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Monday, April 30, 2012

Among the Ranks of the Rejected

In putting together my talk on self-publishing, I came across some interesting material. I started out looking for the names of famous self-published authors. There are a lot of them. However, I found the list of now famous authors who were rejected over and over again to be more intriguing. It takes courage to persist in sending out a manuscript repeatedly, despite blistering rejections. It is comforting to know that Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times before a publisher recognized its worth. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, was turned down 29 times. Louis L’Amour was rejected over 200 times.

It seems there are many short-sighted publishers in this world.

I have been to innumerable writers' conferences and listened to panels of editors describe what they want. I have heard many of them say, "I'll know it when I see it."


To be fair, I realize that editors are swamped with manuscripts. They have to get rid of some of them.

Over the years, my manuscripts have been turned down plenty of times. Irons in the Fire had 25 rejections from both agents and editors, but it was published eventually and was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award.

It is wonderful to find an editor who appreciates your writing, but it isn't an easy task and frequently those editors move on. Then the author has to start the process all over again.

I am still collecting rejections from publishers. In the last letter I received, the editor wrote about my use of formal language. It wasn't right for her.

Daughter #1 got a laugh out of that. She figured I probably wrote out the word your instead of using ur.

Prince of the Mist is currently my only self-published book. However, it was previously published. Putting it up for sale again was a no-brainer.

Self-publishing is not a difficult process, but it is extra work. I have considered putting up my books on my own, but it is wonderful to have someone else edit, format, make a cover, and upload the book for me.

All I really want to do is write.


Irene said...

The only way to get published is to send it out?
Not any more.

But it doesn't hurt to have some "good" rejections so you know what is wrong with what you've done. You can make changes that way.

But if you want to be published by a NYC publisher, ya gotta send it out over and over again.
If it doesn't work, you can always do it yourself.
Times have indeed changed in the publishing world!

pawf1067 said...

Thanks for this post. I got a very nice rejection letter this weekend. Although some of her comments had merit, I had to wonder if she understood my story at all. It's set at a SyFy convention and she said the characters were over the top.
Yes, of course they are, they're at a SyFy convention.
So what it did is make me realize she wasn't the editor for me for this project and that in itself valuable information.

MarkD60 said...

If at first you don't succeed...
I think all Louis L'Amour books are basically the same. And I read a lot of them.

Penelope Marzec said...

At least everyone knows what e-publishing is now. I felt like a pioneer back in 2000 with my first e-published book.

Penelope Marzec said...

It is nice when the editor gets it, but that doesn't happen often. All you can do is cross that one off your list.

Penelope Marzec said...

I read a lot of Barbara Cartland books, which are all the same, too. :^)