For a beginning writer a rejection of your work is the hardest thing to deal with. When I first started writing, I met the editor’s I submitted to from the conferences my RWA chapter had once a year. The very first editor, Wendi Corsi Staub, was a wonderful sweet person, and she sent me a two page letter explaining what I could do to improve my story even though she rejected my manuscript. This rejection letter gave me hope.
When I started getting form letters rejecting my work, I became despondent because I didn’t know what was wrong. Sometimes I would quit writing for months because my spirit was so bruised.
Then I started entering contests thinking that was the way to find out what I was doing wrong. I would send ten to fifty pages out to a contest hoping that someone would validate that I was a good story teller. Oh, there were judges out there willing to tell you what you were doing wrong, and how to fix it. They even rewrote my work, some made suggestions taking my story a different direction from the way I wrote it, and others loved the way I had written it.
It became so confusing, and I would become depressed each time and refuse to write again. Sometimes, I cried, and then later I would pour over their comments and make all the changes they suggested. It took many years before I realized that not everyone could be right.
This went on for seemingly forever, and I wrote a story that I just knew would make it, but after ninety-three rejections I had to sit it aside. This time many of the rejections were positive. Some said they had liked what they read, but they didn’t know how to market it. Others said they weren’t taking on new authors that it was too risky in this economic climate to do so. Of course, I still received some form letter rejections, but I read and reread the personal messages to keep my hope alive.
It was at this time I became hardened. A difference came over me, and I didn’t even cringe or cry over this rejection. I knew this book was good, but I would have to come back to it another time. Immediately, I started a new story. However, I kept getting negative feedback on this story from contests and chapter members. I decided to set it aside and start another. The same thing happened, so I did the same thing. It was becoming a habit to start something and not finish it, so I decided no matter the negative feedback (there was plenty), I would finish this one.
This book, The Catalyst, also received negative feedback. I was told you have to put romance in it, you have to do this and you have to do that. Then, I found some ladies in the publishing industry willing to mentor me. I learned to stand up for myself. I also learned what I was writing. The Catalyst wasn’t a romance, it was women’s fiction, and it was about the growth of a woman. The Catalyst was e-published in October 2008, and I self-printed it in the same year. Its sequel, Addiction, was e-published in December 2008, and will be released in print by Eirelander Publishing (http://www.eirelanderpublishing.com) November 6, 2009 .
If it had not been for these ladies, I would have been floundering forever trying to figure out what I was writing and trying to conform to the parameters placed around me.
You have to be resilient in this industry. Rejections are inevitable, and you have to harden yourself to it. If you can develop a tough skin early, then you’ll build a career in your field sooner.
Sandra K. Marshall
Addiction released November 2009
Thanks and hugs,
http://www.skaymarshall.com, http://www.royalblushauthors.blogspot.com; http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com; http://www.eirelanderpublishing.com