What Should Writers Do With Rejections?

October 28, 2014

Young man sitting at table and using laptop
Dealing With the Burning of Your Dreams

Because I attend a lot of writers’ group meetings, I frequently meet other people who tell me they’ve also written a book.

It happened again recently. This particular man went on to say he had been disappointed in his search for an agent to represent him.

Obviously trying to go the traditional publishing route, he had queried a respectable agent, who told him his writing was actually quite sound … but he wouldn’t represent the book.

The agent said there wasn’t a large enough market for it.

I got to read his first chapter and it wasn’t bad at all. Being the indie-author advocate that I am, we got into a discussion about self-publishing and I suggested he give it a try. He said he wasn’t sure now about any of it any more … he was reconsidering whether his work was worth publishing at all.

I left feeling very sorry for his disappointed state of mind, because it was all based on that single rejection.

Agents and editors often act as if they can predict the future, but their job is to sell books, not write them. They make judgments, not always about whether the work is good or not, but on whether they think they can sell it.

If they’re not supremely confident in their ability to do that, for whatever reason, they’ll tell you it’s not marketable and send you on your way.

And quite often they’re wrong.

Consider This
One of my favorite books, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected twenty-one times. One publisher actually called it “absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”

I have to wonder what that publisher said when Golding won the Pulitzer Prize in literature.

J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone story was rejected twelve times before being bought by Bloomsbury in London … and then only because the CEOs daughter loved it!

Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind was rejected thirty-eight times before she finally got an acceptance. It became a best seller by the time the first reviews appeared in the newspaper.

A young lady many folks still haven’t heard of, by the name of Amanda Hocking, wrote a whole series of vampire romances that were flatly rejected by publishing houses.

So, the 27-year-old writer published them herself. She sells them online as eBooks, most for 99-cents.

Now, vampire romance is not a genre that interests me but, before you walk away laughing, consider that she sells about 100,000 per month and keeps a significant percentage of the sale price. She’s now a multi-millionaire.

Ray Bradbury, another of my favorite authors, also faced numerous rejections in his career. His sales increased slowly until he finally sold a story entitled “The Lake” that actually made him cry himself when he read it. It was then he realized what so many good writers discover.

He wasn’t writing for others, he was writing for himself.

Even Stephen King, who today could sell virtually anything he writes, once collected rejection letters. He’s quoted as saying he “pounded a nail into the wall” in his room to collect them.

He also went on to say eventually “the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejections impaled upon it. So I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

Whether you’re still trying to go the traditional route, or finally planning to immerse yourself in self-publishing, those are comments well worth remembering: Write for yourself.

Impale the rejections on a spike and keep writing.

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You can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

My Television Interview

October 19, 2014

What it actually looked like in the studio

Earned Media
In an effort to develop some of the earned media I’ve talked about before, I was recently interviewed by Independence Television, one of the nearby local cable channels, for a program called “It’s a Good Day When…” hosted by Lavonne Upton.

The whole segment is about 24-minutes long (fair warning).

Although the first several minutes of it are introduction, Lavonne asked some very insightful questions for about twenty minutes that let me talk about the fiction I’ve written.

Several people have already asked about it, and I’ve embedded the interview into one of the pages on my web site.

But, rather than spend a lot of time here talking about it, explaining it or redirecting you, I thought I’d just go ahead and post it here and let everyone see it for themselves.

I’m Not a Kardashian
Given the state of our media today, I’m sure the kind of attention I would really like to generate would only be available if I had been willing to run naked through the mall, shouting my name and waving a banner with my book titles on it.

The video of my arrest doing something like that might even have had a chance to go viral.

I would have been sure to scream out my name and tell everyone the titles of the four books I’ve written … as they handcuffed me and dragged me away.

But that might have been extremely hard to explain to my kids and grandkids (not to mention my wife and mother, or any of my friends in the neighborhood).

So this was a much safer route to take. The most I’ve had to explain was to someone who thought I’d dyed my hair for the interview (I didn’t, but I certainly wish I’d had some makeup for the dark circles under my eyes).

With any luck, a lot of people will still see it. At the very least, I hope they’ll tell all their friends about it and encourage those friends to tell all their friends, too. It shouldn’t take that many iterations to have contacted a whole town.

Maybe some few of them will buy a book.

====================

You can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

====================

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

 


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