Monday, July 25, 2005

The art of rejection

I read what I thought was a useful bit of advice somewhere the other day, which basically said don't mention story rejections on blogs or websites as you never know who's reading. In effect, any prospective publisher or agent who's interested in your work could find the posts with a simple search, and where they once wanted to publish/accept the work, they see it's been rejected x amount of times and change their mind.

Also on the matter of rejection, I doubt there's an author alive or dead who's not been rejected hundreds of times. It's something you have to learn to accept. Some rejections are helpful, others come in the shape of form letters. It doesn't always mean the story's no good, just that it wasn't suitable this time. Like countless authors, I've got loads of short stories and 3 novels sitting in a drawer that are no good, or which I abandoned. The interesting thing with them is going back years later and rereading to see how much you have improved. In 1997 I submitted one of the novels that's now basking in a drawer to an agent who represented Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Richard Laymon. He interestingly wrote: 'My feeling is that one day you will have a novel published - GIMOKODAN [which was the title for it then]is very much a borderline case.'

Although the above agent's comment inspired me, not long after that I ceased writing for a number of years due to work commitments. But that manuscript with the crap title - Gimokodan is the underworld of the Bagobo people of the Philippines - still gnaws away at me to rewrite it. One day I will. As with most things, too many projects, too little time.

5 comments:

Monkey said...

Rejection letters make outstanding wallpaper.

Lara Barrett said...

Honestly, I'm just in awe of anyone who can actually start and finish writing an entire book--I can't even finish a short story! I've begun about fifteen different stories at one time or another, but always seem to lose focus, and then none of them ever get completed...

Shaun said...

Monkey, good idea, but I would need a bigger house to do that;-)

Lara, I find it's not the writing of the story that's hard, it's the selling it. I'm sure you'll finish a story one day if you keep at it.

Ilona said...

How very true. And good luck with the rewriting.

Lee Carlon said...

Good post, I was about to talk about the two rejections I received this week, but I think I'll keep it to myself now.