Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love Thy Rejection, Author

Yesterday night I received another rejection letter form a Canadian publishing house that I already forgot I have been writing to. I felt guilty: these people, who have tons of submissions on their hands, found time to write me back, while I completely and utterly forgot about my single project! Yes, it was a rejection, but still if you think how many agents and publishers write you back only if they are interested, that was awfully nice of them.

So this morning I finally started to do what I should be doing months ago: sending out submissions to USA agents.

This is a third time in my life when I am looking for a publisher. So now I think even if I am not a bona fide professional writer, but I am already become a professional in submitting books for publishing. I know rules and etiquette, but most important I know the secret laws that for some reason never were told. I have some wisdom to spread. For example: the book doesn’t need to be good to get published and vice versa. No, seriously: being a bad writer with lousy manuscript is not an excuse to not getting published.

Publishing world is not fair and sometimes it’s good for you. My first novel was very weak and I got it into a very good publishing house where I met an excellent editor who basically made me a writer. My second book was actually pretty good, but it was published by Shithole Yellow Press that butchered it.

Actually, the way publishers and agents choose manuscripts is pretty similar to how a reasonable woman buys clothes. Girls, you know what I mean: sometimes you see something that you absolutely LOVE, but you don’t buy it, because you can’t afford it or this thing doesn’t go with anything in your closet. So you go and buy another thing, maybe not so exiting, but practical, that can give you good mileage. Same with manuscripts: it is a matter of personal taste, but it is also a business decision.

If you got rejected it doesn’t necessarily mean your book was bad: look at all these really shitty books in the stores that weren’t rejected. There are many reasons, and the most common are:

1) You sent your submission to a wrong place. That extremely wide genre frame that publishers and agents mention on there web-sites don’t say a lot about their real preferences. You are still sending your silk yarn to the brick factory and wonder why they don’t want it?

2)Your pitch sucks. Normally, you start with sending out submissions with a pitch with or without a synopsis and a fragment. If they like it, they ask you to send the whole manuscript. And if all your rejections come after the initial submission – there is a good chance that there is something wrong with your pitch. Actually, for a newcomer the main goal should be not “to get published” but “to get rejected after the reading the whole manuscript”. I actually got one for this project and I am immensely proud of myself.

These are the real reasons for a rejection; not having a talent or writing in a language that you don’t know very well are not.

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