Thursday, 13 July 2017

If you're not ready for rejection, you're not ready to submit...

...has become a personal motto this year. I am so ready for rejection, I can even share it with you.

I get lots of nice feedback, usually along the lines of "it stood out but...". There's always a but. What follows that seems most often to be a variation on either "this isn't quite right for our list" or "this isn't something we feel we could get behind" and that is, of course, all fine. Other feedback seems to suggest that my work is not commercial enough, and that the story in question doesn't make the reader care passionately enough. Not so fine.

A common thing to say to struggling writers in submission purgatory is "well, Carrie was rejected 30 times before things took off for Stephen King" and that's true. The accepted response to such well-meaning platitudes is to nod and force a smile. The real response should be to point out that most struggling writers are not Stephen King (and whatever you think of him, he undeniably knows how to craft a page-turner), and that the publishing landscape has changed immeasurably since the early '70s. But on we go, regardless: nod and smile.

Since the 19th of December last year, I have so far made 36 submissions of which 58% have been rejected and 31% have elapsed, that is to say the "if your haven't heard from within n weeks you're not going to" category. A precious 11% - four submissions - can still be considered "live" but only because those agents don't have a "haven't heard" category...

But onwards - I gave myself a timescale for Drawn To The Deep End, and have a self-publication fallback plan if that timescale elapses without success. And for the novella in progress, working title Nudge (a title which will change, by the way), I have novella competitions that I want to enter.

Better get writing then.