May 9, 2012

The Art of Rejection: ROW80 Check In

I chuckled when I saw this comic strip on Facebook. There's so much truth in it, at least for me. Just a few years ago, I thought the only path to book success was a publishing contract.

The beautiful thing about rejection is that sometimes it opens up paths we would have never considered before. I'm so appreciative of the brave indie souls who cut down the obstacles and paved a new way.

Joining writing communities and forums such as She Writes, A Round of Words in 80 Days, Writers' Platform Building Campaign, World Literacy Cafe has been inspiring and informative. I wish I had found these resources before I published my first book, but they have helped prepare me to publish my second, third, and ...

Don't get me wrong, I am not discounting traditional publishing. I plan to query agents for all my books, but only as another option. I don't fear indie publishing, nor do I think it has a stigma anymore. Readers who love books will find good books. I believe that.

I read here that 95% of all unsolicited manuscripts are rejected outright (form letter, no request for more), 5% get requests for entire manuscripts... of that 5%, only 1-2% are actually purchased for publication. I feel honored that several agents asked for more of our novel, and three asked for the entire manuscript. One even said, "we have read and discussed your work at length, and although it is, indeed, a moving and original mother/daughter/family discussion, we don't feel we would be the appropriate agent for it." 

I never thought rejection would result in a feeling of success, but it did. After all, being in the 5% feels pretty darn good sometimes. 

What has rejection taught you?  


Since it's Wednesday, I'll add my ROW80 Update here:

Writing: 603 words. Good words, but wish there had been more. The last month of school is crazy, and I'm trying to fit in so much before summer and kids.

Editing: On course. Dare I say, maybe even a bit ahead.

Blogging: Enjoying my blog challenges this month. Every day in May. I hope you'll pop back by often this month.

Reading: Some interesting reads lately. One book, a homoerotic romance with vampires, has spawned a review post on Mom in Love with Fiction and soon a post here. I've written it, but need to let it sit a day or two.

Social Media: Overwhelmed, but loving it. Learning Pinterest is part of Blogathon, and I'm so far behind. Any Pinterest tips for writers?

Exercise: Running and eating better. Now, I need to find time for some cross-training.

My WIP and I are scheduled for some come to Jesus meetings this week. Wish my luck!


Rebecca Barrow said...

Well my first MS got straight rejections, and my second got a few requests, so I'm hoping my third will do even better than that :) I don't see rejections as "stop-now-you-suck!", more as "not-quite-there-yet-but-keep-going!"Plus, everyone get them, so I always know I'm not the only one!

Jaleh D said...

I don't have any rejection stories yet. My turn is coming, I'm sure. ;D

I think you're doing great. Summer is certainly going to be crazy here, since I'm really hoping a move is in store for us. Hope you keep up with your goals.

K.T. Hanna said...

Any request at all is a serious cause for celebration, even if it results in rejection. Because it means you've made it just that much further.

I definitely agree. Indie-publishing when done right has nothing wrong with it. And why do it, if you're not going to make sure you're still putting your best work out there?

People will find it, especially if you network it before release :D

Good luck for the rest of the month!

Susan Oloier said...

Rejection has most certainly taught me perseverence. But I've had some situations over the last five years that have shown me how very short life is to wait around for a "maybe" opportunity.

I think it's wonderful you found yourself in the 5% category. I know your book will find its way into the hands of readers.
Thanks for buying my book, BTW. I certainly hope you enjoy it.
Have a wonderful day. Susan

Shah Wharton said...

I haven't gone down the trad rout - I'm too much of a coward. In fact, if indie hadn't recently exploded, I'd never even considered publishing. But I plan to in the Autumn and although rejection is more than likely to occur on at least some of my reviews, I'm going to try to focus on any good reviews I achieve. Please LORD let there be some :)

I've learned a lot form writing communities and bloggers and authors who blog, so much so I feel blessed in fact. Before this I hid in the early hours of the morning scribbling things down, hiding them from everyone, almost ashamed of my need to do so. I long to be successful, but I will still be grateful for the freedom I've gained already.

Well done on your clear goal achievements. Keep going, it's all good. :)

Janet Parfitt said...

My first self published novel was sent out to about fifty agents; actually what was sent was a synopsis, covering letter and the first three chapters, only one asked to see the whole manuscript but at least someone wanted to see more before rejecting it.

Anonymous said...

Rejection has taught me that....


...that maybe I should actually finish polishing the #%&()@^ novel and query an agent already! I have to admit, although I have some good reasons for not being ready yet, fear of rejection is also a bit part of that.

lorig said...

Before you can get a rejection you have to have something to submit. I am still working on mine. These are interesting statistics though and definitely put thing sin perspective.

Nancy said...

Rejection is so much a part of the writer's life that it hardly phases me anymore. I do more short pieces rather than book length manuscripts, and the percentage of rejects may not be quite as bad as with books. Still plenty of them, however. I was once told you get one acceptance out of every 12 submissions. Not sure how true that is.

Tia Bach said...

Becky, That's what's so wonderful about Self-Publishing now. No reason to keep waiting around.

Jaleh, Hope your summer isn't too crazy. I really appreciate your ROW80 support!

Thanks, K.T. I have two more novels in the works. I'll query, but I won't let it get me down. I've learned so much thanks to the online community (and people like you!).

Susan, I'll take 5%! And I so agree about perseverance. (Excited to read your book!)

Shah, I'm glad indies and online writers have helped you embrace writing. Your encouragement helps me embrace mine!

Janet, It's all part of the journey. I really believe that.

Amy Beth, You said it! I have two I need to get my butt motivated to finish! LOL

Lorig, Best wishes for finishing so you can submit (or indie publish).

Nancy, I've handled rejection pretty well so far, too. But I seem to get positives mixed in, so that certainly helps.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Elise Fallson said...

Doing great Tia! And I love, LOVE your Snoopy comic strip, I'm going to have to steal it. (;

Anonymous said...

we must have been on the same wave length because my blog today is on a very similar subject.

Unknown said...

Being in the 5% does indeed feel good, especially when it comes with such encouraging feedback. I've never taken rejection personally. I equate it to walking into a store and being asked to choose one dress from a lot of fabulous ones. Maybe I feel like wearing pink instead of red that day, or polka-dots instead of stripes. There are many talented writers out there, so I imagine an agent's job is a difficult one (not to mention that of the publisher!).

Jen @ My Morning Chocolate said...

When I was in graduate school, I had a teacher who showed us a list of publishing houses that rejected his first book. It was a long list. But since then, he's written several books. His story always gives me a little kick in the pants to send out query letters.

Also, I just joined Pinterest too! I only have put up three pins so far, but I think the format is a better fit for me than Twitter or Facebook. I'm looking forwar to exploring it more.

Tia Bach said...

Elise, I love Snoopy, too! Steal away. I stole it from FB.

Beth, Yes, we were definitely thinking similarly.

Melissa, Good point. I can't imagine how hard it is to pick between many potential clients.

Jen, Great story. Thanks for sharing. I only have 3-4 pins on Pinterest myself. I need to find more hours!

Thanks for all your comments.