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Thread: The Daily Rejection, Vol. 2

  1. #10476
    practical experience, FTW sockycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peartree View Post
    Well I sent out this novel 103 times, so it's a bit late to do the "before I start" bit. But I've been working on that first novel since I started undergrad, 11 years ago, and I only started sending it out 2 years ago, after years of writing, re-writing, and critique from my family, so I'm pretty proud of it as it stands.

    But I do hope this site will help me find my weaknesses, and fix them.
    It might help with the next one.
    Visit my website and send me a neat pun.

  2. #10477
    Not my first rodeo. Liz_V's Avatar
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    noranne - Yay for post-move writing!

    Timeforce - Welcome to the party!

    NotForUsThanks - Bummer on the full rejection, but eat cookies and hang in there.

    Ooh, EMaree, vague enthusiasm for your vague news of vagueness!

    peartree - Sympathies. Sometimes even a good book is just not the right book at the right time.

    R cookies to Collie, amillimiles, sockycat. And cheers on the partials, socky!

    As for the state of the business... I've been hearing "the market is tough right now" for as long as I've been in this game, which is longer than I rightly care to look at atm. The market is *always* tough. We've just gotta be tougher.

  3. #10478
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    I got a rejection for an erotica semi-short story (under 1,200 words) yesterday, which was a bummer. Two different short stories rejected in a row, wah! Oh well, just gotta shift 'em to another pub. The erotica one could also be posted to my website (it was, with some nipping and tucking, extracted from a discarded piece of a larger work.) My Master Plan is to get five shorts published, then start querying agents for my novels, pointing to the shorts as accomplishments. One of those shorts must be in an SFWA eligible market so I can get membership.

    In real life I am a landlady, so I think of those shorts as properties who just have to find the proper tenant.

  4. #10479
    figuring it all out peartree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sockycat View Post
    It might help with the next one.
    It might! But I'm self-publishing this trilogy. I've been writing it and loving it too long to just let it wither away in my external hard drive.

    - Liz V - Thanks! It's depressing, but I have other projects coming along, and hopefully one of them will be my break into the industry.

  5. #10480
    People are not wearing enough hats JJ Litke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sockycat View Post
    I would really encourage you to have you work looked at before you start querying, even if it's only as far as having your query letter critiqued in SYW.

    Honestly, the best way to improve is to read and critique others. You learn so, so much. IMO the issues I found in other people's works tended to reflect on my own weaknesses, and it gave me a more critical eye towards my own writing. Other threads like the "first three lines of your novel" and "first three lines of your short story" are fantastic. You can learn a lot just by reading others.
    QFT

    I swear I've learned more from reading crit threads and critiquing than getting my own work critiqued.
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  6. #10481
    figuring it all out NotForUsThanks's Avatar
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    Aaaand another rejection on a full, but this time not a standard rejection but a total lovefest about the book, but she just doesn't know where she would place it to try and sell it. And there was me thinking I had written commercial/genre fiction! I suck at this.

    On the positive side, she's the first agent to invite me to send my next book to her.

    Liz V - your comment about us having to be tougher than the market is a good one and all too true.
    shoot me, shoot me now

  7. #10482
    practical experience, FTW amillimiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peartree View Post
    I sent it to my sister and my cousin (the only people I really trust) and my sister liked it (it's not her kind of book, but she said it was a fun read) and my cousin didn't even bother. She's too busy with her glamorous life to talk to me much these days.

    I saw in the rules you have to wait til 50 posts to post your stuff, so I'll just hang around and keep chatting til I hit that mark, and then I think I'll start with my query letter before actually posting my stories to the internet, even though it's supposed to be quite safe, you know, with timestamps and things to prove it's mine, plus all those queries I sent out is a huge digital "paper trail" of proof.

    I'm paranoid about my work being stolen, in case you couldn't tell.
    I totally get the part about being paranoid that you'll have your work stolen, but it rarely happens if you're cautious. Just make sure you get to know your critique partners before you send them. And send chapter-by-chapter, so that they don't have the whole thing. It sounds like you might need a critique partner or two, and that you should try posting a writing sample in Share Your Work to see the response. I think about 4-5 years ago, I thought I was an amazing hotshot writer -- then I posted my stuff in the Absolute Write SYW, and realized how long a ways I had to go. There, I found my CPs and beta readers and truly got the ball rolling. And that's how I improved.

    Shoeless, definitely keeping that in mind! I've already started a "Rejections" folder in my inbox, hah! Maybe one day I'll print them out and stick them around my house like you. (But snail mail querying must be horrible! You have to wait for the mail -- which probably makes the process twice as long! --and things could get lost, you have a bunch of papers to keep track of...)

    It seems everybody was right about the querying process -- the waiting is the worst part! Your mind tends to wander and you start imagining scenarios as to why the agents haven't responded on your full yet (did they hate it? Toss it in the bin? Not even finish it?), or why the others haven't responded yet, did your email not send properly...? etc.

    So... time to start on the new WIP!

    Sorry about the R, NotForUs! It sounds amazing and I would take it as a great sign that she loved it. The market seems hard right now (I was reading some articles on trends, etc.) and I also got super paranoid -- would my story fit the trends enough to be considered? etc. -- but we just have to keep soldiering on.

    Great comment by Liz V about being tougher than the market. I need to frame that somewhere, hah!
    Last edited by amillimiles; 10-12-2017 at 03:29 AM.
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  8. #10483
    practical experience, FTW lianna williamson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotForUsThanks View Post
    Aaaand another rejection on a full, but this time not a standard rejection but a total lovefest about the book, but she just doesn't know where she would place it to try and sell it.
    I got one of those, too. It's great to hear someone in the biz being so complimentary about the book in a long, specific e-mail... but it's still not a yes.
    blogging the novel

  9. #10484
    figuring it all out NotForUsThanks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lianna williamson View Post
    I got one of those, too. It's great to hear someone in the biz being so complimentary about the book in a long, specific e-mail... but it's still not a yes.
    Sorry to hear that, Lianna. It is still a no and it's actually left me more worried than ever. I really felt this was going to be the book that cracked it for me, but it's all but dead now. Two years work, lots of positive feedback from publishing bods, but still nothing has happened for me. If I can't crack the publishing industry with this one I have big doubts I can crack it at all. I really wish it didn't matter so much to me, but the way my life is right now (long story) it matters, it really does.
    shoot me, shoot me now

  10. #10485
    figuring it all out
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    I'm so sorry, NotForUs.

  11. #10486
    figuring it all out NotForUsThanks's Avatar
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    Thank you x
    shoot me, shoot me now

  12. #10487
    Power to the pen! Taylor Harbin's Avatar
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    Story rejected by F&SF. I feel this one is my very best work yet and hope some pro magazine will take it. I've had only one story published this year and very little positive feedback.

  13. #10488
    figuring it all out NotForUsThanks's Avatar
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    Sucks, Taylor

    Hope this story makes it into somewhere.
    shoot me, shoot me now

  14. #10489
    Great Old One CameronJohnston's Avatar
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    It's horrible when you really believe in a work, and think it is one of the best things you have written and yet can't fine a good home for it. I have one short story that has been through multiple final-round considerations with pro magazines, shortlisted for an award and such, and yet...nothing. *sigh*. I hope we all manage to find decent homes for these stories.
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  15. #10490
    Power to the pen! Taylor Harbin's Avatar
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    Thanks, NotForUs and Cameron. I spent quite a bit of time hashing this one out, and it was from the heart. Rejection is normal, but recent events make it seem much worse. Trying not to get into the cycle of "the world is saturated with prose and you're stuff is hardly good enough to be noticed" downward spiral thoughts. I don't usually like taking time away from a novel in progress, but this one felt like it was worth the effort. We'll see if someone else likes it.
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  16. #10491
    People are not wearing enough hats JJ Litke's Avatar
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    Taylor, I want to recall we've talked about Finl@y's rejections and what they mean before, but reposting the link just in case. That's an older post, but as far as I know he still generally follows that format. I think F&SF and Asimov's are the very toughest markets with the highest rejection rates. It'd be a dream come true to make it into either of those.

    Quote Originally Posted by amillimiles View Post
    I totally get the part about being paranoid that you'll have your work stolen, but it rarely happens if you're cautious. Just make sure you get to know your critique partners before you send them. And send chapter-by-chapter, so that they don't have the whole thing.
    If you don't think you can trust someone enough to just send them the whole manuscript at once, you shouldn't send them anything at all.

    I get the concern, but at some point, you're going to have to trust someone enough to have them read it. And really, you don't need a whole manuscript read to get really helpful feedback. Opening pages generally tell all you need to know about someone's writing style. Which is probably why posting openings is so popular in the SYW area. Often critiques about what's happening there can be further applied throughout the manuscript.

    You're shooting yourself in the foot if you only have friends/family read for you (speaking from experience here). Non-writers just can't give you the feedback you need.

    And as long as I'm telling y'all stuff you don't want to hear, don't spend years on the same project. That's not the best way to improve your skills. Move on, keep writing/reading/critiquing. You can return to a project again, but don't just go over the same ground repeatedly.

    This is all stuff I learned the hard way, YMMV.
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  17. #10492
    Power to the pen! Taylor Harbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ Litke View Post
    Taylor, I want to recall we've talked about Finl@y's rejections and what they mean before, but reposting the link just in case. That's an older post, but as far as I know he still generally follows that format. I think F&SF and Asimov's are the very toughest markets with the highest rejection rates. It'd be a dream come true to make it into either of those.
    Wow. That gives me a whole new perspective. Thanks! I don't bear any grudge. You know how it is to work and then think soon after "how can I possibly do better?" I suppose the "didn't grab me" template means my beta reader was possibly onto something and Finlay likes being as close to the action as possible. Great for future reference!

  18. #10493
    practical experience, FTW
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    I have received a couple rejections from Charlie for F&SF recently on different stories, all very encouraging with feedback. I feel very encouraged by that, even if I'm disappointed I didn't quite get there. The worst feeling in the world is almost, but you just have to keep at it.
    Twitter @DarbyHarn

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  19. #10494
    Not my first rodeo. Liz_V's Avatar
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    Another round of R cookies to Cobalt, Taylor, and anyone else who needs 'em.

    NotForUsThanks & lianna, your R cookies get sprinkles for the lovefests. Positive no's are tough; it's great that somebody besides you loved the book, and you know you should be happy about that, but it's still a no....

    NotForUsThanks, maybe that "this one is the one" feeling is for the next query. Keep hanging in there!

    That goes for everybody, in fact.

  20. #10495
    practical experience, FTW lianna williamson's Avatar
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    Another R on a query today, and I also heard that another agent I recently queried is temporarily closing to submissions because she's in the thick of the wildfires and understandably needs to conserve her time and energy for her current clients. So I sent out two new queries today.
    blogging the novel

  21. #10496
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin solidjim's Avatar
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    I don't know if this will help anyone, but I wrote a little blog article about how I pivoted creatively and turned my novel into a "successful" audio fiction podcast. The subtext is that I was sick of constant reject and had to find a way to strengthen myself and my creative output by trying new things.
    I dunno. Maybe it'll help someone out there.
    http://bit.ly/2y6myFp

  22. #10497
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solidjim View Post
    I don't know if this will help anyone, but I wrote a little blog article about how I pivoted creatively and turned my novel into a "successful" audio fiction podcast. The subtext is that I was sick of constant reject and had to find a way to strengthen myself and my creative output by trying new things.
    I dunno. Maybe it'll help someone out there.
    http://bit.ly/2y6myFp
    Damn dude, did you really have to dump on other writers while describing your journey? That's no way to make friends.

    Fiction is not selling particularly well these days unless it’s geared towards a young adult audience and has magic or sparkly mermaids, or some shit.
    Assuming other people succeed because they're lesser than you is an ugly look, and an attitude that'll only hold you back.

    Nothing about the quoted sentence is actually true of the industry, and you'd see that if you weren't being bitter about it. We're living in a golden age of weird, diverse, fun fiction.
    Last edited by EMaree; 10-13-2017 at 06:50 PM.
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  23. #10498
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ Litke View Post
    Well those stats are pretty depressing aren't they? Still, of my seven rejections from him, five are template 3, so maybe that's meaningful? One of the others includes this:

    "I really liked the title of this (and great titles are probably rarer than you think) but overall the story isn't quite what I'm looking for right now and I'm going to pass."

    Can anything beyond the obvious be divined from that?
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  24. #10499
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    Isn't F&SF publishing every other month now, too? I remember when they used to be monthly.

  25. #10500
    practical experience, FTW sockycat's Avatar
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    That moment when you get a form R and aren't phased, but you also happen to be following the agent on twitter and they totally just subtweeted you.

    Awkward.
    Visit my website and send me a neat pun.

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