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blacbird
02-05-2010, 12:43 PM
I just made the first submission of anything since January 2008, when I got so fed up with no responses responses I quit sending stuff out. I wasn't even getting rejections; just nothing. Nothing at all. Flushing the manuscripts down the toilet would have been better. At least then I'd have known what happened to them.

Now I feel like crap, the same way I felt when I quit sending stuff out: Total futility.

caw

Birol
02-05-2010, 12:46 PM
Good luck, Blacbird.

dgrintalis
02-05-2010, 12:55 PM
Best of luck to you, Blacbird. I just tell myself the rejections or no responses make the acceptances and positive responses that much sweeter.

blacbird
02-05-2010, 01:09 PM
Best of luck to you, Blacbird. I just tell myself the rejections or no responses make the acceptances and positive responses that much sweeter.

Maybe. I have no evidence by which to judge.

caw

dgrintalis
02-05-2010, 01:17 PM
Patience and persistence, Blacbird. Now quit griping and go write something else. :)

kellion92
02-05-2010, 04:48 PM
You have two more years of craft behind you. It will show.

rosiecotton
02-05-2010, 05:48 PM
You're back in the game and that's the main thing. I'm getting tons of non-responders; I just call 'em rejections and move on. If they really liked it they'd be bashing down the door, right? Ho-hum.

Keep writing, keep querying.

Calla Lily
02-05-2010, 05:52 PM
I have between 50 and 100 non-responders in my query files. If I heard nothing for 3 months, I chalked them up to a "no".

StoryG27
02-05-2010, 05:54 PM
I haven't subbed anything in so long, I don't know if I remember how. I really hope this experience goes better for you this time around and kudos for getting back out there and trying again, no matter how much you dread it. I became jaded by all the partials and fulls coming back rejected, especially from agents who admitted they read the whole book, sometimes twice, and liked it, just didn't think they could sell it. I plan to be back to submitting this summer, and hopefully by then, you'll be well on your way.

Ken
02-05-2010, 06:25 PM
... quality is important, and I know you've got that. But it's a numbers game, too. So be sure to get other subs out too. G'luck and congrats on getting the ball rolling again.

Snowstorm
02-05-2010, 07:48 PM
Good for you for getting back on that horse!

Do you email your queries? I have an unhealthy dose of suspicion about that medium and mail the queries if I can. Rather than the no-response response, I get a higher percentage of rejections that way. :ROFL:

Best wishes to you. You're back in the game!

RainbowDragon
02-05-2010, 09:50 PM
Good luck 'bird. . .it's not easy and there's no way to predict what will happen. If you want feedback on your query or anything send me a PM anytime.

Courage!

MsJudy
02-06-2010, 04:54 AM
Hmmm....

In the two years since you've subbed anything, lots of AW people have found agents or had their stories published. So where's the futility? We know the agents and editors are alive and well and continuing to accept things, even if they haven't yet recognized MY particular brand of quirky brilliance.

So the only way it would be a futile effort would be if your stuff was just not good enough to be published, and never would be. Surely that's not what you mean. Is it?

Frustrating as hell, yes. I totally understand that. I've sent out a whopping 3 queries on my latest book and already I've had way too many people telling me the idea is sweet but just too "small." Grrrrr.

But futile? No.

sheadakota
02-06-2010, 05:02 AM
Bird- this belongs in goals and accomplishments- not rejections and dejections- you had the courage to hit send, what ever the outcome-that, my friend, is a huge accomplishment- I wish you luck-

C.bronco
02-06-2010, 05:29 AM
Yay blacbird! Go get 'em!

blacbird
02-06-2010, 11:06 AM
In the two years since you've subbed anything, lots of AW people have found agents or had their stories published.

True. Those are the ones who produce publishable work.

caw

Toothpaste
02-06-2010, 06:58 PM
Well congrats I guess?

Not that I'm sure that's what you want. I mean you obviously want us to pay attention to you and your plight as you started this thread, but you are responding to all the good will here with your usual negative attitude, so really, I'm not sure what you want me to say.

I hope that this round works better for you. I also hope that you spent the last two years working on your MS and your submission package, and aren't just sending out the exact same rejected material from two years ago. And most of all I hope you aren't engaging in a self fulfilling prophecy, where your negative attitude bleeds out onto your cover letter.

I know it's your personality, and I long ago gave up trying to explain to you why it does you no favours (I was so naive when I first showed up here, thinking I could maybe make you a little happier). But knowing that you have allowed your negativity to prevent you from submitting anything for 2 years suggests to me that, in the end, it's doing you more harm than good.

Still.

I do sincerely wish you the best of luck. :)

Shadow_Ferret
02-06-2010, 07:07 PM
True. Those are the ones who produce publishable work.

caw

I'm right there with you as one of the unpublishable ones. I know how you're feeling.

You and me, blacbird and ferret, side by side, against the publishing world!

Good luck!

dook

Jamesaritchie
02-06-2010, 08:03 PM
I just made the first submission of anything since January 2008, when I got so fed up with no responses responses I quit sending stuff out. I wasn't even getting rejections; just nothing. Nothing at all. Flushing the manuscripts down the toilet would have been better. At least then I'd have known what happened to them.

Now I feel like crap, the same way I felt when I quit sending stuff out: Total futility.

caw

No responses at all? Are you forgetting to slip a hundred dollar bill exactly halfway through the sample pages?

triceretops
02-11-2010, 08:38 PM
I'm going to give you exact stats, bird, on my latest and greatest query campaign.

456 agent submissions over a six-month period. One book.
295 non-responders. That, is hellacious in anyone's book.

Tri--go bird...I know damn well you can beat those percentages!

Haggis
02-11-2010, 08:42 PM
Break a wing, Blacbird.

mkcbunny
02-21-2010, 05:08 AM
Good luck, and congratulations on submitting again.

Cranky
02-22-2010, 04:21 AM
Good luck, blackbird. Pessimistic as you may be about the outcome, you still sent it out there. So good for you. :)

Renee Collins
02-22-2010, 09:03 AM
I like you, blacbird, negativity and all. And I'm rooting for you. :)

Suzan
02-23-2010, 05:05 AM
Tough love, support, friends, advice and more! If you couldn't tell already... Everybody here is hoping for your success. I hope you get a YES very soon!

OctoberLee
02-23-2010, 07:52 AM
The silence is deafening, huh? I'm in the same boat so I feel your pain. Not that I advocate sending a query to an agent just to get a rejection (coughIdidcough) but if you go to query tracker, you can find an agent with fast turnaround time...

okay it sounds crazy, but really it's nice to know that your email is working and that agents are *actually* receiving your stuff. When I was waiting for the answer on my partial, I found one such agent and got a response back in a day. Clearly, from her "1 partial request/700 queries submitted" I knew what I was getting myself into. :D Um... masochism isn't for everyone... but in this biz it doesn't hurt...

kaitie
02-23-2010, 03:50 PM
The silence is deafening, huh? I'm in the same boat so I feel your pain. Not that I advocate sending a query to an agent just to get a rejection (coughIdidcough) but if you go to query tracker, you can find an agent with fast turnaround time...


Me too. ;)

blacbird
02-26-2010, 05:00 AM
Customary result.

caw

Ken
02-26-2010, 05:07 AM
... if you went fishing you wouldn't call it quits if you cast out your line once and didn't hook a fish. Same with fishing for agents and eds. So bait your hook with another worm and cast out again, comrade.

blacbird
02-26-2010, 06:22 AM
... if you went fishing you wouldn't call it quits if you cast out your line once and didn't hook a fish. Same with fishing for agents and eds. So bait your hook with another worm and cast out again, comrade.

You might if you did it a couple of hundred times over many years.

caw

dgrintalis
02-26-2010, 06:38 AM
Blac, I don't you very well so I apologize if this comes out the wrong way, but if you don't have a bit of faith in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? I wish you the best of luck, but try not to be so down on yourself.

Ken
02-26-2010, 08:08 AM
You might if you did it a couple of hundred times over many years.

... watch "The Southerner" from 1945 and you may think differently on the issue.
(Great flick by Renoir in any event.)

blacbird
02-26-2010, 11:53 AM
Blac, I don't you very well so I apologize if this comes out the wrong way, but if you don't have a bit of faith in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?

First, I'm not offended. In any way.

But what does having a bit of faith in myself have to do with the judgment of a submitted piece of writing? I can cite any number of comments here that insist that "the book is all that matters". I don't come to any conclusion other than those are correct. Stuff I write sucks, it's been judged so with perfect regularity now for a long time, and there's no point in pretending otherwise. I once thought I had the ability to entertain readers with storytelling. That's been proved utterly an utterly ridiculous notion, by the "others". I've never expected anyone else to have "faith" in "me". I only wanted my writing to be judged, hoping that it would be judged positively, but having pretty completely found out that it's judged otherwise. Not a damn thing to do with "faith" that I can see.

This doesn't apply to only a single piece of writing, by the way. I got lots of track record here, with multiple lame horses.

caw

kaitie
02-26-2010, 12:40 PM
It general applies to how you present yourself and self-fulfilling prophecies. If you're convinced you won't succeed, you won't try as hard as you might otherwise. It's a really weird thing psychological thing, but it's true.

As for how you present yourself, if you're writing a query and basically trying to sell yourself and your story, and it's written from the mindset of, "This sucks why am I bothering?" chances are it comes off in the query. It might not sound interesting, it might sound apologetic, it might just sound like you're insecure or lack voice and drive. I'm not saying it necessarily does, just that it's a possibility. I used to have a huge, huge problem with this and couldn't even begin to see how to write a letter about something I'd written that didn't sound like it was apologetic and no good. I've managed to come a long way in that regard, however.

I do wonder from the way you've talked in this post if you look at it when someone says "this needs to be improved" and then assume that it's hopeless or no good and give up on it, or if you try to learn from the errors. My writing ten years ago was nowhere near where it is now. I've actually got something potentially close to being any good, and I've actually sent it to someone else on here to give me a critique on the beginning because I know that's the weakest part and I've been told that by three people now. I'm going to probably have a moment of break down and cry, wonder how the hell I'm going to fix things, and feel like shit because I've put so much work into it already when I get the response back, but after that I'll sit down and try to fix it.

I've written things solely for practice to learn how to do things. I knew my dialogue sucked, so I've worked hard to improve it. I know my biggest weakness is plot, so I work really hard to try to improve the plots. Writing is a process. It's not something we get to just be miraculously good at. You mention that you've had people dislike your work, but I hope that when they do you turn around and try to improve it and apply what you're learning.

I have no doubt that even a person with very little inborn talent can become a good writer. I'm one of them. I'm definitely not one of these people who could just put out a rough draft and have it be brilliant. It seemed like all through college I was the absolute worst writer I knew. So I know how it feels to not compare and always feel like you suck, but the great thing about writing is that it can always be improved.

Also, you say that your work has been judged by others, but are you counting only agents? Or do you mean beta readers? I've got a nice big collection of rejections right now and a whole lot of no replies on a story that my beta readers have adored. I don't think the rejections mean that no one would enjoy it because I have people who have said specifically that they did. It could be that you have a great story, but that the query letter itself is bringing you down.

I'm hoping this isn't taken wrong and I hope you realize that I'm trying to be positive. It's not easy to be rejected, and it's not easy when something we work hard on and really want to do well is turned down, but I think it's good to keep striving and do what we can to improve ourselves and learn. Not just with writing, but with everything we do.

dgrintalis
02-26-2010, 01:07 PM
First, I'm not offended. In any way.

But what does having a bit of faith in myself have to do with the judgment of a submitted piece of writing? I can cite any number of comments here that insist that "the book is all that matters". I don't come to any conclusion other than those are correct. Stuff I write sucks, it's been judged so with perfect regularity now for a long time, and there's no point in pretending otherwise. I once thought I had the ability to entertain readers with storytelling. That's been proved utterly an utterly ridiculous notion, by the "others". I've never expected anyone else to have "faith" in "me". I only wanted my writing to be judged, hoping that it would be judged positively, but having pretty completely found out that it's judged otherwise. Not a damn thing to do with "faith" that I can see.

This doesn't apply to only a single piece of writing, by the way. I got lots of track record here, with multiple lame horses.

caw

What I meant was have faith in yourself, your words, and your work. I should have made that a bit more clear; my apologies. I've not read any of your work, but I know you've been here for quite some time, which means you're probably quite serious about writing. My thought is perhaps your work does not suck nearly as much as you think it does, and if you have areas that need improvement, well, that's why you're here, yes?

I write horror, which is pretty much the red-haired stepchild in the corner as far as genres go. I've had lots and lots of rejections, but I keep plugging away because I have faith in my self/work/words. If I didn't, what would be the point? Even if I never get published, even if I write twenty books and every agent says no, I will still have faith in my work. There are so many factors in this subjective business, but publication is the business end of things. I can still have faith in my work if the business end never works out. I write for me, first and foremost. I write because the words in my head don't give me a choice - they want out.

Don't drown yourself in your own negativity. That way lies madness. Take it and use it to push yourself forward.

:Hug2:

Toothpaste
02-26-2010, 06:51 PM
The attitude of "my work sucks" is not remotely helpful. It means that you don't think your work is any good so why bother writing anything else.

Have you tried to write something very commercial? Have you tried writing in different genres? How many different books have you written? Someone who thinks, "My writing sucks" is unlikely to keep writing, or to keep trying, or to experiment with other genres etc.

It might not affect your submissions (which may be perfectly decent, and not remotely reflect your negative attitude that seeps onto this site in EVERY SINGLE post you make, ie, Topic: Today's Weather, Toothpaste: Man did you see the snow outside?, Blacbird: Well at least this means the mail man won't be able to deliver my rejection), but it quite likely is affecting your work.

Maybe not. We don't know you and your schedule. But I get depressed really easily myself, and if I spent all my time feeling like it was hopeless, I can tell you, I wouldn't have written a single book since TIMOTHY.

So here's a genuine question if you are genuinely interested in maybe not getting a rejection: are you writing new books? Have you tried to write something commercial? Do you have beta readers reading your first three chapters, your cover letter, your synopsis? You talk of getting hundreds of rejections, well what were they for? Did they offer any advice? Have you ever had a full request?

I'm not sure you really want our help, but I'm willing to give it a go if you want to answer some of these questions.

(and you have to believe me that I understand you SO well, so much better than you think. I don't care what my personality may appear to be on this site, but I have been very depressed the last several years about my writing and my career, and I have to fight that feeling every single day so as to maintain some professionalism and productivity - I think, I might be actually quite helpful to you)

triceretops
02-26-2010, 08:04 PM
Now, Robert, I've read a huge chunk of your, let's call it the 'war novel' way back when, and you certainly don't suck. Irony, humor and wit abounds in it. The realism and facts are all there too. That was never the problem with the book. I suspected all along that editors might be saying, "this might be good, but what am I going to do with another one of these?" Simply put, wrong type of book at this particular moment. Do you have any idea how many vets have written about that era? I'm from that timeframe, so I know it personally.

Now, if you're trying to sell that same book, I'm gonna strangle you. I'd love to critter anything you have that's new, experimental, daring, or just straight-forward. Just push on, and fugg 'em. Getting published is kind of like war--that's how I see it. Nothing dainty or courteous about it--it's just a full-on charge.

Take that from a guieriila fighter whose been there.

Tri

stormie
02-26-2010, 08:15 PM
Bird- this belongs in goals and accomplishments- not rejections and dejections- you had the courage to hit send, what ever the outcome-that, my friend, is a huge accomplishment- I wish you luck-
Exactly. :)

blacbird
02-26-2010, 11:06 PM
For clarification, the "submission" was ABNA. And it was the war book; I detrunked it, not hoping to win, only to maybe move on far enough to get some useful comment returned. It's still the best thing I've managed, nothing else has a better shot, I figured. A thousand other entries passed the first hurdle. A THOUSAND. If you can't get through a gate that wide, judged by a number of people, what's the use in submitting to an agent who accepts maybe one query in 500? There's another active thread here:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=172731

From someone else having the same reaction. At least I'm not alone. But, combined with the utter absence of acceptances for shorts, this experience has only reinforced my view that I got nothin' when it comes to producing acceptable writing. The real mystery to me is why I've been deluded into thinking otherwise.

caw

Toothpaste
02-26-2010, 11:40 PM
Here's a post I wrote about the odds (http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2010/01/its-not-about-odds.html)(this one query in 500 you speak of). To conclude because the odds are great that therefore you won't get repped (or published) is a logical fallacy.

So you didn't make a final list for ABNA. So what? Let's not forget this is the same book you've already had rejected all over the place, why are you surprised? What is the saying, madness is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome? Something like that.

Maybe you don't have what it takes as a writer. By which I mean, it seems to me you haven't written another novel, nor tried to do so strategically. I have read your writing and you are good my friend, so this isn't an issue of lacking talent. What you might lack is the perseverance part of the equation, often considered the most important part. My friend had a book that was her passion project, it got rejected everywhere over a long period of time. Finally her boyfriend said to her, "Quit whining and write another book, something marketable." She did. She got an agent.

I had a book that wasn't selling. All last year I was waiting to hear the good news, but it never materialised. In a fit of anger I wrote another one, one far more marketable. This book is the reason I managed to get a new agent when my old one dumped me.

If you want to write short stories (which is also a very difficult market), then keep churning them out and keep sending them out. If you want to insist on submitting a work that is obviously not getting you published, fine. But doing either is a tough business, and you need to decide if you want to be doing this at all in the first place. Because, sir, your attitude stinks. And it's not funny to read your posts, you aren't sardonic, or bitingly witty. You make, at least me, sad.

If it's making you this miserable, quit. That's not a bad thing. It shows that there are other things you are passionate about in life that matter more to you than getting published. But I think you need to actually make a choice. Because all this "Publishing isn't fair" BS isn't getting you anywhere now is it? And it sure as heck isn't making you feel any better.



Okay, because I'm a nice Canadian, I need to say the following thing after my virtual slap in the face: Blacbird, all this week I've been talking to my writing friends about quitting. Just last night I had the longest conversation with my author friend I mentioned above, and she said almost the exact same things to me. Reading your posts, though, has made me realise how I am coming across to others, what's more that I control my destiny, no one else. I've decided to suck it up, I love being a writer, even though it's damn hard, and I just have to deal with all the crap. This is why I'm being so brutal with you right now. I know I don't know you from Adam, but I have read your stuff, and I think it is excellent, and I think what would serve you so well would be to write something obviously commercial, get your foot in the door, which would then allow for the opportunity of your less commerical stuff to shine.

But first you need to get past your own ego, and the security blanket of negativity that has protected this same ego for far too long. Truly, and this is the harshest thing I've said so far, it's cowardly. You say negative things to hide the sincere pain you feel. And even though you blame yourself as a writer, it never comes across that you think you're truly the problem. If you did, you'd pick yourself up and try to figure out what you are doing wrong and how to fix it. Instead it's quite obvious that truly you think the publishing world is to blame and that you are just an author out of his time, it isn't your writing that's the problem, it's the odds, it's the contest, it's that all people want are vampire novels (not true btw). . . your writing is what is rejected, but you don't believe it's because it's bad, but because somebody somewhere just doesn't want you to succeed.

Anyway, this is my unsolicited advice. Please believe me I'm only being this harsh because I care. I don't take this much time to write something like this for someone I could care less about.