If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.











October Interview Schedule: 10/3 Ellen Byron, 10/10 Cynthia Kuhn, 10/17 Jacqueline Seewald, 10/24 G. A. McKevett, 10/31 Alan Orloff

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/6 Mary Reed, 10/13 J.J. Hensley,
WWK Satuday Bloggers: 10/20 Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/27 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:


Grace Topping signed a three-book contract with Henery Press for her Laura Bishop Home Staging series. Congratulations, Grace!

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Warren Bull also has a story in Shhh...Murder! Look for "Elsinore Noir," Warren's short story, in this anthology.

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Lovely Rejection by Carla Damron


I received the loveliest rejection. A rejection that, while still causing a tiny lump of angst in my stomach, made me smile. Here’s why:

It came from a big publisher. You know, one of the big FIVE (or THREE or SIX, I can’t keep up these days).

It contained specific feedback. “I was intrigued by the character.” “It is well written and it’s a solid premise.” YAY! I intrigued a big FIVE editor. And then: “It didn’t live up to its potential in terms of the protagonist.” Ouch.

Her other comments helped me see that she was approaching the project as a literary novel, rather than literary suspense. That tells me she wasn’t the right editor for this book.

I bragged about this rejection to my writer buds, and they offered sympathy, support, and congratulations. Sharing rejections is critically important to my life as a writer. I love how my peers rally around me, especially when the rejection is a painful one.

Early in my career, each rejection felt like a dagger to my soul. We writers are sensitive folks. We must be that way to clearly and honestly flesh out our characters. When some merciless editor does not embrace the brilliant child we’ve birthed on the page, we can take it quite personally.

That’s changed for me over the years because A) I’ve gotten so many I’m used to them, and B) I understand more about the publishing industry and know that most of rejections we receive have very little to do with the quality of the writing.

I did an exercise with some writers to describe how I think it works. I gave each writer a jelly bean to represent their latest project. Each jelly bean was beautiful, perfect, and unique—something they had worked days, weeks, YEARS on. The writers were to offer their amazing work-of-art jelly bean to a person who represented the editor at a publishing house. Each writer carefully placed their beloved jelly bean into a bowl in front of the editor. After seven beans were in the bowl, the editor glanced down at them. Then I poured a giant bag of jelly beans into the bowl, burying the seven.

“Your jelly bean may still be an amazing, brilliant work of art, but the editor may never actually see it. You might get a quick scan, but so many factors keep your work from being chosen. If the editor’s already eaten too many jelly beans that day, the rest get rejected. If the editor already picked a jelly bean similar to yours, you may be rejected. If the editor has a stable full of jelly beans, there may simply be no room for yours.”

The writers became quite discouraged, which wasn’t my intent. We then focused on the importance of helping your bean get into multiple editor bowls. Of working to get your project in an AGENT’S bowl first. Of giving yourself and your project time—it may take a year for an acceptance. Or longer.
But my most important point: most rejections may have little or nothing to do with the quality of your work, so taking them personally just causes us unnecessary pain.

My rejection from a big publisher meant it was selected out of several big bowls to land in a smaller, IMPORTANT one. Still, sadly, my jelly bean was not selected. 

That’s okay though. I know it’s a damn fine jelly bean, and the right editor will taste it any day now.
And when that happens, no matter how far away you are, you’ll hear my scream from South Carolina.

What experiences have you had with rejections? Good ones? Bad ones?  


  





8 comments:

Kait said...

I know your jelly bean will be selected too! What a great analogy.

Jim Jackson said...

Well said, Carla. And we should also keep in mind all the terrific manuscripts editors rejected with biting language that went on to become classics.

But if you don't offer your baby up for inspection, it can't ever be selected.

Julie Tollefson said...

Great post. I tell myself every rejection is one step closer to not rejected - it's that kind of tempered optimism that keeps me going.

Margaret Turkevich said...

My rejections range from a kind personal email ("This is a great story that didn't fit the anthology, but it should be published") to cruel and caustic comments ("Reading your submission is a waste of time because you can't write").

Awash in a sea of jellybeans, I persist!

Sasscer Hill said...

Hi, Carla. What a perfect analogy you made--dumping hundreds of new jelly beans on top of the seven hopefuls.

I had forty rejections before I got my first agent. Then that book had dozens of rejections by publishing houses before I finally found another agent. This agent was well connected, knew who wanted what, and managed to land a two-book deal with St. Martins.

Which brings us to yet another category of rejection--sales. If your book is not a great seller, the rejection is just as painful as when that first agent turned you down. No matter that the people who buy and read your novel tell you it's wonderful, that your agent and editor think you are a "brilliant" writer, or that trade publications gave the book excellent reviews Despite all that, you have run a long, arduous course and failed to clear this last hurdle.

Like every other type of writer rejection, you must give yourself a pep talk, hold on to your faith, and keep going.

Carla Damron said...

Great comments, y’all. It comes down to putting yourself out there and PERSEVERANCE!

KM Rockwood said...

You're right, Carla. Perseverance is the name of the game.

E. B. Davis said...

Wonderful analogy, Carla. Thanks for putting in perspective for me!