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View Full Version : What's the hardest you've fallen?



Miss Plum
04-25-2010, 01:10 AM
I know I shouldn't, but every time a legit agent requests that partial, I start chewing my pillow and dreaming of a six-figure, two-book deal. So long, day job! Hello, $5000 shopping trip! I'll soon live in coffee shops, working on my laptop and gazing out at the romantic, rainy sidewa--SPLAT. ". . . but best of luck elsewhere."

What's the biggest disappointment you've ever suffered? Agent? Editor?

I'd generally say my biggest disappointment is always my most recent, but there was "DL" of Writers House (being Google-alert proof here). He corresponded with me for a while, explaining the difficulties and absurdities and other requirements of the genre I was working in, and finally offered to read a full. I felt as though we really had some chemistry, something beyond the usual agent-hopeful writer relationship. Then: REJECTION. He said he wasn't feeling the magic. It was a tough R to take, because it was the comfiest and most confiding that an agent had ever been with me. And then it was back to the querying board.

COchick
04-25-2010, 01:17 AM
I haven't had anything too big yet...but I do have my full out with an agent who gave me fantastic feedback and asked me to make some changes. This was all in email exchanges that sounded so promising, and my hopes are WAY up. I made the suggested changes and sent it back...one week ago. I have a feeling that if she gives me the boot, I'll be devastated.

Amarie
04-25-2010, 01:46 AM
For me, rejections on full manuscripts were the hardest, because I was alway convinced if only someone would read the whole thing, they would think it was brilliant. Good experience to make me realize no matter what, only a certain portion of people are going to like my work.

Chumplet
04-25-2010, 02:36 AM
It's hard to say whether I'll fall hard. I only had one full rejected, but I sort of expected it. With the smaller e-presses I've been lucky, but now I'm setting the bar higher. I expect I'll get a few bruises with this one.

Miss Plum
04-25-2010, 04:34 AM
I haven't had anything too big yet...but I do have my full out with an agent who gave me fantastic feedback and asked me to make some changes. This was all in email exchanges that sounded so promising, and my hopes are WAY up. I made the suggested changes and sent it back...one week ago. I have a feeling that if she gives me the boot, I'll be devastated.

Arg, it is cruel that it's so possible to go either way in a situation like that. You don't even dare to to enjoy your high hopes!

Congrats on your progress so far, though, and post back on AW to let us know how it goes.

Lucy
04-25-2010, 06:29 AM
I once sold a book to one of the Big Five, agreed on terms, and a few days later, the editor called my agent and informed him that she had changed her mind.

COchick
04-25-2010, 07:45 AM
Arg, it is cruel that it's so possible to go either way in a situation like that. You don't even dare to to enjoy your high hopes!

Congrats on your progress so far, though, and post back on AW to let us know how it goes.

Thanks...and I certainly will be back to let everyone know how it goes.

Back to refreshing my email every 10 seconds!

blacbird
04-25-2010, 08:56 AM
Separated a shoulder slipping on a wet trail in the deep woods three or four miles from my house, all alone. Lost my glasses in the fall, had to more or less braille my way out. Got home, got the shoulder dealt with, got alternate glasses, next day hiked back out to find the lost pair, and followed a set of fresh black bear tracks all the way down that trail. Amazingly, found the glasses.

This was seven or eight years ago. But the shoulder has never been completely right again. Lost all the life out of my 59-mile-an-hour fastball, it's just never going to be the same.

Oh . . . wait . . . this thread is about writing-related falls. Okay, worst one of those I had was when Mrs. Sorenson took away my pencil in kindergarten because I was being disruptive to others. I shoulda learned from that one . . .

caw

DennyCrane
04-25-2010, 08:44 PM
You want splat? I'll give you splat. How about being repped for a year and a half through four or five big edits, one agency move, and one agency merger, only to be dumped by my agent who now decides to rep celebrity memoir exclusively?

Still, I picked myself up, thanked him for all his hard work and started querying. Again. That's what matters, no matter how far the fall: Getting up.

Whoa, that was cheesy. Did I just quote ROCKY? Awesome.

PoppysInARow
04-25-2010, 09:49 PM
My first R on a full was hard. I couldn't believe people wouldn't love it as much as I did. I moped, ate chocolate, and then got back to writing.

I haven't really had any major falls. Nothing I couldn't dust myself off from. I am about to step outinto the world with a project I've got my heart and soul in, so if it flops I might be a bit heartbroken. But I'll move on.

Lucy
04-25-2010, 10:06 PM
Agent rejections never bothered me. I had read enough to know that it would be rejected so I was prepared for the first few <i>nyets</i>. My first agent didn't send the editor rejections to me so I never felt those. I guess I just try not to look at it as a personal judgement about my worth as a human being.

triceretops
04-26-2010, 10:49 PM
I have a fall-splat from which I almost never got up. My publisher was a frickin' crook and lied to all of us about EVERYTHING. She went belly-up soon after my first two books were published, stranding about 35 authors, and never paying anyone, anything for even close-out royalty sales. My two books took a year to write--they're ruined and netted me zero income. I wrote about this on my website. It's called "The Demise of Rain Books." You wanna see POD small press at its worst? Even worse than PA? Take a gander at it--I defy you to keep the bile from rising, or flat-out expelling your guts.

Yeah, this was my first introduction to publishing after a 22-year hiatus.

Then, an agent who couldn't sell a book to save his life to anybody.

I don't know what's up next. Everything seems fine right now, but I'm suspicious and cynical of this business--wounds that will never go away.

Tri

Miss Plum
04-26-2010, 11:32 PM
omg . . . getting black and blue just reading.

stormie
04-26-2010, 11:47 PM
For me it was almost three years ago. I had a top agent, a wonderful agent by industry standards. But for a lot of reasons it didn't work out and we had an amicable parting of ways (sounds like a divorce, doesn't it?!). That particular novel he originally loved is gathering dust. I think what bothers me the most, and it's the hardest fall for me ever, is to see that particular novel just...sit.

Sure I've moved on, been pubbed, etc, etc, etc. But in all the ten years of writing and submitting, that's the biggie.

.

simplyaven
04-27-2010, 12:52 AM
Aha, I'm with you on the dreaming part, so let's arrange a joint gazing session at a coffee shop! :)))

As about the rest, I have a huge bunch of rejections already. Some of them I expected because truth is I started querying too early. The second wave was half expected. Now the tird hasn't started yet, I'm changing, re-writing, AND working with an editor whom I pay - just to be on the safe side.

However, I realized how truly absurd this whole business is last week. I had approached two editors, top notch, to get offers and rates. The first one made quite a few remarks about the book but loved the general sound and the characters, the voice and the pace, and gave me a very good rate. The second one asked for the full and same day returned an e-mail that being already on the second chapter, she didn't know what was going on yet and she didn't even know who the main character was. Now, with all my respect but this was so over the top that I couldn't even take it seriously. Still, I cried myself to sleep over her comments. I thought "God, it is soooo bad that een a paid editor can not stand it! My character is an unknown value." This was my worst failure up to this point but the fact that she overreacted helped get over it in twelve hours. And at the same time, there were beta readers who also liked the revisions... It's all just absurd and I learn quickly to not allow to be hurt.

Lucy
04-27-2010, 04:27 PM
@ simplyraven, what do you mean by "offers and rates"?

Mystic Blossom
04-27-2010, 07:29 PM
First rejection was the hardest. I was sixteen and thought I was so effin brilliant, so when the agent didn't agree, God was I sad.

Since then, I haven't really had any awful story or book rejections. I got rejected from one magazine, and the piece I wrote was just for them, so I pouted a bit, but no big deal. The hardest I've endured in the way of rejection letters was grad school rejections, cause that's more than just a magazine or a potential book publication. That's pretty much my future for the next 2-3 years that's being denied in that letter. Yeah, no doubt, those were the hardest.

simplyaven
04-28-2010, 03:43 AM
@ simplyraven, what do you mean by "offers and rates"?

Quotes how much the editing and evaluation would cost.

blacbird
04-28-2010, 11:12 AM
Okay, serious comment:

Happened about ten years ago, back when I was optimistic about what I was doing and had had some interesting outside encouragement for it. I went to a major distant writers' conference, involving considerable personal expenditure, and got a really good reception for the stuff I presented at seminars. At the end of the thing, they held a kind of final reception at which recognitions of various kinds were given. It turned out that ever damn one was handed out to a local in-crowd person. When it was over one of the seminar leaders sought me out and apologized profusely, saying she'd thought the story I presented was really good and she'd pushed it for an award, but got nowhere.

I think that's when I really began to understand the publishing process.

Further advanced classes in that process have followed.

caw

Begbie
04-28-2010, 12:41 PM
A few years ago, came so close I could smell the contract. It still stings.

But persistence paid off and now it's something I can look back at and laugh.

Stick with it. Don't get discouraged. The harder you fall, the closer you are.

brainstorm77
04-28-2010, 01:36 PM
I think the worst was my first rejection on the first novel I wrote. It was sent back with a personalized note saying they liked the story but the writing wasn't up to par.
I was angry, I remember thinking how they dare reject me?:tongue That was over four years ago; of course they were right :D

Vandal
04-28-2010, 03:54 PM
My first novel was adult paranormal and it caught the interest of a "major" agency. The head agent called me and said she would like to see it written as young adult to match the voice of the story. I rewrote it in two months, all the while sending ideas to a junior agent who loved it every step of the way. When I finished, they asked to talk and this time it was a conference call with several agents and readers.

They declined saying the voice wasn't quite right.

That novel is still in the trunk. Plus, that agency rejected my next two manuscripts for the same reason.

SheilaJG
04-29-2010, 05:07 PM
Mine was this morning. I like what Begbie says - the harder you fall, the closer you are. I often think of this process as a kind of boot camp, weeding out the ones who quit when it gets hard.

Vandal - they set up a call to reject you? That's harsh. I'd be thinking it was "the call."

Blacbird, yours was the worst, in pain, blind and being stalked by a bear. Have you used that in a story yet?

How long does it take the sting of the fall to go away so you can get back to work?

Wayne K
04-29-2010, 05:16 PM
Mine is reading the rejects that have been sent to my agent. All praise the story and the writing, but have serious doubts about saleability.

They wanted good story, good writing and celebrity names, which I gave them. But now they're not sure how my name will stack up to the celebrity names in the memoir section.

I don't mind the rejections so much as the fact I can't seem to write anymore. I couldn't stand to spend another year of my life writing a book no one wants.

Vandal
04-29-2010, 05:42 PM
Vandal - they set up a call to reject you? That's harsh. I'd be thinking it was "the call."

How long does it take the sting of the fall to go away so you can get back to work?


I absolutely thought it was the call. Especially after she told me it was on speakerphone in a conference room with multiple agents. And then...

I had been working on Novel 2 in the meantime and finished it a few months later, so rejection has never slowed me down. It stings as long as you let it.

Red-Green
04-29-2010, 06:08 PM
Big Name Editor at Big House imprint had my MS less than a week. He emailed my agent to say, "Call me. I want to talk about this book," among other really nice complimentary things.

The very next day, Big House went through a huge shake-up, and several imprints folded, while others were combined. Big Name Editor got shuffled to a different imprint and the phone call never happened.

Miss Plum
04-29-2010, 06:35 PM
Now y'all are scarin' me.

RedScylla, yours reminds me of a writer friend of mine whose novel was accepted by one of the Big Five. Days later, the editor who accepted it was walking down the street in New York and literally dropped dead of an aneurysm. End of novel.

Irysangel
04-29-2010, 06:42 PM
I've absolutely had the 'Phone call that wasn't the call'. A big agent liked my book a lot, but it wasn't right for her list, so she passed me to another agent in house that was really excited about it. Agent called me (I thought it was THE call) but it turns out she wanted revisions. So I did two rounds of edits for her on the first three chapters, and even pitched my new project, and she was SUPER excited about my new project.

A week after she gets my new project, she sends me an email that says that 'after the first three chapters (which I had revised 2x for her), the entire thing is a hot mess' and that I was unpublishable. Thanks but no thanks!

I was crushed. For about two days. Then I got back on the horse.

heyjude
04-29-2010, 09:56 PM
Oh, these sting.

I've been on sub for longer than I care to think about. My agent said we came "so close" with one of the Big 5... the rejection letter was all hearts and flowers. The editor just couldn't get it over the hump.

What can you do? Shoulder to the grindstone, keep moving. I want this too much to let a couple rejections get in my way!

Jack_of_None
05-01-2010, 07:06 AM
This sucks.

I'm torn up about opinions of my betas.

I have a feeling this might just be the death of me.

Laurie PK
05-02-2010, 06:12 PM
Man, I've had too many rejections and "failures" to count! My most memorable one was my first biggie: a publisher wanted to take on my book about Vancouver, and said he'd "hammer out a contract" when he got back from vacation in 2 weeks. In the meantime, I decided to move to Edmonton to pursue my Education degree....and his editorial committee decided not to publish the book after all (too big a risk, with the writer not living in the city).

But that wasn't the worst part of it....the worst was that I wrote him a nasty letter....big mistake! I'm sure it didn't ruin my reputation in the publishing industry (!!) or anything, but it wasn't a good way to respond to a business decision.

But, you live and you learn!

honeysock
05-02-2010, 08:13 PM
Hardest fall? After I wrote my first novel, I snagged an agent fairly quickly. This was about 2003 or 2004. She was brand new but worked for an established agency. I revised a bit for her, then she sent it out.

After a few rejections, we got a nibble: a senior editor at Penguin/Plume! I think my agent was more excited than I was.

I revised, and the very DAY my revision landed on the editor's desk she was laid off in a massive 25%-across-the-board cut. (It was a big deal, in all the papers etc.)

After that? Nada. Maybe the industry was too shaken up, but no other editors would look at it. My agent quit two weeks later. Other agents weren't interested when they found it it had already been subbed.

I opened a restaurant.

But here I am, back in line for more. *Puts hands on knees and leans over for the paddlin' *

brainstorm77
05-03-2010, 12:18 PM
I've absolutely had the 'Phone call that wasn't the call'. A big agent liked my book a lot, but it wasn't right for her list, so she passed me to another agent in house that was really excited about it. Agent called me (I thought it was THE call) but it turns out she wanted revisions. So I did two rounds of edits for her on the first three chapters, and even pitched my new project, and she was SUPER excited about my new project.

A week after she gets my new project, she sends me an email that says that 'after the first three chapters (which I had revised 2x for her), the entire thing is a hot mess' and that I was unpublishable. Thanks but no thanks!

I was crushed. For about two days. Then I got back on the horse.

That's terrible.

brainstorm77
05-03-2010, 12:20 PM
This sucks.

I'm torn up about opinions of my betas.

I have a feeling this might just be the death of me.

Remember opinions are just that. Take what works for you and use it. I've posted in SYW before and some comments make sense to me while others in my opinion are way off. Yet I do value every opinion, even if I don't agree with it. Best of luck to you and keep writing. :)