Thursday, February 03, 2011

Nothing personal

Remember when I mentioned submitting one of my stories back in November? It is now "one of" because of NaNoWriMo and the manuscript I've been endlessly "polishing" since then.

It was the week I was off, right before Darcy went from healthy to OMG/surgery/tumor/unable to walk/walking barely/not eating/eating barely/maybe cancer/not cancer/drug this, that, and the other...

Gulping back tears in the vet's office is very clear in my memory. The other, the submission, is clear only in the fact that I've been compulsively checking my email for days, thanks to a mark on my calendar indicating 12 weeks, the minimum response timeframe. And then it arrived...the form email rejection.

Was my first inclination to rip my desktop computer off of my cluttered desk and toss it through the convenient window? No, of course not. Ok, maybe. No, not really.

Maybe for a minute.

But I got over that. Then dejection, despondence, megrims, and general down-in-the-dumps-edness settled in. No, not really. Ok, maybe a little. I have unreasonable expectations for myself. I have no idea what to do about that.

I did expect rejection. I'm a beginner. Even if I am fabulously gifted (and I'm not but I have some skills, maybe not mad skills, but they're there), rejection is still a good possibility. I was really hoping for rejection with a little extra, a bit of feedback, a gentle critique that I could read as encouragement. Instead...form letter. Ouch.

Thankfully, I sit on the other side sometimes. Every submission that comes in to Leisure Arts comes through me at some point. I'm not the lone decision maker but I write most of the letters: the good, the bad, but we don't do ugly. And the truth is, I don't like form letters but I use them sometimes, just because I also have a few other things that I do. I know the reasons we say "No" and they aren't always because the submission is bad. Sometimes we have other similar publications. We have seen more knit dishcloth submissions in the past few months than we could publish in 5 years. Or we just finished one and it didn't sell like we wanted. Or the idea is too narrow. Or maybe we really like it but it doesn't fit with our business, where we sell, and we don't know where we could place it.

I'm going to convince myself that one of these other, gentler than "you stink, you are a terrible writer, don't waste my time or that of any other creature who stands upright and has opposable thumbs ever again, you bad writer, you," reasons applies.  And that letter says, and I've said it myself many, many times, that it's often just a case of finding the right match of idea to publisher. That letter encouraged me to submit to others, so I'm going to.

I also took that rejection and applied for RWA PRO status. Baby steps...

I also ate a bag of M&M's. I mean, no matter how mature I am, rejection requires chocolate. It's a rule somewhere, I just know it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Ann said...

I was so hoping you would hear good news when you got ready to send it off. I think you are right about finding the right company that will enjoy your work. I just happen to listen to an old interview and heard about Leisure Arts and decided to try to submit my work. I held my breath when the email came and thank you it was a very nice email. I enjoy your writing and I'm sure there are others that will too!