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Author Topic: Rejections and acceptance issues  (Read 3989 times)

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Rejections and acceptance issues
« on: June 04, 2017, 07:56:07 AM »
Anddd... I've just been rejected by another online publisher. Submitting to a smaller publisher thinking that it'll raise my chances is pretty much no good, I guess.  :-\

I'm still new to all of this, so this is only my third rejection so far. I've got 997 more rejections to go for the "Fail a thousand times to succeed on the thousand oneth" (as quotes go) achievement I reckon.

How about everyone here? How many times have you been rejected, and are there any times that stung worse than the others? Are there any extra pointers/ tips I should take into consideration on submitting my works to publishers?   

Offline Steve Harrison

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2017, 08:29:54 AM »
I'm pretty sure I stacked up well over a thousand rejections before I was accepted, but I always thought I was publishable and eventually I was right.

There's no real answer to your question. I did a lot of research into targeting publishers who I thought would be a good fit, but really it's a numbers game and ten rejections can be for ten different reasons. You are looking for that one person who appreciates your brilliance!

One thing I did do was go back and thank the publisher after each rejection and ask if there was a specific reason for saying no. Very few responded, but their feedback was excellent and I kept writing and improving.

My only other piece of advice is to follow the publisher's submission requirements to the letter and always present your work professionally. If they don't like the writing/story, that's fine, but you do not want them to be offside before they start reading or, indeed, throw it out unread because the writer hasn't read their requirements.

Every rejection hurt, but I told myself that each one took me one rejection closer to acceptance.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 08:49:53 AM by Steve Harrison »

Offline Nora

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Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2017, 09:03:37 AM »
Got about five or six rejections? On hindsight, I was NOT ready. My writing wasn't half as mature as it is now. I was rushing the process.
Being with a small publisher comes with a load of problems as well, be warned. I'm realising that a lot more now that I work in a big bookseller.
You may write a cool book, but if we don't have big deals with your publisher, then we might not ever get your book, or we might receive one, and not keep it on rolling stock (meaning keeping none on shelf and waiting for people to order it in). But better be published anywhere, to get more consideration afterward too right?
Tough deal.

The one that hurt the most was a story written just for the last months of tor.com open subs. Waited almost a whole year for a curt No.
what to do about it? Nothing. Learn to accept it as part of what writing is. Rejection MIGHT be a judgement on your writing (you always need to get better) but not always. Just keep at it and try to not invest too much sensitive pride. If you truly believe in a piece of work, keep offering it.
it wasn't the no, it was the waiting time that hurt.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 07:28:13 PM by Nora »
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Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2017, 09:39:33 AM »
it want the no, it was the waiting time that hurt.

True words, it would've felt much better if the publishers just give you a curt no two days after that, like how Clarkesworld magazine does it. At least we wouldn't have to wait just for the no. Although I do understand that they needed lots of time to process the tons of submissions they received each day.

@Steve Harrison I emailed the publisher back asking for the specificities of the rejection, stating that it could help me improve on my further works. Hopefully they will give me back a reply. Thank you for the advice, anyhow!

Offline Nora

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Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2017, 10:20:02 AM »
Wasn't*

Sorry, something is wrong with my phone, and now it doesn't track what I write when I'm on the website so I write blind most of the time and typos are increasing.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline AnnaStephens

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2017, 10:26:23 AM »
Rejections are always tough.

My only advice is, if you send it out to six people and it gets rejected six times, then swallow your pride and take a good, critical look at your work. Chances are, it's not quite there yet. Put it away for a few months, then reread it, and you're likely to find areas for improvement. Write it again, better, then send it back out.

Repeat.

I got rejected 36 times before I got my agent. After every batch of submissions I rewrote the entire book, so those rejections happened over a period of decade. When it's stretching on like that, you either continue to believe in that piece of work, or you accept it isn't right and you start a new project. Most people have three or four failed novels in their history before they get published. I have about eight - it's just they're all versions of the same novel.

I took the view that rejection meant the book wasn't good enough, rather than it wasn't right for the publisher. That drove me to make the book better every time. Laborious, but ultimately worth it.

Good luck!

Anna

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2017, 10:53:24 AM »
Wow, thank you so much for the advice, @AnnaStephens! 36 times, and a whole rewrite of your novel after that, that must take really a lot of preserverance and willpower on your part, and also an endless belief on the strength of your novel.  :o   After thinking about it, I think that my piece is not quite there yet in terms of quality wise. I will continue to improve and hone on my writing styles, and hopefully one day I can get a novel successfully published too!  :)

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Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2017, 12:13:50 PM »
I think the important bits have been said, but I do want to underline that the most important characteristic of an aspiring novelist is grit. We get knocked down a lot and the only way to get to the finish line is to get back up. And because our craft is solitary, it can often feel like we have to do it on our own. So it's good to come in here and vent your feelings. You are not alone!

And the number of people who have knocked out a bestseller on their first try number exactly zero. Some have made it big a lot faster than others, but that's down to nothing other than luck. And if you rely on luck then you might as well be buying lottery tickets.

So keep up the hard work, that's what will get you there in the end!

As for your current project, it's always good to leave it resting every now and again. Put it aside for a month or two and work on something else, then come back with fresh eyes.

Oh, and if you want some honest, down-to-earth critique, I'm happy to look over the first chapter for you.
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Offline AnnaStephens

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2017, 12:28:58 PM »
And don't forget, 36 rejections is nothing, really. Pierce Brown of Red Rising fame was rejected more than a hundred times! It sounds soul-destroying - and it can be - but you have to keep believing and keep working. It's the only way to do it.

It's one of the toughest gigs to get into, and an awful lot of people give up and self-publish. I always think when I hear that happen - your book was rejected for a reason. You need to know what that reason was. If it was rejected because of quality, then it will never do well as a self-pub. If getting it published is your end goal, then don't even bother trying the trad route, because your goal is simply to say "I published a book". If writing quality fiction is your end goal, then don't self-pub when you fall at the first trad hurdle. Hone your craft.

Rant over  ;D

Offline Steve Harrison

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2017, 01:03:50 PM »
It's very hard to make assumptions based on rejection. I'm pretty sure the earlier versions of my novel fell short because they weren't good enough. But I submitted my final let's-give-it-one-more-go draft to ten small publishers, each of which I believed - and still believe - were a good fit. I got four rejections and no replies from 5 more, yet the remaining publisher bought the novel.

The book got very good reviews and secured me an agent, yet nine out of ten rejected the same draft.

I was convinced this was the draft that would sell, but I consider myself very fortunate to connect with a publisher who agreed. If all ten had passed I would still be unpublished and wouldn't know if they didn't think it was up to scratch, they didn't consider it right for them or the reader simply wasn't impressed. I would be left with a publishable book but not know it.

My point - excuse the rambling - is that if you can improve your writing to a point where you can assess your work objectively and believe it is good enough to be published, there may very well be a publisher and/or agent out there who will invest in you. The hard part is finding them!

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2017, 03:37:20 PM »
@Steve Harrison Thank you so much for the advice on asking the publisher on the specificities of their rejection! The publisher just gave me back a reply, and it help me to clearly see the points that still needs improving and strengtening in my story, and many changes that I could introduce into any other stories in the future. That in itself helps a ton. In addition, I also felt much better about the rejection, and felt more focused on poits at which I can improve in my writing in the future!  :D

Offline JRTroughton

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2017, 10:00:05 PM »
I'm an oddity. The first story I submitted anywhere won a competition and was published in an ebook anthology. I sold to Shimmer 4-5 stories later. I've sold little since.

I'm under no illusions. There was a lot of luck in my early success. I've written about 15 short stories in total over the past 3 years and am trying to find my *ahem* voice. Some of them are awful. I'm trying lots of things. Failing. Getting things wrong. Getting better (hopefully). Failing again. Always aim for the top markets or publishers though. From experience, selling something to a market at the lower end of the scale will always leave you wondering if it could have placed somewhere more prestigious.

I still haven't written a novel. They're just so bloody long. Even accomplishing that demands huge respect.

The biggest stings have come from critique rather than from publishers. Publishers usually just say 'It's not for us' whereas a critique actually digs in the knife and wiggles it around a little, trying to cut out the Bad Stuff™. It hurts...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 10:01:59 PM by JRTroughton »

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2017, 10:31:42 PM »
I've stopped keeping track of short story rejections - for they are many! They ones that hurt the most for me have been the times it gets to the final round of consideration before, ultimately, getting rejected. Argh, so close!

Novel-wise I had a fair few rejections before I got my agent. You just have to keep trying. This game is so subjective.


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Offline ChirpyAnn

Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2017, 04:29:56 PM »
I submitted my first novel to agents on February 1st of this year and was rejected by all of them. Around 15.

I shelved it and started working on something new, that is in the beta reading stage now, but that first novel popped into my head last week and I had an epiphany moment. Those 6 months distancing myself from the MS helped me see how utterly blah my world was. At some point I plan on reworking it and resubmitting.

You'll get there, just maybe not with this project and maybe not with this project, right now.

Good luck! Keep going!  :)
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Rejections and acceptance issues
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2017, 09:30:47 PM »
My writing and rejection history...

I had an urban fantasy novel that I slung around a whole different bunch of agents, and didn't get anywhere with it. I gave up on for the moment and started writing short stories in the same universe, thinking that if I could get some of them published it might generate a bit of word of mouth which might make my novel more appealing to an agent. I got a few short stories published, although not for anything more than semi-pro payments at best. I still wasn't trying with the novel yet, I didn't think it was worth it.

Then I ended up giving an author called Luke Scull feedback on the Authonomy website, when that was still a thing, and then he got an agent, and then he got a book deal, and he asked me to still give him feedback even after he took his novel off the website because it was now under contract, and then he thanked my very much for all my help and asked me if I wanted him to put in a good word with his agent for me in exchange.

I had to think about that one for a bit.

(no I didn't)

I was put in contact with the agent and sent him my novel. He read it and told me that while he liked my writing, the novel wasn't one we could take to publishers. So I wrote a new novel - same characters, same world (that I'd been working on for years), new story. When we were happy with it we sent it out to all the publishers and got various rejections, sometimes with comments and feedback, sometimes without (and they were confusing: one praised the fact that it wasn't set in London, because all British urban fantasy is; one criticised the fact that it wasn't set in London, because all British urban fantasy is). And then one publisher (Del Rey UK) was interested and I met the editor, and it went forward, and it went forward, and it went to the final meeting where they'd decide on whether or not they'd want it... and the money people said no. What was fed back to me was "we like the book, and we'd have taken it, but we already have three urban fantasy novels and we don't want any more until we see how the market reacts to them. Please let us know what you write next".

So I talked to my agent and said "I have all manner of ideas for what I *could* write next. What's most likely to sell, because bugger going through all this again for something no one wants to buy". So he did a bit of research and talked to Del Rey, and came back with a list of the sorts of things they'd likely be interested in, and I looked down the list and saw one and went "...I reckon I've got something that more or less matches that". Which I didn't really, I had a title and a vague plot device, and two main characters. But I worked on it for a month, and I wrote a synopsis, and then I wrote the first half of a novel, and then we submitted it (because Del Rey UK had indicated that they'd accept a partial submission as they already knew I could write and finish a novel), and then two months later I got signed to a two-book deal, for Dark Run and what would become Dark Sky. For something I'd spent six months on creating, total. When the thing I'd been working on for *years* had been rejected, not because it wasn't any good, but because there was too much like it already out there.

So there you go.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 09:33:09 PM by Mike Brooks »
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