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Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

What rejection does to a writer

I get asked a lot to talk about rejection. Do I still get rejections, how do they affect what I do, etc.

I guess if Stephen King can bare all about his rejection letters in On Writing, I can do it, too. (If you haven't read that one you should, it's awesome.)

Hi, my name is Julia, and loathe rejection letters.

I used to get a lot of them when I first started out. Well, in the great scheme of things, I had what, a 75% acceptance rate, which is pretty good, but it seemed like I got hundreds. I was writing a lot of erotica back then, not romance, and the market was tough to break into pre-ebook.

Nowadays, I mostly write to deadline on pre-contracted stories. So my rejections have become a tiny percent of what I do. I think that's why, when I get one, it jars me way harder than it used to. The latest one was harsh because it was for an erotica shorts anthology, and I got an immediate (literally five minutes after I sent it) rejection saying, nice, well-written story but the sex wasn't erotic and there was no plot.

Blinks. Now, this is where the paranoia rushes in. Have I fallen out of step with what the market wants? Is it me, or is it that damned Fifty Shades of Bad BDSM syndrome? Do I rail at fate, or bash myself in the head for not working hard to make a plotty tale with lots of dripping body parts. Wait, since when did erotica, especially the kind of literary fun I was going for, require a plot? Arrrrrgh. I can go in agonized circles for hours.

See, this is where I prove that all of us writers have a little special snowflake in us, even though I WORK in publishing and know that not all stories fit all anthologies. I've had to be the editor who took a perfectly good story and turned it down because it wasn't what the overall book demanded. But this is MY story, and someone didn't want it. *sob*

Now, how does it affect what I do? In this case it means I slap a nice hot cover on it and self-pub it as a short on Amazon (sometime next week). In other cases, I re-write as the editor suggests and resubmit. And sometimes it means that story will never see the light of day again, because honestly, it just wasn't up to snuff.

In the end, though, I'm still Julia, and I still hate rejection letters.

So, now you know ;)




Katherine Halle said...

Thanks for this post! It was very insightful. And Wow FIVE min? Did they even have time to read the story?

Julia said...

I'm not sure. No specific enough comments to tell, but it still makes me cringe ;)