Rejection… Dejection


Rejection. I am terrible at Rejection and it invariably leads to feelings of Dejection. A poetic couplet of wrist slitting misery. Not literally, don’t worry. (No razor blade to hand!)

Yes, rejected again. And this time without even the warning clunk of a manuscript hitting the doormat, since it was only the query letter and it was by email and by – shock horror – standard letter. And I thought I had gone beyond the query letter stage with this one, since it has had a thorough going over by several agents and been semi-favourably reviewed, but eventually pronounced ‘not for us’.

And I should be used to this feeling, because several of my books have been turned down, but I am not. Or maybe I am, but it just gets worse and not better. It has come at an inconvenient time too, since I had a lovely few days away, was feeling quite buoyant about life, the universe and writing, but as well as the non-audible thud of the dreaded email into my inbox, my blog stats seem to have taken a huge tumble too. So this morning I am feeling somewhat squashed. More squashed than Morning Pages can lift.

Which is a shame, because it is my birthday. How old? Not telling. Old enough, as my grandmother used to say.

So I have adopted the ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’ philosophy and made a decision. I am too old, and have been at this too long to want to go through all this again. I am going to turn my back on traditional publishing and self-publish. It’s been in my mind for one of my books, but I’ve been chopping and changing my mind on this for months and have finally decided. However, this is just three days after writing on a blog comment (of an agent, oops!) that I am determined to go through the traditional route.

But I think this is a decision. So, I would be glad if you would wish me luck, because I have a feeling I will need it. And lots of tenacity and the will power to stick with social networks like Twitter, which are so time-consuming. I have just been having a conversation with Daniel Koeker of on the value of Twitter and how to make it work, which I have yet to discover. And Sean O. Murphy of I Google my own name, which turned out to be a disaster. There are thousands of people out there called Pat Wood. Male as well as female. I may have to change my name.

Remember the game: change your name to the name of your first pet plus the name of the first road you lived in. Ahem – that leads me to introduce: Spring Lansdown. P-u-lleeese, no. Sounds like an out of work burlesque artist! Maybe not that. Maybe I shall just have to attach my real name to a book and work hard at getting both out there.

Meanwhile, I will have to lean upon the shoulders of my new, but very dear blogging friends, to get over my feelings of rejection and dejection! 😦

38 responses to “Rejection… Dejection

  1. Hi, Spring! Happy birthday… that means you’re still alive and your post this morning shows you’re still kicking. I do agree that the gatekeepers of the traditional publishing world make life horrid for writers. Mea culpa! When I was a publisher, I did my share. But I think Kindle publishing with maybe print-on-demand on the side may well be the way to go. So not just good luck, but lots of good luck to you! Keep us posted… πŸ™‚ (And I may well be following in your footsteps!)

    • Horrible, isn’t it? Bit fed up… and my blog stats have fallen away too. Unloved all round today… never mind, I’ll get over it. So I think I’ll definitely be sticking myself out there on Kindle. πŸ™‚

  2. I could come out with platitudes such as ‘see the rejections as badges of honour’, or ‘think of all the great novels that were rejected many times before they were picked up (Dune for example)’; especially so, since I’m out of reach of a smack to the back of the head. And anyway you can know this to be true – but it still hurts because our work is a part of us and it feels as if we are being rejected. The truth is rejection will always hurt as long as we care about our writing and if we didn’t care it most probably wouldn’t be very good anyway. So, chin up and carry on.
    Regarding self publishing there is one book I think is a must read, which is ‘Make a killing on kindle’ by Michael Alvear. It flies in the face of received wisdom but makes so much sense. When I self publish, I’m definitely going to use his method of promotion.
    Oh and happy birthday!

    • Not given to violence, so smacks in the back of the head are off the menu. Unless you happen to be an agent, which I might reconsider….
      I know it’s all happened before, and I am not unique, but it always feels so bad.
      Thank you for the book recommendation. I will scribble down the details and rush off to buy it. Think I will need all the help I can get.
      And thank you for your good wishes. πŸ™‚

  3. Good luck, Pat – we’ve all been there. It is horrible at the time but I think over the months/years you do develop a tough skin, and as long as you don’t take it personally, you keep plodding on.
    Well, we all try to, but of course it isn’t always easy – especially when you feel you have a real winner. ( I had the same thing happen to me last week in fact – I went into my shell for a couple of days after a big, BIG rejection. Came out with an extra-reinforced tin-hat on, and full kevlar body-armour, ready for the next one… bring it on!)
    But you know, it could be just the wrong time for the right publishing house, or the right thing with the wrong publisher, or any number of horrible variations on the theme. The important thing – I’m trying awkwardly to say here! – is just NOT to give up.
    Self-publishing is great – just another string to the bow as I see it, so why not give it a try? It doesn’t discount you still going down a traditional route as well, at some point – so why not do both?

    Oh, and by the way, I am dying to read Chapter Three of Clean Death! πŸ™‚

    • My extra reinforced tin hat has taken a bit of a denting, I think. Seem to have gone back to square one on this one, which is why I am so fed up.
      Maybe I have to start again with something new, not sure. Anyway, decided to leave it all and go out to lunch, so am now fortified (squiffy) on bubbly and full (stuffed) of shell fish. Feeling much better!
      Thank you for your kind comments. πŸ™‚ Oh, and Clean Death Three is having a bit of an overhaul, but is imminent.

  4. So rude of me – I almost forgot to say, Happy Birthday!
    Hope you have a good one, Pat. You enjoy it, no matter what πŸ™‚

  5. Spring Lansdown πŸ™‚
    Doesn’t sound like a burlesque dancer to me- more like an uphill location from Lord of the Rings perhaps.
    I’d run your own name through a Thesaurus like How does Caress Arborea sound? πŸ˜€ It would put you close to the top of any alphabetical lists for sure!
    Regarding self-publishing – I’m with you. The self-appointed Gatekeepers of the literary world whole-heartedly reject new talent whilst foisting the 50 Shades trilogy upon us, followed by a smattering of similar-genre copycats, exactly the way they did with Vampire novels.
    Apologies if you enjoyed 50 shades, BTW – just an example…
    I began writing my Angel novel whilst there was a single, solitary authour on Amazon who was writing something similar. Now, with 130 query letters out and 55 rejections back (one saying that ‘we can see no market for this type of story’), there are numerous examples of this genre out there.
    So, I too, decided to self-publish.
    Be wary on the issue of formatting, though. Ryan Casey pointed me in the direction of Guido Henkel
    who explains that it can be tricky to get it right first time. I am trawling through this as I am close to uploading my work to KDP on Amazon and want to get it right.

    Sorry to hear your stats are down – after me reading everything you wrote yesterday!!
    I will endeavour to re-read them all again today if it helps…


    • This went into my spam box for some reason, so I missed it at first – which would have been a shame – Caress Arborea? I believe this is the one time I write OMG!
      Very clever.
      Actually, I am coming round to Spring… Can’t be Spring Wood though!
      Interesting that so many people are choosing the Kindle route, which is what I have been threatening off and on for ages.
      Trouble is, I still would like to have a publisher take my stuff on. Old fashioned li’l ‘ol me.
      I have not read 50 shades and have no intention of doing so. Not my scene. Quite irritated by the whole business. Just goes to show that the money men rule the publishing industry these days. Most of them have no interest in what makes a good book. Nice to see three small presses represented in the Booker short-list. None of my stuff would be Booker material in a thousand years, so I suppose if I can’t write literary and won’t write porn, I may have to self publish.
      Don’t know what happened re the stats: maybe they were a bit over-inflated for a few days and now they have settled back, not sure. Not much point in worrying about it, and I wouldn’t dream of putting you through the trauma of re-reading! Some of it is bad enough the first time!
      Thank you for your support. Much appreciated.

      • Spring Ceternal?

        A gift to your dedicated readers – the clever ones, anyway.

        (better if it’s said out loud!)

        I agree with what appears to be going on – it’s all about shifting massive stacks of books.

        I can’t give an example in the printing industry, but the original Star Trek series, planned to run for 5 years (thus the ‘five-year mission’) was cancelled after ony three because of poor ratings.
        Now, 45 years later, it’s Paramount’s biggest source of income.
        The publishing industry, like the film industry, seems to concentrate upon the ‘big-shifters’ that bring immediate gratification to the exclusion of the smaller, steady-growth writers.

        Their loss – the ePublishing industry is currently exploding because of their short-sightedness.

        I will let you know how I progress. I’m not just looking at Kindle, though. Ryan Casey has pointed me towards Smashwords and I’ve asked Candace if she thinks 48fourteen would be interested in a Brit book…

  6. Happy Birthday! If someone is writing a blog I like (as you are), I’m quite likely to buy their ebook whether they’re self- or traditionally-published. And as Anne says, self-pubilshing doesn’t stop you persevering with the traditional route.

    • You are all so lovely. And there I was feeling so blue.
      But I have picked myself up and been out to lunch, so feeling no pain, I can smile and say, yes, definitely, you are right. Down, but not out. πŸ™‚

  7. Happy Birthday Pat!!! I wish you the best of luck on your newest endeavour. As you blow out your birthday candles remember this: Wishes are dreams in motion, may all of yours carry you to happiness.

    • Thank you. A lot of lunch and a little bubbly have made me see things from a different perspective! Can’t promise it will last, but much better than earlier. πŸ™‚

  8. Happy Birthday Pat! Okay, now that that’s out of the way, down to the important stuff. I have to say, if you really are choosing to go the self-pubbing route, I’m all for it, but I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t push a little.

    Whenever I’m going on a journey and I don’t know the way, and I get lost I hit this magical moment. It’s the moment where I feel like I’ve gone too far and should turn back, but I always say to myself “Just two more miles Nathan, just two more miles.”

    It doesn’t work everytime, but more often than not, within those two miles, I’ll find whatever turnoff or destination I’m looking for.

    So it is my suggestion Pat, just two more miles. You never know, and then you can always turn around then; but like I said, I’ll be behind whatever you decide. Good luck, and the blog will come back too, I often watch my numbers dip, but I’ve decided it doesn’t matter how many people read, just that the one’s who do care.

    • Yes, I had a really iffy morning.
      But a good lunch (lots of crab and shellfish) couple of glasses of bubbly (hic! – this woman really cannot take her alcohol!) and I’m feeling a bit better.
      It’s not as it it isn’t the first time.
      I think it was the standard letter form that got to me today. Thought I was over that stage and was look forward to being asked to submit more.
      Never mind. Will heave myself back out there and try again, I suppose. πŸ™‚
      Thank you. Appreciate the support.

      • Just do what’s right for you, no matter that might be.

        • πŸ™‚ Will do.
          I am hopeless with rejection letters. Very good at telling everyone else how they happen, everyone gets them, paper the loo with them, etc.
          Me? Big gibbering heap.
          Not as if it’s the first time.
          What is really the pain is that I just want to write. Not play daft games all the time.

  9. I have to say I felt a little strange liking a post about rejection.

  10. Pat, I know how you feel.
    Years ago I had no trouble getting books published, but this time round… lovely letters but ‘can only afford to publish block-buster’ sort of letters.
    I thought they were bluffing, but when I decided to publish myself, I began to understand the number crunching. However, that didn’t put me off, and earlier this year I did self publish my book, first in physical form, and then loaded it onto the internet – or rather my printer did.

    Apparently – or he thought so – my printer told me you have to have published it as a book first – they don’t stipulate the press run, so it could be a dozen, I suppose!.
    Anyway,I went ahead, had a book publishing party, and sold plenty, then sent some publicity to several radio programmes, and had several interviews, which really got the ball rolling, and sold plenty. I’m also talking to book clubs, Unversity of the 3rd Age – we call it U3A,. Probus, and anyone else, plus local newspapers. I haven’t put it into bookshops., because they take half the profit,. and with printing taking the other half, there’s nothing left for writer or publisher, I now understand why publishers can’t afford to do small runs for books that aren’t going to be best sellers..
    I also know that publishing has never been more difficult because of the economic climate, so your rejection is probably less about your book, than about tight budgets. So don’t take it as rejection, but rather as a reflection of the economy..
    Just keep drinking pink champers and looking at life through the rose coloured champagne, and know that it’s not you and your book, but people with tight budgets worrying about their jobs!!!
    At least we can still enjoy writing and each other

    • Pink bubbles it is! Had a lovely lunch yesterday in Southwold on the harbour – live in Suffolk – at a little shack where they only do seafood – you take everything else with you. John arranged it and we arrived with a cool bag. He’d brought bubbly and bread and it was lovely.
      Felt much better after that!
      Anyway, nothing much has changed. Still the same person, still got the same hopes/wishes/dreams. Just one less person to tell them to.
      Thank you for the support. Interesting that you find it more difficult now.

  11. Good for you honey that you e decided to go down the kindle route πŸ™‚

    I know so many writers who are choosing that route now, and being blooming successful with it to boot! πŸ™‚

    Good luck honey, and you are welcome to do a guest spot over st mine when you release it πŸ™‚


  12. Keep going Pat. Self-belief is 90% of it πŸ™‚

  13. reflectionsonlifethusfar

    So sorry about the rejection! That certainly puts a damper on any birthday festivities. I’d celebrate when you’re feeling better then you can fully appreciate this belated “Happy Birthday, Pat!” πŸ™‚

    Self publishing sounds like a good way to go. I’m unfamiliar with it but aware it allows for less red tape. I hope it goes well for you. πŸ™‚ . Rejection is hard for most of us to handle. The good news is you have plans for how to move forward and are blogging about it!

    • I’m fairly unsquashable really! The person who squashes me most is me!
      But yes, there have been some lovely things popping up serendipitously out of the ether to help and I did have a good birthday – it just took a while to kick off!
      Thank you for your kind comments.
      And I’ll still be slinging stuff out there even if I do decide to self publish!

  14. Happy belated birthday! This all sound so familiar to me. I must have sent out my first book over 30 times over 5 years until I found a small independant publisher in my backyard. Many have been successful with self publishing so I wish you best of luck. (I am just catching up on the blogs I missed while I was away.)

    • Thank you – was very dejected that morning – at least for a little while. Still haven’t really decided to go down the self-publishing route. Very busy with the day job right now, which is interfering a bit! After next week will have time to breathe and think.
      Thanks for the greetings and thoughts.

  15. Happy birthday! Just print all your blog awards you have received and tell the stupid publisher it is his loss! Or better send it with next time as an addendum! I love your writing!

    • Oh you are so lovely – what an idea! I write to be read and I am pleased someone is enjoying reading my stuff, even if a publisher/agent is not interested.
      Thank you! πŸ™‚

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