I got another rejection.
And I’m happy about it.
The irony isn’t lost on me. I’ve spent most of my life terrified of being rejected – by people, for jobs, for ideas, on projects . . .. How did I get here?
I got my first rejection a year ago. “Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are no longer able to provide feedback on each query individually . . ..”
I suspect this was a polite way to say, “Oh my God, you sent me a first draft. Please don’t do that again.” Why do I think that? Because between my submission and the resulting rejection, I learned more about my craft. While it wasn’t a first draft (even I know not to do that), it was a lovingly created mess. I knew I was getting a rejection. I was happy about that one too – no self-respecting publisher should have taken it. I’m still too embarrassed to re-read it.
So I worked, and I listened, and I read – and I wrote. And I did it again, but with a different manuscript.
This time: “While the story is exciting, we felt having four POVs in the opening pages was too confusing and slowed the pace. Also, the romantic conflict isn’t quite strong enough . . ..”
Don’t laugh. I did NOT head-hop, which is a major accomplishment for me, and my hero, heroine, and antagonist are three of the points of view (and one them is only a paragraph). I know how to fix it. The romantic conflict is a much bigger hurdle — and the subject for another blog post.
This is a “better” rejection. I have a road-map for what I need to learn next. I even got a little praise. It also wasn’t the criticism I dread the most – sorry, but you don’t have a plot. I’ve improved. Go me!
Does it mean I’m no longer terrified? No. Despite that, I’m going to learn more about my craft and try it again.
On the upside, last week I got an email from another editor. I’d submitted pages to her a year ago (on a third manuscript). “If this manuscript is still available, I would really like to read the full. I think your voice is fresh and I am eager to find out how this story plays out.”
I hadn’t looked at this manuscript since I made my submission. Now I’m going through it and applying the lessons I’ve learned from my rejections. It’s easier to see the problems, and they’re easier to fix.
Rejection can be a writing tool. Be afraid of it all you want, but risk it and learn how to use it wisely.
I’m in editing mode, so I’m counting on everyone else to read for fun this month.