Thursday, October 25, 2012

Writing A Novel: Rejection Blues

If you're writing a book or are thinking about writing one, I can give you one guarantee: There will be at least someone out there who doesn't like your work.

If you plan to send a manuscript to agents or editors, be prepared for this fact, because they're going to reject you harder than any unrequited love ever did. Don't take it personally. They're just doing their jobs and are looking at your idea as a possible business investment and not just as a form of entertainment.

When my first round of rejections from agents rolled in, I took it really hard. There was one agency who'd liked my manuscript enough to ask for it in its entirety. I got my hopes up ... and it was sent back with a note saying that my book started off strongly, but then went downhill and that my narrator, Melinda, was "wound too tight." Ouch! I cried for hours, thinking that my dream was over. Which was ridiculous. I'd just gotten started at this point!

I quickly grew a thicker skin and got used to the rejections. Some were form letters: "Sorry, but your book is not the right fit for our agency." Some agents were very nice about it: "You're story is great and I love your writing, but I don't have the right connections to properly sell it." Others offered some sound editing notes: "I didn't find X scene with Mel and Josh to be very realistic. You might want to work on that and then consider resubmitting."

I actually came to value the last kind of rejection. It meant that a busy agent had enough faith and interest in me to read my work and make notes on it. Plus, I was getting some valuable critiques in the process. I really tried to listen to their notes and work with them if I felt that they'd genuinely help improve my story.

Now that BAND GEEK is on Kindle, I'm gearing up for a different type of rejection: rejections from readers. Right now, my ratings on Amazon and Goodreads have been four and five stars, but I'm not delusional enough to think that all of my reviews will be that positive. SOMEONE out there is going to hate BAND GEEK. He or she will find Josh's schemes unrealistic or Mel and Josh's relationship to be lame, or will just hate band geeks in general. I don't know what it will be, but if I sell a lot of copies -- and that IS my goal -- I have to take the bad with the good. In my past job, I dealt with a lot of celebs who called anyone who was against them a "hater," but I don't want to automatically assume that about my future detractors. Our tastes vary and someone might just not like my writing.

This doesn't mean that I'm looking forward to getting bad reviews. Quite the opposite! I hope that I continue to get 4 and 5-star ratings and that everyone loves, loves, loves my work. That's what we all want as writers, right? But after already surviving some major rejections, I know that it sucks -- but it isn't the end of the world. You might even learn from them.

Please read and review REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD, now only 99 cents!

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