Thursday, April 21, 2011

R- Right Round Baby Right Round...

Like a record baby when you go down down...  and I am just right back where I started. 

You think rejection gets easier.  And in a way, it does.  I barely blink when I get a query rejection.  That’s a superficial rejection really.  The agent wasn’t up for the idea.  They aren’t taking on paranormals or supernaturals or whatever I’m trying to sell them. Or they’re in an ‘MG’ phase and not really looking for YA, even though it says YA on their website. 

Whatever.

The problem is, the deeper you go into this process the bigger and more painful the rejection gets.

You get a request for the first 30 pages and you think ‘now the agent is going to get a real sense of your writing- the story, and where it’s going.  You hope and pray it’ll be enough.

You get rejected. 

And it stings.  A lot.  But after three or four of these, you learn to stop feeling hopeful when you get a partial request.

But what happens when after the first 30 pages, they want even MORE!!?  How about a FULL request??  Now you’re hopping up and down-  you know the story gets really rolling, the agent must be attached to the characters by now and the ending rocks!

You get a rejection.

And not a ‘this and this is what turned me off’ type of rejection.  Oh no - not even a bone thrown, just a basic form rejection with a little detail here and there to prove they actually read (some) of your stuff.

That, my friends, is the worst rejection.  Because it makes you question everything.  If an agent read the stuff you were so sure would hook them and they still didn’t want it, where does that leave you?  You can’t move forward because you don’t know what it is that made them reject you.  By now, you’ve had the thing critiqued and beta read into oblivion and no one can seem to tell you what’s wrong with it.

For me, after a couple rejections like that, I just stopped believing. 

That’s right.  I can honestly say at this point, I don’t believe I’ll ever be traditionally published.  It’s like believing in Santa Claus.  It’s a nice idea, but old Saint Nick is not gonna show up under my tree. 

That doesn't stop me from putting the tree up every year…because that’s just what you do.

I’m doing this…the blog, the queries, the writing- completely without faith.  Or hope.  What no one tells you is that rejection sucks it all out of you eventually until you wonder constantly ‘Why?  Why do I even bother continuing?’

I still ask myself that question every day.  Every time I send out a new query to an agent.  Every time I sit down in front of my computer to write.  I don’t know why I keep going anymore.  I just do and try not to think about how much of a failure I am.  And I guess that's all you can really do in the end.  Just keep going.

*CQG*
  

37 comments:

Gina said...

No Katie, don't lose hope! Someday you'll be Creepy Published Author, I just know it.

If you ever need a spare beta, I'd be happy to take a look at your stuff. Not that I'm any more knowledgeable or closer to publication than you are, but you never know what a fresh pair of eyes might see.

Laura Pauling said...

I agree with Gina. The hope might be gone for right now b/c getting rejected on fulls with a form and no feedback or reason is one of the hardest things to experience! Ever! It could mean a lot of things: you haven't found the right agent, your writing isn't quite there yet, or you haven't hit that right idea at the right time. Yes. Keep going. Keep learning. and I promise, you'll swing back around. You are in the discouragement phase of querying - I promise it gets better!

Jessica Bell said...

Sweetie, why don't you try small presses? It really isn't a cop out. Maybe your writing isn't 'pop' enough for mainstream? Maybe it's got an edge that a small press would want to snap up in an instant! And if you do get pubbed by a small press, then you can query with a really DECENT pub credit, and sales figures to back you up and make those agents WAKE up. :o)

Katie Mills said...

Thanks Jess, I am looking into it. There was a small press that looked right up my alley on Operation Awesome last week. They open in June and I'm def gonna query them.

Lauracea said...

Yes, go for small presses, but definitely don't give up on your queries. One day the call will come. I'm with a small press just now and at last I can say, "I'm a published author". It's worth it, believe me.

Sarah said...

I had a few partial-to-full requests that ended up as Rs, and I agree, they hurt the most. You've heard this a million times, but I will tell you again, this business is subjective. For example, one of those partial-to-full rejections was because the agent thought the MC was "too rough" and the fantasy elements were "overdone". But I ended up with 5 offers of rep from agents who loved the voice and the worldbuilding. So go figure. And once you get through this, it's the same thing with editors. So sorry, Katie, I know it's tough, no matter what we say.

Talli Roland said...

I know how hard it is to keep going; you feel sometimes that your'e groping your way in a dark cave, just reaching out and HOPING you'll grasp on to something, but you keep bumping into things and ending up bruised and battered... Oh God, I know.

But. There's a reason why you keep going. And that is because deep down inside, maybe so deep now it's hard to find, you love to write. And that's what you need to hang on to. That's what you can control.

I know so many successful authors who took YEARS to be published, but they just kept going. And they got there!

Old Kitty said...

Perseverance! Perserverance! Perseverance!! Keep at the craft, keep at it, don't put a time limit on yourself. It may take weeks, months, years - perservere, you'll get there!! :-) Take care
x

Wes said...

I'm going to respond to your song-themed post with my own song theme-response:

"Don't stop...believin'!"

Cause Journey makes it all better.

Wes

Nicole L Rivera said...

I second all the above comments. You have real talent!! If I were an agent I'd have signed you all ready (but, alas, I'm not). Don't give up hope. Have faith in your abilities. If you ever need an extra beta I'd be happy to help. Whatever you do don't give up hope and faith, just going through the motions isn't enough. You need to believe in yourself!

We believe in you Katy, go kick querying buttay!

Katie Mills said...

awe, thanks you guys. Don't worry, I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. But I want to be honest about what rejection does to you. Positive mojo doesn't do much against the hopeless feelings but I can keep going. That much I can do! Thanks so much for your comments!

Eric W. Trant said...

Keep writing is all you can do.

The most frustrated writers I see are the ones with a single piece they can't get published.

Write something else. If that doesn't work, write something else.

Keep writing. It may be your first, fifth, or tenth book that gets published, but keep writing. Every author published and non has unpublishable crap in their own personal slush pile.

- Eric

Kelly Breakey said...

Rejection does suck, but you are still writing and that is what counts. So chin up and keep Reaching for the Stars. One day you might actually snag one.

Jennifer said...

You are making me very sad! Do not give up...rejection does suck but if I have learned anything from reading author/publishing blogs it is that persistence is the key to getting what you want. You can do it! We all believe you can because the truth is we need you to believe we can too! Chin Up!

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry Katie. I know how discouraging it can be, but please don't give up. I think you have stories to be told that are worth reading, and I've read enough of your writing to know that the way you tell them is fun too.

There is nothing wrong with feeling down about it, but I'm glad to hear that you think keeping going is the way to go. The only way to guarantee you never get published is to give up. I hope you don't.

Renae said...

Don't lose hope Katie! Trust me I know how hard this process is. I'm having to start over from the beginning and it is hard. Hang in there...it's just a matter of finding that perfect agent for you!

April said...

The deepest I've gotten is a 50-page request rejected, and you're right. It stings a lot more than a query rejection. And it makes sense that the deeper you go, the more heart and soul you've put into your work, the deeper the wounds from a rejection. Whoever first said that writers have to have tough skin wasn't joking!

Laura Marcella said...

You continue every day because one of these days will be THE day. The acceptance. It happens to writers every day. It really does! I see it all over Twitter and the blogosphere. Your day is coming up so keep it up, Katie!!!

Chris Phillips said...

I remember the first time I got a partial, I was already trying to move the email into my rejection folder when it dawned on me that they didn't actually reject me that time.

Ru said...

I actually don't think that's a bad attitude. If you can keep going, knowing that it's not going to work out, you at least know you're doing something you love for the "right" reasons (whatever those are.) And it's a pretty awesome feeling, knowing you have the freedom to do something you love without any other incentive.

I'm right there with you - I know it's not going to happen, but hey, that's why I have a day job, right? And I'm going to work on the self-published e-reader thing, because I'm pro gratification. :)

Good luck with the existential crisis, dude.

Kathryn said...

Oh, hang in there. I know lots of these wonderful writers who are posting here today are offering you their support and their cheers; I'm no different. Don't let doubt be your worst enemy. Hang in there and hold on to your passion for writing. :)

Beverly Diehl said...

Hang in there, Katie. I've gotten rejections (in the same week) from editors - one of whom said, loved the characters, didn't think there was enough plot, and the other said just the opposite. Enough to drive an author to drink. (Oh, wait...)

Anyway (hic)someday, it'll happen, if not with this book, then the next. Or the one after that.

This appletini's for you.

Stephanie said...

First of all, a big hug and some kind of alcoholic beverage.

Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale.

It sounds stupid, but it really does only take one person to say "yes".

I did search out an alternative to traditional print publishing and on a whim, sent my manuscript to a digital publisher. They loved it. It wasn't the start I'd imagined for my career, but it was a start.

Good luck :)

Kristie Cook said...

This is what I hate about the submissions process - it relies on your MS landing on the right person's desk at just the right time that they're looking for your particular book. It has LITTLE to do with your book, I'm sure. For every single book out there, there are people who like it and those who don't. Even bestsellers get bad ratings and reviews. And the people who say they don't like a particular book DO read and like similar books. A certain book just wasn't for them, for whatever reason. It's personal. It's subjective. It might just be a bad time in their lives and something about one of the characters rubbed them wrong because it was too close to home. Who knows?

You have to deal with this when you're published, but you're also dealing with it with agents. They're people. They're readers. Some like strawberry ice cream when you're offering chocolate. Or they might like chocolate ice cream, but only some like nuts in theirs...or they do like nuts, but right now they can't eat them because they're dating someone with an allergy. In other words, they're making decisions based on so many other factors besides your story and what they decide today might be different than what they might choose in six months.

So don't take it personally. Don't give up hope. But do write for yourself because that's when the true magic happens anyway.

Marjorie said...

Don't give up! I know you will get published eventually.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I'm sorry you're feeling down. I could tell you how many rejections so and so got and still eventually became published, but that never made me feel any less crappy.

Don't lose the love of writing because the business of publishing keeps kicking you in the teeth.

Write for yourself. You have to read the dang thing a ba-jillion times anyway, idie or traditionally published or not.

Chin up. I'm pulling for you.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Suzi McGowen said...

You know the words, "It takes a million 'no's but only one 'yes'". And so many agents and authors have said that the one trait that published writers have that unpublished writers don't have is perserverance.

I know you know all that, but maybe it helps to just hear it again :)

You'll get there. I know you can write because of your blog.

Nicole Zoltack said...

It only takes one yes, hon. I'm still waiting for mine too. It's rough and brutal but I know we'll both get there someday!

I do have some novels published through an epublisher to try to build up a readership and build name recognition so climb the ladder of publishing to traditional. Here's hoping that works!

Josh Hoyt said...

I think for me it remembering why I am writing. I wonder many times why do I blog and write when it seems without hope and then my son tells me how much he likes my novel and reads it a second time. I like the santa clause analogy you wrote. It is just like that. Just because we don't believe in Santa Clause we still believe in the joy he brings to our lives.

Lazarus Lupin said...

You are a better failure than I am, I can't even really try anymore. Good luck to you!!

lazarus lupin
http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
art and review

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

I wrote four books before I got my agent. And we're not even pitching the book she signed me on for. We will be pitching the second. Stay with it...

Anne Gallagher said...

Hey, we're both in the same boat. I got a full request off a query once. Talk about peeing my pants. She rejected me a week later with a form, but said, (are you ready for this) "The query was so good, I thought the writing would be better than it was." How's that for a bitch slap.

I'm right there with you on the small pubs. I saw the same one opening in June. And I'm wondering as well. RIght now I've got a crazy partial out, so there is some sort of hope but I'm not holding my breath. It wasn't even for the book I'm actually querying now. So who knows. This business will kill us all one way or another.

The Las Vegas Writer said...

Been there, girl. I had to force myself to move onto the next project, which turned out SO MUCH better than my first. It will get better.

Kristine Asselin said...

It's so frustrating not to know why a particular agent rejected. But if you're getting full requests, you're doing it all right! Keep going, keep learning, and most of all keep writing.

I've been where you are, and I know how it feels. It just means the right agent hasn't come along yet.

Good luck!

Shannon Lawrence said...

This probably isn't going to mean much coming from an author who is only ABOUT to begin querying, but I've been told by published authors again and again that a rejection after more was requested is to be considered a good rejection. (Yeah, I know, it basically defines oxymoron, right? Good rejection?). They say if you're getting requests at all, have hope. I hope you can find your hope again AND find the right agent for you.

Good luck with getting published and with the rest of the A to Z Challenge!

Wub2Write said...

A few years ago, regarding getting published, a non-writer friend said to me, "Maria, how bad do you want it?" My reply, "Real bad." Her response, "Then you better move your feet."

In the same conversation, she said, "You know, there's more than one way to birth your creativity."

So, I moved my feet and my co-authors and I have since been published twice by a small press.

And I'm still moving my feet and will be publishing my MG as an eBook. Several of our critique members, all excellent writers, are going ebook, too!

It's exciting! So, how bad do you want it?

Tamara Narayan said...

We are gluttons for punishment, no? I'm trying to train myself for rejection so they bounce off easier.

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