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View Full Version : Took my first real HIT today



Sparhawk
05-21-2005, 07:06 AM
I have fought full contact kickboxing up through my mid 30's, I've been hit in the ribs with a steel broadsword so hard that the chain mail I was wearing dented and fractured three ribs so I am no stranger to pain. With all that said, i was not prepared for the pain I felt when Irecieved my first rejection for my newest novel.

To be fair, I went back and reviewed each comment and what killed me was that I actaully found myself agreeing with 80% of the critique. How could I have been so blind NOT to see this stuff prior to my submission? Why did it seem so damned perfect BEFORE I sent it out?? I had an opportunity to score and I dropped the ball. I don't blame the publisher, I blame ME and that's what pi$$es me off the most. I BLEW IT. I FAILED. I let a golden opportunity slip by and the hurt is worse than any physical blow I've ever endured.

The frustrating thing is that I have to blame the guy I see in the mirror for this. I can't deflect it or avoid it.. yuch!! I'm sure this is only the first of many, tell me.. does it get any easier??

-Sparhawk

eldragon
05-21-2005, 07:18 AM
I BLEW IT. I FAILED. I let a golden opportunity slip by and the hurt is worse than any physical blow I've ever endured.

Give yourself a break! Forgive yourself - it's a learning experience. Go back and make some changes - re-write the whole thing if you think it needs it.


Everybody gets rejected. Some hurt worse than others, but the good news is that a few don't hurt at all.

Hang in there.

Tomorrow is a new day.

mommie4a
05-21-2005, 07:22 AM
Don't kid yourself - you made this opportunity materialize. You'll make another one materialize too. Keep going.

brokenfingers
05-21-2005, 07:27 AM
Sparhawk,

You say you've fought kickboxing throughout your life into your thirties. Did you win every spar? Every encounter? So, why is this any different?

Get up. Brush yourself off. Figure out what you did wrong.

Then get back into the ring.

It's not getting knocked down that makes you a loser, it's not getting back up...

Sparhawk
05-21-2005, 08:40 AM
Sparhawk,

You say you've fought kickboxing throughout your life into your thirties. Did you win every spar? Every encounter? So, why is this any different?

Get up. Brush yourself off. Figure out what you did wrong.

Then get back into the ring.

It's not getting knocked down that makes you a loser, it's not getting back up...

No, I honestly can't say that I did. You are right, of course. But it all seemed so real.. so possible. I already am planning on doing a scrub and rework based on what I was told. thanks for the kick in my self pity : ).

brokenfingers
05-21-2005, 08:44 AM
Go get 'em tiger. That's what separates the writers from the wannabees.

You're a writer.

Now go kick some azz...

Torin
05-22-2005, 12:20 AM
A rejection with valuable critiquing is a great thing. If you pay attention and put it to use, it'll make your writing better. Rewrite, revise and send it back out.

Torin, still waiting to hear back on a revised version of my novel

JennaGlatzer
05-22-2005, 12:22 AM
Woah! Cabana Boy! Let me just say this...



I went back and reviewed each comment

That's all I need to see. Each comment. Man, do you realize that you have, in fact, just received a letter basically saying, "You are a promising writer"? That's what a personalized rejection means. If the editor thought your work was lousy, it would have been a form letter. When someone takes the time to do a critique, it's because she was interested enough to keep reading, and wanted to let you know what held her back from buying it. That's a gift you get when you're on the right track.

ONE rejection-- and a helpful one at that-- does NOT mean you blew it! This is part of the necessary cycle before you get to an acceptance. I marketed one of my books for about four years before it was accepted. Can't even count how many rejections I got. And in the end, you know what? It has the exact same fate as the one that got accepted on the first try: It's published.

Keep on, Spar. Don't beat yourself up over this... there are plenty more publishers to approach!

maestrowork
05-22-2005, 12:24 AM
It's great that you can see the flaws in your work now. And that it's not too late to fix them.


When one door closes, another opens. There's some truth in that cliche. Now you know what's wrong with your book, fix it, then go knock on more doors.

MacAllister
05-22-2005, 12:46 AM
Heh--Spar, Jenna and some of the AW regulars here had a SMILEY PARTY for me, when I got my first rejection.

I'd be willing to be every pro writer on this board has rejection slips they can show you...some of them, recent.

Meanwhile, there is an entire thread devoted to collecting the year's rejection slips (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=200749#post200749), in the humor forum. You are cordially invited to participate. :)

arrowqueen
05-22-2005, 02:19 AM
If they're taking time to give you a crit, Spar, they obviously think you've got talent. Don't get too down.

mdin
05-22-2005, 03:24 AM
Luckily for you there's quite a few more publishers out there.


Lion-O wouldn't give up, and neither should you!

mdmkay
05-22-2005, 03:42 AM
I'm sure this is only the first of many, tell me.. does it get any easier??



You asked so I'll answer.....a little but they all sting a bit, some worse then others. If you got back a personal rejection with a critique I wouldn't be quite so over wrought and I would definetly save that publishers address for the next book or one that you think he might be interested in. No one is trying to dismiss how you feel but we are trying to let you know that you've had a good sign that you have talent and we rejoice with you at least in that aspect. Here's a virtual hug for this rejection and the many to come......that's just how the game is played kiddo. You can't learn to kickbox without ever getting a hit.

Sparhawk
05-22-2005, 06:24 AM
Luckily for you there's quite a few more publishers out there.


Lion-O wouldn't give up, and neither should you!

YES !!!! Another Thudercats fan :Clap: ..

Thanks everyone for all the kind words. Being a member of this forum is such a blessing and a privaledge. Jenna, I owe you a mixed drink and a foot rub.

Thanks again everyone.

-Sparhawk

ScottAJohnson
05-22-2005, 08:18 AM
Heh...I've been there on both counts. (Martial Arts instructor and been rejected my fair share of times).
Everyone who's replied here is right on the money. Don't give up, see it as a positive. Hell, if my first rejection had been that positive, I'd have framed it! As it stands, I've got so many rejections that I'm seriously considering wallpapering a room in my house with them all. Now that I'm published, I look back at them and realize what a useful learning tool they were.
So you're in you're in your corner, you're beat to hell, you don't feel like you can lift your arms for another second. But you hear a voice in your ear and it says (in best Burgess Merideth voice) "GET UP you sonnovabitch! Because Micky loves you!"

blacbird
05-23-2005, 08:39 AM
They only get easier to handle AFTER you've had something accepted somewhere. Yeah, I know, successful writers still get rejected all the time. But they've had some success to fall back on for confidence. You get sixty or seventy of these rejections along, with zero acceptances, every one is like a root canal done with a slightly bigger drill.

bird

KimJo
05-23-2005, 02:26 PM
Sparhawk,

Basically, rejections suck. But as others have pointed out, you got a PERSONAL rejection! The editor thought enough of your writing to give you tips on how to improve. That means you've really got something! Take the suggestions you agree with, ignore the ones you don't, and try again. Your book will find a home! Good luck!

arkady
05-23-2005, 04:30 PM
You get sixty or seventy of these rejections along, with zero acceptances, every one is like a root canal done with a slightly bigger drill.

bird

Blacbird speaks the truth.

aka eraser
05-23-2005, 07:36 PM
They only get easier to handle AFTER you've had something accepted somewhere. Yeah, I know, successful writers still get rejected all the time. But they've had some success to fall back on for confidence. You get sixty or seventy of these rejections along, with zero acceptances, every one is like a root canal done with a slightly bigger drill.

bird

I'm going to make an assumption here; always a risk, I know. But if I'm wrong, it'll be the first time and I'm due.

;)

I'm guessing that blacbird and arkady (who agreed) have only been submitting Big Works - likely novels. I've used this analogy before but it works: It's like a baseball player who thinks that every at bat has to result in a home run or s/he's a failure. I wish more writers would consider trying to hit some singles, bunt, or even take a walk to get on base. In other words - submit a poem to a small magazine - send an op-ed piece to your local newspaper - write an article on a favourite hobby or some aspect of your work and sub it to a regional mag.

Chances are you'll still collect your fair share of rejections, especially if you don't do your homework first, but the odds are that sooner or later you'll see your name as a byline. If you need validation as a writer to help withstand the sting of Big Work rejection this is one way to accomplish it.

We all crawl before we walk and walk before we run. It may not be everyone's cuppa. I can hear some folks (who sound an awful lot like DeForest Kelley) saying, "Dammit eraser! I'm a novelist not a article writer!"

Well then, keep plugging away. Try to learn from the rejections and write a better, more salable novel. But I hope some of you will consider doing something that gets you on base and in the game instead of just trying to smack a home run.

blacbird
05-24-2005, 09:00 AM
I'm going to make an assumption here; always a risk, I know. But if I'm wrong, it'll be the first time and I'm due.

I'm guessing that blacbird and arkady (who agreed) have only been submitting Big Works - likely novels.

Wrong.

bird

Birol
05-24-2005, 09:27 AM
Bird, what do you write? Do you have a writing buddy you can swap things with? If not, have you considered posting something in the Share Your Work forum for some feedback?

brinkett
05-24-2005, 04:01 PM
I wish more writers would consider trying to hit some singles, bunt, or even take a walk to get on base. In other words - submit a poem to a small magazine - send an op-ed piece to your local newspaper - write an article on a favourite hobby or some aspect of your work and sub it to a regional mag.

I think people need to write what they're interested in writing. I write novels. I have zero interest in writing articles or poems for magazines. I also have limited time to write, so if I'm going to write, I write what I'm motivated to write. Trying to write something I'm not suited to write wouldn't be a good use of my time, IMO.

ScottAJohnson
05-24-2005, 05:01 PM
I think people need to write what they're interested in writing. I write novels. I have zero interest in writing articles or poems for magazines. I also have limited time to write, so if I'm going to write, I write what I'm motivated to write. Trying to write something I'm not suited to write wouldn't be a good use of my time, IMO.

I agree with Brinkett on this one. I'm simply not interested in doing short stories anymore. No slight on those that do write them, but I just feel like my abilities lie elsewhere. Even when I do start a short story, it always winds up around novella length.

Birol
05-24-2005, 05:22 PM
I think people may be missing Frank's point. If the rejection from the slower-paced world of novel writing is getting you down, pen something shorter and submit it somewhere you are likely to get accepted. The writing of short stuff does not have to be the main committment, especially if your writing time is limited, but seeing your byline hopefully will be enough to carry you through the next wave of rejections or until you get an acceptance. It's a validation to not stay depressed because your work really does have merit.

maestrowork
05-24-2005, 05:41 PM
We are writers. Remember that.

brinkett
05-24-2005, 05:53 PM
I'm not missing Frank's point. I'm saying it won't work for people who are meant to write novels. I'm not looking for validation when I submit. I'm looking to get my novel published. That's all. Also, I didn't choose to write a novel because I'm trying to hit a home run. I chose to write a novel because the stories I want to tell are novel length. If I had a story to tell that could be a short, it would be a short, but for some reason I don't have any stories like that.

It's natural for people to feel a bit down when they get a rejection slip, but most of us then move on. I think it would be a mistake to switch to something you have no real interest in doing just to get your name into print. I know it would be for me, anyway.

As for validation, fiction is different from non-fiction. Getting an article published in a magazine or newspaper says absolutely nothing about whether you can write fiction, and vice versa. And having a short story published says nothing about whether you can write a publishable novel length work, and vice versa. If you need validation that you can write a good novel, the only way is to keep submitting novels.

maestrowork
05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
What do you mean by "who are meant to write novels"?

I write novels. I have one coming out this Fall (traditionally published). And another in the works. But I also write a weekly column, a blog for a local paper, and other stuff. I've written 3 short stories this past year -- they're currently sitting on my desk, but I did write them. I find time to write, because that's what I enjoy doing. I spend most of my time writing my novels, sure. But I don't just write novels.

I have ideas all the time. Many are full novel-length ideas. Some, I am sure, are short-story worthy. I have one brewing right now, and I can't wait to get to it in-between my novel writing and other gigs.

If you want to specialize in just one thing, and one thing only, that's fine. We all only have so much time in a day. But you will need to be realistic. Writing, marketing, and publishing novels take a LONG time and a lot of perseverance. Sometimes hundreds of rejections. And not everyone sells their first novel.

What Frank said was that: if you find the whole process depressing, you need to find other ways to lift yourself out of it. Getting other stuff published is a fine way to do so -- besides, it only helps if you get some publish credits, fiction or non-fiction.

RE: validation. I don't agree, but I won't go there.

brinkett
05-24-2005, 06:54 PM
We're all different. Some people can write articles, short stories, novels. Some people can't, or have a strong preference for one over the rest. I don't believe that everyone can write anything. I think some can, and perhaps you're one of them. Others need to stick to the form they do best.

To be fair to Frank, his post does seem to be addressing writers who need validation by seeing their name as the author, regardless of the type of work, and I agree that if that's the most important thing, it'll probably be achieved faster by submitting shorter works. I'm not submitting for that reason, and I also don't get depressed over rejection slips, so it won't work for me, but it might work for those who are looking for validation or are thinking about giving up, yes.

aka eraser
05-24-2005, 10:18 PM
That was indeed my point brinkett - that folks who need validation as a writer can achieve it in ways other than having a book published. There's a heady rush in receiving cheques and seeing bylines and it never really pales.

I think it's easier to get discouraged and even quit if a person's novel(s) or book(s) have been shopped for years and never get accepted. Getting paid and published in other forms can help keep the psyche intact for some of those writers while they're pitching and waiting.

blaqbird, I'd be interested in knowing what you're writing too. If it's anything in my particular bailiwick (humour, nonfiction, essays) I might be able to offer a tip or two.

blacbird
05-26-2005, 06:43 AM
If the rejection from the slower-paced world of novel writing is getting you down, pen something shorter and submit it somewhere you are likely to get accepted.

This assumes, blithely, that it's easier to get a short piece accepted than a long one.

Wrong.

Been there. Ain't been able to do that.

bird

maestrowork
05-26-2005, 06:45 AM
This assumes, blithely, that it's easier to get a short piece accepted than a long one.

Wrong.

Been there. Ain't been able to do that.

bird

Sounds like you have a good attitude Blacbird. Good luck.

Euan H.
05-26-2005, 10:28 AM
This assumes, blithely, that it's easier to get a short piece accepted than a long one.

Wrong.

bird

While it may well be more difficult to sell a short story to a professional market than a novel, I fail to see how that's relevant. Birol said send it 'somewhere it's likely to be accepted.' Well, there are plenty of non-paying markets out there, and selling to one of those is going to be easier than selling to a pro market. Or do you really think 'Joe's Ezine' is as picky as F&SF?

And as for:
Been there. Ain't been able to do that.
Well, that applies to me too. I'm up to twelve rejections this year so far (one novel query, and eleven shorts) and I've never sold anything (or had anything published) in my life. And if I sit around saying 'Ain't been able to do that', then I never will either.

As the Buddha says 'Life is suffering, dude, so, like, get over it.'

Birol
05-26-2005, 10:59 AM
Euan, yes, I did say 'submit it somewhere it is likely to be accepted', but I would like to add, I would never advocate for a writer to submit to a non-paying market just to get published. Low-paying, fine; no-paying, not without forethought and ulterior motives.


Blacbird, you intrigue me. You claim 60-70 rejections of non-novel length work without a single acceptance and yet you continue to submit. You have true determination and drive. I admire that.

blacbird
05-26-2005, 06:21 PM
Well, there was that want ad for the used lawnmower.

Which they accepted on the second try.

Euan H.
05-27-2005, 05:02 AM
Well, there was that want ad for the used lawnmower.

Which they accepted on the second try.
:Clap: See? You can dooooo ittttt!

blacbird
05-27-2005, 09:25 AM
Best writing I'm capable of, apparently, On acceptance, rejection, expectation and submission; I accept that my writing sucks so badly it will be eternally rejected, and that is my expectation with every submission. I would say something about aspiration, but my expectations have now pretty much killed any aspiration. What I have left is obsession.

I didn't post what I did to complain about the publication "process" (as if there was any such mythical animal). I just tend to have a problem with platitudes, as in, "Every rejection gets you closer to an acceptance," etc. Not my experience.

bird