Friday, 11 December 2009

It Ain't What You Do...

Actually I'm a bit cheesed off.

Having thrown myself into the lion's den and with shaking hand pressed 'send' to various agents and publishers as well as sticking good old fashioned stamps onto envelopes, the euphoria has left me and I am faced with the harsh reality of what it means to begin the laborious job of filing rejections, tweaking and going through the pain barrier all over again.

Today I made a telephone enquiry. The Agent returned my call much to my astonishment but only to politely inform me she is not taking on any more clients, her ‘books’ are full.

Hey ho.

On the plus side, I do now feel like a writer. In fact I was quite proud to print and file the first couple of email blanket messages of ‘thanks but no-thanks,’ having learned a thing or two in my approach to the movers and shakers down in London. They were some of the big players to be fair and I knew I was batting out of my league but still felt it was worth a shot if only to get a handle on how these things work.

Today has been a mixed bag of shifting moods and the weather hasn’t helped either. We woke up to freezing fog followed by drizzle - you couldn't move without being dripped on. I should have read the signs and not made that call today. The fact that our youngest was crying in the background after being reprimanded didn’t show me/us in the best light I fear. I don’t think this particular agent’s answer would have been any different on another day just that I might have received the news more gracefully had I taken on board the very lesson of patience I’d been preaching only moments earlier.

Frame of mind is everything. A few weeks ago I was possessed by enough self confidence and positive thinking to lead an army to victory; today I couldn’t find my way to the high street without feeling paranoid and suspicious of everyone around me.

Here is where I shall draw the line on the negative.

I’m off to cash up now and pull the curtains on another day in the box office. Tomorrow will bring fresh opportunities and as many chances as we are willing to give ourselves and those around us to show up, raise a smile and try again.


  1. Cheesed off? That's a new one for me.

    Of course you know the stories. Every writer is rejected, all of them, without an exception I'm aware of. Of course you know the stories of the books that became blockbuster bestsellers and many that are now in the standard university English class required list.

    It's just, sadly, how this system works. You need to remind yourself that just because a person has become an agent or an editor is not in the least any sort of guarantee that said person has not remained the literary moron they were back when they were pumping gas or pretending to be a student.

    For a long time I kept my rejection letters and postcards in a shoebox, and eventually filled it and then two more. In those olden days, there was no electronic brush-off. You had to put the thing in the post and wait weeks, months, until you got the THE no letter, or THE no postcard, which is sort of worse because the reader didn't even take the time to write a letter, regardless of how brief, and more often than not, the postcards were form printed and signed with a signature stamp.

    That was a long time ago and now I have forgotten how many such letters and postcards I acquired during the decade I struggled to get published before I actually did get published. And even after I had published three or four or five novels, I still got an occasional rejection, although by then they were funneled through an agent.

    In other words, darling, if you're going to do this kind of thing, you will continue to do it because you must, because you are driven to do it, and you will take to heart that you are just paying the same bloody dues every bloody one of us has paid, and continue to pay.

    Never forget, you are doing the very thing that these editors and agents would kill to be able to do themselves, but they do not have the talent for it, so they settle for this peripheral contact with writers.

    But there's nothing wrong with feeling cheesed off about the stupidity of it all.

  2. You are quite right of course Don and in a way I do welcome the rejection slips as recognition for at least taking part in the game as oppose to being on the outside looking in.

    This post for me was really about attitude and mind set - I have not had a good day and the phone call was the nail in an already air tight coffin. I almost want to laugh at the predictability of the days events, I could have written the script myself this morning right down to the closing scene.

    Having said all that, I am not at all fazed. I know that tomorrow I will be myself again and the idea of giving up was never part of the plan.
    Cheesed off yes, thwarted no.

  3. Very nice! I'm still curious about what sort of work this is. You're so hush-hush about it.

    Don's right. Remember how finicky you can be reading a text and then remember on top of that the agent/editor reading yours is exactly the same way, except they may have read several hundred or so in the last couple of weeks.

    Write true. Write hard. Shine no matter the outcome. But most of all, just write for the sake of writing and draw your satisfaction from that primarily.

    But keep trying, of course.

  4. Good words of advice from you Brad.

    I hold faith with an agent/editor not necessarily being bold over by the text but being sold on the package as a whole. I am looking for someone who will see the potential and take a chance. I have done my research, there is a market, although I think the topic would surprise you. A conversation to have by email rather than in the public domain.

  5. Well, I will be self publishing...just so I can hold my own finished product. Then I will market the book myself. Then, I will try to avoid those rejection letters... perhaps I will be one of the LUCKY ones !!!

  6. Sarah, over on 'Purple Shaggy Cows,' has self published and is in the process of doing so again as her first book, Beyond the Lemon Tree,' did quite well. It's a lot to take on I think and certainly a learning curve along the way but she seems much more confident second time round.

    Good luck with your book Patrick, let me know how you get on.

  7. Stay positive! I kept a file of my rejection letters to spur me on! Lots and lots of luck

    Kitty x

  8. Thank you for those words of encouragement Kitty.

  9. I prefer rejection emails myself. An immediate tap on the delete button (if it's a form rejection and not one with feedback of course, which is usually the case) - always makes me feel better.

    Best of luck!

  10. Hey Rose, Happy New Year.

    Yes, I did print one or two of the email rejections but now find it easier to let the mouse do the talking rather than waste time going over 'what ifs'.

    Good to see you.

  11. You too! Happy New year to you too! I look forward to hearing more about your ms.

  12. I remember the feeling well, honestly. (21 years of failure to be good enough to be published doesn't fade that fast, even though I'm now well published.) But some writers, when rejected, become bitter and decide that it's the agents' and publishers' fault for being stupid. It isn't. They know what they're doing and they know what sort of books they personally can sell. Just because someone says no, and then that book is taken on and becomes a success with another publisher, doesn't mean the first one was wrong. It means it wasn't right for them - each to his own. You just have to find a way to write the right book and send it to the right publisher or agent. Of course, you can self-publish, but then you will need to sell by yourself something which a publisher felt he/she couldn't. Stay positive and take as much time as necessary to hone your craft till you've written a book which simply has to sell. Good luck - I feel for you. And please don't take this comment as criticism of you: it's NOT. It's just that some writers become bitter and that's not healthy. I become bitter and now I know I was just ignorant of the process and how to deal with it. All that is why I now spend hours and hours helping writers towards publication.

  13. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described


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