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View Full Version : To vent or not to vent about rejections?



Crinklish
09-20-2007, 07:40 PM
Oh, dear...looks like we have the latest in "I'm rejecting your rejection" blog entries. I spotted it via this blog (http://karenknowsbest.blogspot.com/2007/09/do-you-want-to-read-book-that-gives-pov.html), which I confess I often peek at because I'm a sucker for gossip. For those who don't want to click through, the upshot is that an author (previously published, I think) submitted a romantic suspense novel to Samhain and was rejected. The editor said in her letter that she hadn't liked the way the novel opened in the killer's POV, and that she felt the story moved around to much from scene to scene and POV to POV.

The author in question posted the full rejection letter, complete with editor's name attached, and turned it into a post basically talking about how Samhain clearly has "a rule" about no killer POVs, yada yada yada. Now admittedly, I'm reading from an editor's POV, not an author's, but to me this was a classic "write the angry letter, then delete it" moment. Looking at the rejection letter, it seems clear to me that the editor was tactfully saying, "You didn't execute this well." And the author's complaints have branded her, in my eyes, as "difficult."

Fair? Maybe not...but consider it yet another cautionary tale! (Or just a juicy train-wreck if you're petty like me :).)

Stacia Kane
09-20-2007, 07:55 PM
I agree, I saw the villain POV thing as just one in a list of things the editor didn't like. And posting it was bad form. I doubt it will seriously hurt her career, but it's tacky.

Horseshoes
09-20-2007, 08:23 PM
I'm with y'all. Harping on rejections is worse than a huge waste of time and energy. Doing it publicly just compounds the error.

L.Jones
09-20-2007, 08:40 PM
One of the best things anyone ever said to me before I even submitted anything was: Editors are human beings, do unto them as you would have done unto your own self!

That goes double for things written out and triple in the days of the internet, camera phones and anonymous blogs and posts (you never know who has who's email addie!). Of course, the part of me raised right (that would be on my Mama's side) thinks one should behave with good manners and taste even when there is no chance of being caught acting out.

But then when you're the kind of writer who plays by the rules and makes nice and it just seems to make you all the easier to pass over or shrug off (eh, we'll give her a better cover next time, she won't complain) you do marvel at how much attention this kind of thing draws and if it really hurts those writers?
Scandal seems to be rewarded and Writers Behaving Badly seem to turn up pretty regularly in Lunch Weekly with very nice deals. (Just as James Frey when he shows up at your local book store to sign his NEW book).

annie jones (Somebody's Baby - Love Inspired - out now)

Susan Gable
09-20-2007, 09:43 PM
<shaking head>

You know, when an editor takes the time to tell you WHY something didn't work for her, then one should be grateful, even if you disagree with what the editor said.

You can disagree with what she didn't like about your story, and still be grateful that she took the time to tell you -- because now you've LEARNED something, even if it's only "Editor Sally Sue doesn't like romsus that opens with the villian's POV."

Of course, the catch there could be she doesn't mind stories opening with a villian's POV at all, she didn't like YOUR EXECUTION of same.

It's okay to be hurt by a rejection. It's okay to vent. But it's not cool to vent in public. Venting like that should be done with a trusted friend or two, and then let go.

Write the "rejection of the rejection" if you must, and then print it out and BURN IT. Delete it as well. Get rid of the evidence. <G>

It could be something deeper with this story -- if the author is previously pubbed, and let's say pubbed with "bigger house" then being rejected by a smaller publisher is probably going to sting more. <shrug> Just a random thought, cause I didn't go and read it.

I don't need more negative karma coming into my life.

On the other hand, I DO think it's perfectly acceptable to write an editor and say THANK YOU when you get a good rejection. (Yes, there really are GOOD rejections, ones that teach you something about what you need to do in order to maybe make the next letter NOT a rejection. :) )

Susan G.

Jersey Chick
09-20-2007, 10:08 PM
Who likes to hear rejection? No one. Who'd love to fire off a reject-your-rejection letter - probably all of us. However, I'm a firm believer in treating others as you want to be treated and not burning bridges. You never know who's going to be where when you want to submit something...

Crinklish
09-20-2007, 10:09 PM
Writers Behaving Badly seem to turn up pretty regularly in Lunch Weekly with very nice deals. (Just as James Frey when he shows up at your local boosktore to sign his NEW book).

annie jones (Somebody's Baby - Love Inspired - out now)

Gah, can you believe that new Frey deal? Of course, this one is officially fiction, so at least he won't have to deal with the "he's a liar" thing again...but yeah, I can see how it would be hard to take the high road when James Frey and OJ are the stars of Galleycat.

Cathy C
09-20-2007, 10:33 PM
I've always tried hard to take the high road when it comes to rejections. I've had my share--even since being pubbed. Yeah, it still grates a little when told that a plot won't hold water (even though I know it will) or various other things that one editor might LOVE, but another editor hates.

The whole business is a crap shoot, and doing stuff like this just makes it harder for the rest of us. If that editor sees her name "up in lights" like this, what are the chances that the next time she feels interested enough to take the time to write up a letter, she will hesitate and not. Sigh...

Jersey Chick
09-20-2007, 11:44 PM
Funny enough - here's a little irony to add -

I submitted a query to an agent, received a request for a partial. On a whim, I had also submitted to a publisher. Well, I received a contract from the publisher and my editor couldn't say enough wonderful things about the story and recieved a rejection from the agent who stated that the pacing was slow and the writing wasn't engaging enough (I'm not even sure I know what that means).

Can we all say Hmmm....???

Marlys
09-21-2007, 12:12 AM
Of course, the catch there could be she doesn't mind stories opening with a villian's POV at all, she didn't like YOUR EXECUTION of same.
From the excerpt of the rejection letter the author posted, that indeed looks to be the case--the editor doesn't say opening in the killer's POV is a no-no, just that it's hard to do well and didn't work for her in this novel.

I totally agree with everyone else who's saying to keep the rants off the internet. Totally.

mirrorkisses
09-21-2007, 04:52 AM
er, well.... I read about doing this sort of stuff on ms. snark (albeit, it was talking about lit agents), and I don't think this is a good idea, at least to name he publisher or lit agent who rejected you.
I found a webpage where the guy had posted all his rejection letters. I don't get it, why would you want to advertise that? (His were just posted for no reason.)

veinglory
09-21-2007, 04:57 AM
Emails are one-to-one communication. Unless there is a truly greater reason as a service to others and no gain for one's-self, it is not good form to post them.

HoosierCowgirl
09-21-2007, 05:05 AM
When rejected -- I haven't submitted a lot of stuff just because I work slowly -- I have tried to send an e-mail basically saying "Thank you anyway, I appreciated your time and interest."

Not too fawning, I hope.

Of course, I *did* vent loud and long over the last contest I entered. Where is the duck and cover smiley? I kind of wish I hadn't, but, oh well.

Probably shot myself in the foot ...

Ann

mirrorkisses
09-21-2007, 06:07 PM
on my first rejection, to the school litmag, i vented and i cried a little (i mean, it's the school magazine! a rejection from that?!). I was mostly hurt and angry because they publish a lot of crap in there, so i felt like I was a sho-in. Then I realized that the crap they post is by the staff.
That just pissed me off.
I think, though, I won't be so emotional about agent/publisher rejections when I start sending out, because they have more stuff to look over, so it makes sense.

Khazarkhum
09-22-2007, 01:50 AM
er, well.... I read about doing this sort of stuff on ms. snark (albeit, it was talking about lit agents), and I don't think this is a good idea, at least to name he publisher or lit agent who rejected you.
I found a webpage where the guy had posted all his rejection letters. I don't get it, why would you want to advertise that? (His were just posted for no reason.)

Do you mean Gerard Jones, the guy who keeps lists of everyone's names & email addys & keeps posting them because they rejected his book?

Every time I see his letters they seem like a template for what not to do or say.

Marlys
09-22-2007, 02:21 AM
There's also this site, rejectioncollection.com (http://www.rejectioncollection.com/submit/), but at least the people who submit their rejection letters are anonymous. Less chance of repercussions that way.

mirrorkisses
09-22-2007, 04:22 AM
Do you mean Gerard Jones, the guy who keeps lists of everyone's names & email addys & keeps posting them because they rejected his book?

Every time I see his letters they seem like a template for what not to do or say.

no... it was some random website I found while researching agents.
http://www.stephen-johnson.com/rejections.html

lkp
09-22-2007, 07:07 AM
There's also this site, rejectioncollection.com (http://www.rejectioncollection.com/submit/), but at least the people who submit their rejection letters are anonymous. Less chance of repercussions that way.

Yikes, I just checked this site out and I was pretty appalled by the writers who posted there. It's everybody's fault except theirs that they don't have an agent. Perfectly civil form letters we viewed as crushing personal attacks. Eeep.

BTW, I think Edita Petrick is/was a member of AW.

wee
09-22-2007, 10:55 PM
There's also this site, rejectioncollection.com (http://www.rejectioncollection.com/submit/), but at least the people who submit their rejection letters are anonymous. Less chance of repercussions that way.



I found that site a few years ago & decided not to ever visit it again after reading one whiner-writer who had gotten rejected for a historical romance ... and had been given a very detailed list of exactly why the book was rejected. Things like, "your characters are using items that weren't available during that period of history; do more research on your period." That rejection letter was pure gold! And she was just whining, whining about "how could they reject poor little old me?!" And everyone just agreed, no one pointing out how stupid she was.


wee

wee
09-22-2007, 11:05 PM
no... it was some random website I found while researching agents.
http://www.stephen-johnson.com/rejections.html



This guy's site is hilarious! He sent out the worst query letter ever, and stopped after getting 15 form rejection letters. Did he ever stop to consider re-writing his query, or what he was doing that none of them were further interested? If I got that many form rejection letters, I would first think, "okay, my query stinks". If I was getting rejected on partials/fulls, THEN I would think, "hmmm. maybe my book stinks, too".

The best part was his rejection from Donald Maas agency. The agent actually used the rejection letter to pimp out his own books on writing! Very funny, very clever. lol


wee

wee
09-22-2007, 11:11 PM
Number two was that there were more than one point-of-view presentation. Basically, the editor said it's not possible for the reader to follow 'threads' of the story as these are far apart by definition of what the story is but they come together as the events impact on them and force them to come together (as they must) for the story to have a resolution."


This is from the link given by the OP. Can someone tell me what this means?

wee

mirrorkisses
09-22-2007, 11:31 PM
This guy's site is hilarious! He sent out the worst query letter ever, and stopped after getting 15 form rejection letters. Did he ever stop to consider re-writing his query, or what he was doing that none of them were further interested? If I got that many form rejection letters, I would first think, "okay, my query stinks". If I was getting rejected on partials/fulls, THEN I would think, "hmmm. maybe my book stinks, too".

The best part was his rejection from Donald Maas agency. The agent actually used the rejection letter to pimp out his own books on writing! Very funny, very clever. lol


wee

Yeah, I agree... As a copy editor and as a writer, I noticed that his letter was written horribly with awful punctuation. I mean, ya think maybe there's a problem? NO! I'LL SELF PUBLISH!

Marian Perera
09-23-2007, 12:00 AM
1. Yellow text + purple background = my poor eyes.

2. He stopped after only 15 rejections? I've nearly reached 50 and I haven't stopped.

3. The first paragraph of the synopsis uses the word "has" thrice and contains a punctuation error. I'm not inspired to read further.

4. The best part is the last line of the query letter.


Hopefully with a little luck, I am on the path to a new and exciting career, of which you will be an integral part.

That makes me want to sing, "You are the wind beneath my wings."

mirrorkisses
09-23-2007, 04:04 AM
Well, the fact that he said "hopefully" is bad in itself.

Crinklish
09-23-2007, 07:16 AM
This is from the link given by the OP. Can someone tell me what this means?

wee

Well, I think what the editor meant is that the author's various plot threads weren't adequately connected, or interwoven frequently enough, for the reader to fully engage with the storylines.

What the author meant? Who knows--but if it's indicative of her fiction writing, I think I see why she was rejected.

HoosierCowgirl
09-25-2007, 06:37 PM
Should we reply at all to a rejection?

I was thinking if a full was rejected, there had been some communication thus it would be courteous to at least say "Thank you for your time. I appreciated your interest."

Ann

Manat
09-25-2007, 08:53 PM
I think you should always reply, to a full or a partial, if someone has taken the time and effort to offer any comments or advice beyond a form letter. That's what's foolish with this person. A busy editor who's likely far more informed and experienced than anyone they might find in a critque group, takes the time to read the submission through, providing guidance and advice that might improve their work, and gets an hysterical slap in the face. I bet that's one editor that's gone right back to form rejections and will think twice before doing a personal one ever again.

If someone takes the time from a busy schedule to give you advice you should always say thank you, even when you don't agree.

mariedees
02-11-2012, 08:30 PM
I belong to a private forum with other authors I know and there we all discuss our rejections. That's what friends are for - to sympathize with you when you get a rejection. And if they're writing friends, perhaps to help you see where you need to make changes.

But I recommend never publicly discussing rejections for one simple reason - many agents and editors check out writers' blogs if a submission catches their eye. The last thing you want them to see if they're looking at the first few pages of your manuscript is exactly why the last editor rejected it. And the last thing they want to think is -- oh, my rejection letter is going to show up on this blog. At that point, you probably get a form rejection and the editor goes on to someone else.

I seldom talk about submissions or rejections, even in general terms because I don't want to create a sense that I've been sending a manuscript out and gathering rejections. Or a publisher to look at a submission trail at think "hmm, apparently we were tenth on the list of publishers she wants to work with." Even if they don't know why it was rejected by the others, they know it was. And that they weren't first.

Go to town griping about rejections with friends. Save the blog and public forums to brag about the good things that happen.

Nightmelody
02-11-2012, 08:47 PM
If an editor took the time to personally critique your submission, you should show some gratitude. At least they respected your work enough to do that, instead of a form R. Plus, why go public and cause bad blood with an acquiring editor? You might end up on her desktop next year--and maybe at a different publisher!

Deb Kinnard
02-14-2012, 03:49 AM
I only ever posted one rejection. It came via e-mail from an agent I'd never heard of and to whom I had never subbed anything. In fact, I was agented at the time. It was a rejection of "your work" and wishing me luck in finding an agency home.

I just couldn't take it. It was too funny. My bad side took over and I sent back an e-mail something similar to the following:

"Dear Agent: Thank you for your correspondence of the 22nd. I must inform you I have had a surpassingly bad week, and am in very fragile emotional condition. In fact, I regret that I cannot accept unsolicited rejections right now.

"Therefore I will consider you my agent of record and will expect your standard agency contract in the snail mail for my approval."

Sorry. I just couldn't help it.

Cathy C
02-14-2012, 05:25 AM
:ROFL:

Katrina S. Forest
02-14-2012, 05:47 AM
"Dear Agent: Thank you for your correspondence of the 22nd. I must inform you I have had a surpassingly bad week, and am in very fragile emotional condition. In fact, I regret that I cannot accept unsolicited rejections right now.

"Therefore I will consider you my agent of record and will expect your standard agency contract in the snail mail for my approval."


Wow, I'm so tempted to put that as my signature. Sadly, I think it would come back to bite me.

Becky Black
02-14-2012, 02:23 PM
I posted a blog post a couple of weeks ago about how anything posted on the ineternet will follow you forever, so I'd agree, never rant in a public or even passworded forum about a rejection and about how the agent/editor/publisher are clearly idiots of dubious parentage with an unhealthy predeliction for donkeys.

It's even dodgy doing it by email to close friends. An email can be shared with the world with one accidental click. Or a deliberate one! Friends fall out after all.

Rant only in person in some unrecorded manner (and not in the bathroom at a conference, where the agent or editor in question is, through narrative inevitability, sitting in the next stall.)

wordsmithy
01-09-2015, 12:11 AM
It might be in poor taste to complain publicly about rejections...

But I still really enjoyed Dan Gutman's extensive page about all the detailed publisher rejections he received on what would go on to be a top-selling series:

http://www.dangutman.com/pages/rejection.html

Even he had the good sense not to name names though!