the chickens. We believe in you!

    If money isn't an issue, I'd self publish.

  8. I am sorry for the email you got.

    Really, I don't know what to say other than I think it was very brave of you to actually write the book and send it in. And even though this place said no, I am sure it is a beautiful piece of writing with all the love and care you took writing it.

    Best wishes with whatever you decide to do from here with it.

  9. You didn't want to be associated with those losers anyway.

  10. Well, you know Steph, that would be the joy of "pay what you want, what you can." Really, it's never been about the money at all. And there are far too many chapters to ask anyone to pay a buck a chapter. Believe me.

    Petit Fleur- YaYa Sisters was also first self-published. Not saying I have a YaYa Sisters on my hands here. But thank-you, sweet neighbor.

    SJ- As always, thank you for your good encouragement. You are so sweet.

    Aunt Becky- This is a book of fiction I actually started long, long ago, so not sure how relevant it is, although it deals with the eternal issues of love, abandonment, children, and drinking beer.

    Ms. Trouble- Thank-you, too. No need to picket. I did actually have an agent at one point and SHE couldn't sell the book so hell, why should I think I could?

    Nicol- See above. I actually sent the book out first to many, many agents until I got one. And then, oh well.
    It is hard to risk rejection. It really is but dammit, nothing gets accomplished if you let the fear take over.

  11. Wow... I did NOT know that about the Ya yas... I ADORE the Yayas!! I think I would have gone insane without that book the summer that I read it. (I finished it while you and Mr. Moon were in Cozumel) I was staying with the kids! Talk about irony. I think I may have even been in your bed. I'm not sure why I'm prattling like this, but I want to say one more thing.

    What Jauncho said!

  12. Juancho- Oh. But just to have a book in my hand that I wrote. Paper and ink and a cover. You know. I know you know.
    Happy birthday.

    Petit Fleur- I read it in Cozumel! While you were baby-sitting! And thank you so much for that.

  13. random thought - - get ready - - why not pay to have your novel printed in small, simple paperback style (like a playbill) and distribute it by hand (insert many ideas on local distribution)to people around you for the instant satisfaction and control you could assert over this source of anxiety about being published. Do it yourself on a smaller scale & generate buzz. Maybe even study the professional side of blogging to learn what it takes to get as wide of an audience as you choose and let it loose upon us?

  14. There's lots to think about, with this. I get that free floating axiety too - sometimes I think I look for excuses to feel it - safer to feel bad about a rejected novel than, well, all the rest. And perhaps I find that anxiety comfortable, in a horrible sort of way. You're right to look at it, poke it a bit.

    You know all the old ones about having to get hundreds of rejections.

    How many people have read the book, commented? I think those online crit groups are GREAT, you learn so much -both in terms of useful criticism and also when to stand your ground and know your idea is right.

    Would you like a reader in me?

    Maybe it needs some polishing? OR maybe it just wasn't the right house, even if you thought it was.

    I think you should try a little longer with the publishers, but also self publish through lulu or somewhere like that, and we'll all buy it and generate interest!

    Don't mess around withpaypal and chapters, go somwhere that'll print to order. No cost to you, no shipping etc.

    spamword: comin

    make if that what you will!

  15. Ms. Jo- Well, I've had fifties of rejections, at least. Maybe it's time to let it die.

  16. No way sister! This sounds an awful lot like trying to find the right therapist or partner, or any other important relationship... it just takes time and kissing a lot of frogs!

    You WILL get there.

  17. I love how you have gone into "observation mode". I find that very informative and you are brilliant enough to figure it out!

    And I must say right now: I think you are an amazing person and an AMAZING writer. I was just telling my hubby about your post that intertwined your father, granddaddy, & Mr Moon. You've got it baby. And as for your novel! I'm so thrilled to hear you are sending it out!!!!! So what about the rejection letter! They are FOOLS! FOOLS I tell you!!! I'd love to read it.

    And I love the idea about posting a chapter at a time. What an innovative idea! I'd so pay out to support the writer. Do it!!! I'm Soooooo all for it.

    You rock Ms Moon. Take the risk. You can handle it :)

    Love - Ample

  18. My suggestion (and feel free to ignore) is to start another blog, with the same title as the book. Post a chapter (or sub section of chapter) each day and WE WILL EAT IT UP.

  19. Steph- That's exactly what I'm thinking about.

  20. Ms.Moon, I suspect the anxiety came from being hit on the side of the head out of nowhere. You've been writing away here, so open and thus, vulnerable, and that whack came out of nowhere, undeserved. Being rejected is just a plain old bad stroke and we have to be ready for those -- like tell me 20 things you love about it and one thing you didn't, maybe. What Juancho said! Be relieved that you don't have to try to work with those folks. Such losers.

  21. That totally sucks. I think that the pay pal account thing is a great idea! I would love to read it, really. I am sure I am not the only one.

  22. I agree with jo (just don't tell her), maybe give a chapter or two to someone who can constructively critique?

    Use the feedback to edit and craft, and try again.

    If I were a fraction as brave as you I wouldn't stop until every possible publisher had rejected me. Twice.

  23. Lopo- Yeah. They can join all the losers at St. Martin's press and Algonquin and oh, who knows what all publishers have rejected me. I'm thinking my book is the loser.

    Ms. P- Even the cheap paperback self-published things cost. I think I'd rather just post it online.
    Just look at is as a frolic.

    Lady Lemon- I sure am thinking about it.

    XBox- It's been critiqued and polished. It has. I promise you.

  24. Could you have a few printed up and put a "preview" of sorts here online, then once people get hooked (which I'm sure will be with the first line) they could order the book? Then you could use the money from those to go toward printing more.... People would get the word out about how fantastic the book is and before you know it those rejection companies would be knocking down your door to publish it. Only then it would be too late and you'd have the satisfaction of telling them so....

  25. Don't post it for free Ms. Moon. You deserve to see your name on a cover in a bookstore, and I believe it will happen. You just have to find the right publisher, which may take more time than any of us would like, but I also believe it will be time well spent. Your words are worth the extra push and pull to be published. And I know a large group of people who would be lined up to purchase a book with your name on the cover.

  26. Tiffany and AJ- I am mulling all of this over. And you know what? Maybe this book is not the one that NEEDS to be printed. Who knows?

  27. I like Tiffany's idea and AJ's point.

    Look at how great you are Ms Moon :) So much wonderful feedback & support & we've read your writing! So our opinions count big time. Very cool huh? :)


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