WAITING

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Waiting for responses can be so hard. In writing, it can be unBEARable (yeah, I just did that).

Why you ask? Well, we send our work off to an agent, editor, publishing company, somewhere, and we wait for a response. We HOPE for a “Yes! You’re work is incredible!” But we know the reality is we aren’t going to always hear that. In fact it can be quite rare. Many times, as I’ve personally discovered, and many writers have mentioned it happening to them, we NEVER hear back- not even a form rejection.

Let me give you some stats that I have over the past year from a picture book manuscript that went through a mentorship at Highlights Foundation, and left in sparking condition:

Sent to 35 agents, editors, small presses, and mentor/fellowships.

16 said no - 15 form rejections and 1 loved it but had to pass

13 no’s because of time, meaning they never replied, even after the three month nudge reminder

6 I am waiting to hear from

1 Revise and resubmit (I’ll be sending a friendly nudge soon)

That’s just ONE manuscript. There were to other PB MSs I sent out to a couple agents, but were either rejected or heard nothing. I did stop sending them after some critiques came back with the same issues. It also does not count the poems- single, groups, and chapbooks- that I’ve had rejected, as well as a couple short stories in the past year.

All told, I’ve had 35 rejections, and waiting to hear from 14.

It’s disheartening seeing those number. I was disheartened counting them. Twice. To make sure they are accurate.

The 29 that have said No to the one PB make me want to give up on it. It’s polished. It’s undergone some changes since April as two editors mentioned the same flaw, and both said how to fix it. One is whom I’m waiting for.

It makes you want to quit.

But, when you love something, and you believe in your work, you can’t. Ever.

So, you don’t. You keep at it and you just. Keep. Writing. And revising. And revising. And rev (okay, you get the point). And YOU SUBMIT AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Tomorrow is a big day.

It’s the reveal of a mentorship program for PB writers from #PBChat. The process of applying was incredible. Regardless of the outcome, it was a thought provoking application to fill out, one that has helped to push me along, and get me back into a writing groove (Even on here!). Tomorrow several PB authors (possible chapter book authors as one mentor was accepting them as well!).

I’ll just have to let you know.

But, for now, we’ll just have to wait.

How do you deal with waiting or with rejections? Let us know!

Trunkers

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Those manuscripts that are so bad you want to destroy them.  I have several, some of which I want to work on again, but know they are so bad, they’ll take more time than I really want to give them at this point. Both are hanging out of the trunk, begging for help, begging for lap time on my iPad to break out of the smelly ole steamer trunk in the basement (yup, we own one- I refurbished that $25 trunk about 18 years ago). 

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What’s wrong with them? Well, they suck. No plot, no story development, no character development.  Basically, they’re just a string of words thrown together that don’t do anything except take up space in the trunk. Below the pillows and blankets.  

Eventually they’ll make their way out.  But not yet. Not quite. They keep poking away at my brain, like Ralph’s finger. 

 

Do you have stories like that? They suck so much they make you doubt you have any intelligence whatsoever, but they keep poking away at your conscience?  

Failing

A big part of being a writer is rejection. You have to have a thick skin to take rejection for your entire career.  I haven’t experienced the lousy ratings part of rejection from book reviewers as I haven’t had anything published outside of two self-published books (no longer available). I didn’t have any negative ratings on them, which was nice, but also only had a handful on each. 

The rejection I want to write about is having manuscripts rejected...again, and again, and again... 

I have these stories that I’ve worked on for years- literally for two of them- three years for one, five years for the other. I have them at a point where readers and critique partners have said, “They’re ready.” Two words I’ve wanted to hear for years, and in a span of two months, I heard it twice for two different manuscripts. 

The next step is sending it out to the world- agents and publishing companies that accept unsolicited submission. That’s what I’ve been doing since August. 

I’ve sent then out to twenty-three agents and small presses over that time.  Some are still within the time frame of auto rejection based on time passed. But, thirteen were a ‘no’ because of outright rejection, or because of hearing nothing but crickets, even after a friendly poke.

I’ve been doing okay with them. One made me laugh because I got rejected within hours, and another within four days, including Christmas.

But a recent one got me more that the others. 

It wasn’t an agent, and it wasn’t a publisher. This one was for a contest that would have helped improve a third manuscript that is ‘close’ to being ready to send off to the world. There were sixteen mentors, and 500 people submitted to them. I thought my chances were good, I thought I would be one of the winners this time.

But I wasn’t. 

It hit me harder than I thought. And I feel like I’m failing.  Are my stories not good enough? Am I getting too old to start? 

That’s where I’m at.  

I’m happy as hell for those who won, and I can’t wait to hear about their journeys. But I’m jealous, too. 

Am I a failure? No. Just rejected.  Rejection is temporary.  And rejection is a stepping stone to lift yourself higher, to boost you to work harder, and pushes you to get yourself out there even more.  Find more critique partners, send to more agents and publishers, write more. 

Failure is only permanent when you give up. That, I will not do.