Monday, November 19, 2007


Sometimes your writing life becomes such a disappointment you wonder why you bother. Last week was one of those weeks. As you all know I’ve written a series, the Gateway Guardians. The first book, Callye’s Justice was released in October. The second book was in my editor’s inbox. She transferred me a different editor as my editor was becoming overwhelmed with other authors.

This new editor is rumored to be a wonderful woman. Extremely bright, intelligent, and even though she’s harsh, she’s fair. The way an editor is supposed to be. They want to help you get out the very best story possible.

But she crushed me. My second book in the Gateway Guardians series was soundly rejected. That’s right folks. As of right this moment you will not see how the rest of the series fairs. She disliked Chase and Brandy immensely. Said she couldn’t get past the fact she couldn’t stand them. So I’ve asked her if I rework it would she be interested in seeing it. She’s not replied. So I am torn between rewrite and resend, or keeping as is—which I want to do, the book is AWESOME. Even the original editor liked what she read—and send it to a different publisher. I hate to do that. Series books should be with the same publisher—but if it’s rejected then there is only one other alternative: let the series die. That’s not an option for me.

How are two editors so completely different? One really, REALLY likes the book/characters; one thinks they’re stupid (not her words. I’m summarizing) the rejecting editor was kind but vague and cold in her rejection. Not cruel. Not a ‘you suck, give it up’ kind of rejection. Just a thanks but no thanks type of thing. She was even encouraging as far as I shouldn’t give up writing. She wants me to keep working on this and other projects.

The fact she said “this and other projects” is why I thought she might want to see a rework of the book. But I can’t run under this assumption. The last thing in the world any writer, particularly this writer, wants to do is piss off an editor.

Last week I stung, and even cried. It hurt so much to be rejected. I have to tell you, any writer WILL have some rejection, it will hurt like hell. It will make you doubt yourself. You will sit back and wonder what’s wrong with your writing. You’ll wonder if you’d even know a good manuscript if it bit you in the ass.

But you have to remember (and this is so hard for me) that an editor is only a person. The rejection is only their opinion. They’re not the be all, end all, of the writing world. If they tell you no, read your work over. If they’ve made suggestions consider taking them. But they are only suggestions. You don’t like them, don’t use them.

Keep this in mind: Just because one editor didn’t like the book doesn’t mean another won’t. I sent Tides of Maryna’s Love, from the Elemental Desires series to my editor for Callye’s Justice. She didn’t like the book. It wasn’t her cup of tea. And because she didn’t like that genre, she didn’t feel she could accurately guide me in edits. I sent the book to Champagne Publishing. They picked up Maryna and had all sorts of positive comments about her. I’m glad I sent this book to Champagne. The editors are great. The other authors are terrific and the publisher is really sweet. (I’m not just saying those things because Storm, the second book in the Elemental Desires Series is over there right now…) I’m saying it because it’s true.

So. With a rejection you can do one of two things: cry and bury your head in the sand vowing to never EVER write again or you can cry, grieve for the pain, then submit the book somewhere else. If an editor makes suggestions its definitely worth your time to read them over. They know their stuff. They can help guide you from submission to publication.

I cry. I eat chocolate everything. I doubt myself. I rage against the injustice. I curse the lack of taste the editor has shown. After all, it is my “baby” it’s perfect, right? Then I sit back and I force myself to move on. Take time to feel bad. Take time to get mad. Then yank yourself up and get busy. Do the suggested rewrites. Submit it back AS LONG AS IT’S BEEN ASKED FOR. If the editor has NOT invited you to resubmit the work, send it to someone else.

I personally went to a girl’s night out where we ate a chocolate silk pie, drank a 2-liter of Dr. Pepper, and played cards until dawn. It got my mind off my disappointment—for a while—and it made me rethink. I’m going to read Chase’s story again. I’m going to see if I can find what the editor didn’t like about it. If I can’t find anything and she doesn’t write and tell me suggestions or ask for it a second time I’m going to send it to another publishing house. The contract only states I have to give them first dibs on the work. It doesn’t say I can’t send it to someone else.

I’ve got so many irons in the fire right now it’s not hard for me to sit back and let Chase simmer for a little bit.

All of this was just to say this one simple message: Don’t give up hope. If this is your dream, don’t let one person stomp it out. Keep at it. A rejection is only one person’s opinion. Keep it in perspective. Give yourself a few hours, or even a day or two to be upset. It’s perfectly acceptable to feel bad. But don’t let it ruin your writing life.

Good Luck!


Ciara Gold said...

Oh man, I feel your pain. This was very well written, btw, in that you didn't slam heads against the wall which of course would be anyone's first inclination. You wrote a very professional dissertation on you disappointment. Ugh - I honestly don't know what I would do in you place. But you're right, two many other projects often take precedence so let it simmer for a while before revisiting.

Becka said...

This just goes to show that even established authors can be subjected to the Almighty "R"... It grounds us in a way and reminds us that we aren't "Midas".

I got rejected a while back from Sil. Desire, and I also got rejected from Samhain for a proposal in their dragon anthology. It does sting, but in all seriousness, it has made me a better writer.

Now, I'm hoping to write the book that will get me in with Desire next year, and I sent my dragon proposal to Chamapagne (who bought it, yay!).

So it's not a totally hopeless situation. What's wrong at one house is right for another. And just as Donica says, sometimes your 'baby' needs a re-write. No one's perfect.

It's all part of the biz. You cannot please all of the people all of the time.