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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Singing the Rejection Blues

I got another rejection today. {sigh} In a way, it's disappointing. In a way, it's a relief. I absolutely HATE the waiting (see earlier rant). It's like standing on the platform, my head on the chopping block, waiting for the ax to fall.

When I started writing, I was one of those foolish people who thought I'd write a book, submit it, get published and become the next Nora. Oh, the ignorance of an enthusiastic newbie author :)

Not that it makes any difference, but now that I know how hard it is to break into publishing, I wonder if I would’ve chosen this career. Had I known how unlikely it was to achieve the kind of success I was dreaming of, there’s a good chance I would’ve chosen a different path.

I’ll admit, I didn’t start writing because I had this urgent inner drive to write. While I had dabbled in fiction on and off for most of my life before the summer of 2001, I’d never considered becoming an author. Writing was a hobby. Then we hit some financial troubles and I was faced with a choice: find something I could do out of the house to generate some income or kiss my dream of staying home with my kids goodbye. My hubby needed help. He couldn’t make enough money to support our large family by himself.

And so, I sat down one day and started writing a book. I can’t remember how far I was into it when I stumbled upon iPublish, the internet writers’ community founded by Warner Books. I posted a chapter for consideration (side note: posted chapters were displayed in a public forum and readers/fellow authors scored and critiqued them. High scoring chapters were then considered for publication by Warner editors for ebook publishing). It was a brutal environment for a newbie like me. Some folks scored great submissions low, simply to knock them out of the running. My work was torn to shreds, not necessarily to knock it out of the running. It was torn to shreds because it sucked. Of course, being the newbie I was, I had no idea it was so bad. That was my work. My future NY Times bestseller these people were calling trash. I was devastated.

That should’ve clued me in to what a difficult industry publishing was. But I thought it was just the competitive environment bringing out the worst in people. Surely it wasn’t like that everywhere.

Eventually, Warner decided iPublish wasn’t worth the resources they were pouring into it. They closed up and I found myself a co-owner in a critique group. It wasn't a perfect replacement but it was something.

It was then, as I worked, revised, submitted, and collected rejections that I slowly came to appreciate how unlikely it was that I’d ever see my dream come true. I knew I wasn’t going to be an overnight success. If I was ever going to see a book on the NY Times bestseller list, it was going to be a slow, painful climb.

Yes, I had a more realistic perspective now. I nearly quit. My hubby wasn’t supportive. He felt I was wasting my time. And I was neglecting other obligations to write.

Then, I received an email from a small press I’d submitted to. (It’s ironic, but it seems that when things look the bleakest, I get good news. God lets me suffer a little before dishing out the good stuff, I guess, so I’ll appreciate what I’ve been given. That’s my take on it.) My book, Raphaela’s Gift had been accepted for publication. I knew I wouldn’t make a gazillion dollars selling to a small press, but it was a start. I enthusiastically accepted the contract.

That book hasn’t sold many copies, although it’s a lovely, heart-warming story. But it did take me to the next level. I received a contract for Tempting Fate from Ellora’s Cave a few months later. Whether the acquiring editor at Ellora’s would admit it or not, I’m convinced the fact that I had another book published made her see me in a different light. I was no longer the unpublished newbie I’d been only a few months earlier.

Fast forward a couple years, and I’m still plugging away. I’ve had my moments when I’ve considered shutting down the computer and walking away. There are so many aspects of publishing that frustrates me. The waiting KILLS ME. I can’t stand tooting my own horn so my efforts at marketing are pathetic. But I find I can’t quit. There’s still a part of me that keeps dreaming. Maybe none of my current projects are destined to get me on that NY Times bestseller list, but there’s a romantic suspense premise I’ve been toying with that might get me somewhere...and the paranormal erotica series...or maybe that time travel I’ve been itching to write.

{sigh} Looks like I’m in for lots of waiting, lots of frustrations and lots of rejections :)

Anyone else want to sing the Rejection Blues with me?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:27 AM |


Commented by Blogger JENNA:

I thought once I sold once, it would get better. After all, my goal was to have A book published. I thought I'd be happy with one. Yeah, right. Now I'm back to rejection collecting, and hating every frustrating minute of it. Waaah! OK, back to work. The only way out of rejection purgatory for me is another sale.

4:33 PM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:

I hear you! It's almost worse, actually, because now you're expecting to be able to sell. So the rejections are MORE frustrating. I thought once I had a contract other editors would be more anxious to snatch up my work. Not happening :(

Rejection purgatory. I LOVE that :)

HUGS and sympathy, Jenna!

4:38 PM 
Commented by Blogger Vivienne King:

I'm sorry Tawny. The way I feel right now, I wouldn't mind finding out all 10 houses rejected me at once. Although it would be a serious my book, it's better to know. At least it brings closure and helps you move on, though I agree it's never fun.

And hun, don't worry. There's more sales for you. Let's hope it doesn't take 4 years in between like what happened to my friend...but once she broke out of that interlude it's been all roses since. :)

So there's a bit of silver lining. It will happen, just gotta hit the market at the right time and unfortunately that can be a serious crapshoot sometims, trust me I know. LOL ;)

chin up, you're doing great. :D

8:40 PM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:

Thanks Vivienne!

Today has been a really rough day :( Your support means SO MUCH. You're a real sweetheart!

9:05 PM 
Commented by Blogger Loribelle Hunt:

Rejections do suck. Funny, now that I've sold a couple things to Cobblestone I'm even more afraid of the whole submit/wait/reject cycle lol. I have something for EC just sitting on my computer. I can't bring myself to hit send lol! You're right once you sell, you expect it to come easier. Hang in there. You're doing great. :)

10:11 AM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:

Thanks Lori :) You ladies are so sweet.

Good luck with those submissions.

10:28 AM 

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