Rejection: A Writer’s Rite of Passage

No

 

by Monique Hall

Nearly five weeks ago, I battled nerves and self-doubt but finally managed to hit send on my manuscript submissions to the editors I pitched to at the RWA Conference at the end of August. A few days after that, I participated in a Twitter pitch contest—an attempt to pitch your manuscript in 140 characters, not an easy task I might add!

If the publisher running the contest “favourites” your pitch, you are able to submit it to them and avoid the “slush pile”. My pitch was “favourited” and so I submitted to a third publisher. Since then, I have received rejections from my first two submissions and am waiting on the third.

The first rejection did not beat around the bush. It read along the lines of “thank you for submitting your manuscript. Unfortunately we will not be accepting it for publication and this is why…” I was then given three very clear reasons why it wasn’t being accepted. In short, it had to do with point of view, exposition and character development.

Now, I’ll admit there was a slight deflation when the word “unfortunately” jumped out at me and started flashing neon, but to be honest, it wasn’t wholly unexpected. I’ve only been writing for two years and I’m under no illusions that I’m a grand master in the running for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

I was, however, totally wrapt with the feedback I was given, especially since learning that it’s not so common and should be considered an indication that the editor sees potential. I’m so incredibly grateful to be given professional advice on how to improve the manuscript as I was at quite a loss on how to do this prior to submission.

The second rejection was not quite so comprehensive, though the editor was very encouraging, saying I had “a very assured style that is super engaging and fun and lively to read”. Her reason for passing on the manuscript was that their rural romance list has reached saturation point. A valid reason to reject, particularly if there’s still room for improvement.

Granted, there’s still one publisher to hear from, though I promise not to be completely depressed if it is also a rejection. Since finishing the manuscript, I’ve written a novella (A Healing Hand) and two short stories, and it is blindingly obvious to me that my writing is improving.  What I can promise, is that I’ll be revisiting the manuscript and ruthlessly reworking it.

So, to my readers, my apologies…you’ll be waiting a bit longer to get your hands on A Place to Belong.

And to my fellow aspiring authors, if there’s one piece of advice I can give if you’re preparing your first submissions, it would be to remember that it takes time to hone your craft and learn to be a good writer. You can’t wake up one morning and be a brilliant brain surgeon and the same goes for being a writer.

Does this mean you don’t submit? No. But don’t be precious. Take the advice of professional editors on board and learn to be objective about your work. Be proactive: take courses, network with other authors, ask questions and learn to be a better writer. The teacher in me just has to say, take responsibility for your own learning! No doubt, the hard work will pay off in the end.

 

 

Guest post contributed by Monique Hall, a small town contemporary romance author. She enjoys feel-good movies and soppy romance novels with “happily-ever-afters.”


The Insider Chipmunk ThreatThe Insider Chipmunk Threat

The Insider Chipmunk Threat is the satirical story of a secret-squirrel agent named Nickel (codename: Nutmeg), who transfers from the Furry Bureaucrats of Investigation to the Dynamic Secret-Squirrels Intelligence Alliance to assist his former mentor, Agent Cinnamon.
Upon arrival, Agent Nutmeg quickly realizes that Agent Cinnamon struggles to combat the ever-growing Insider Chipmunk Threat: a counterintelligence initiative that looks to find government employees under the influence of the evil chipmunks. Together, the agents must battle corruption to thwart cunning mouse contractor, Marjorie, from her evil attempts to sabotage their investigation. Can they stop her in time?


 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Rejection: A Writer’s Rite of Passage”

  1. Thank you for sharing this insightful post. Sometimes we jump into things thinking we’ll be the next overnight sensation, but this path takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I’ve been shut down plenty of times, but when you love what you do, you’re able to get back on the horse and continue to fight for what you believe in.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! Rejection is an opportunity for refinement. I know this has Growth Mindset written all over it, but I truly believe it. Best wishes to you. I’m still writing and have connected with a self publisher– though I’m not sure I made the right decision. :/

    Like

  3. Congrats on being brave enough to submit your manuscript! Take heart–it took me several years of rejections and rewrites to finally get published.
    My biggest surprise was how supportive romance publishers were in their rejection letters. Yes, it was terrifying to submit my manuscript and painful to get the rejections but, like you found, they often provided honest and useful feedback. Contests are also a great way to get feedback (www.vfrw.com/Shelia).
    There are SO MANY elements to writing a good book, and you have no idea what you don’t know until a professional points it out. Then you can fix it. Keep writing. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree with this post. One of the things I do not like about submitting stories, is that I find many times I just get a form rejection letter. I love it when people give me feedback. As a writer new to the craft, I am trying to improve my writing and find the right voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having recently finished the first draft of my first novel, I was asked, “What’s the next step?”

    “Well,” I said, “I wait for feedback from my friends who are willing to give it in exchange for me buying them beer and dinner. Then I revise. Then I wait for more feedback on the new revision, then revise again. I do this until I’m so sick of looking at the thing that I start submitting it to publishers, at which point I am roundly rejected and begin questioning my life decisions.”

    I said it partly in joke, partly in sincerity. I’ll never stop submitting and working on my writing, but I definitely have moments of questioning it. Being a writer really does require developing a thick skin.

    Liked by 1 person

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