Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Worth It

If there's one thing I've learned about the publishing industry, it's that the dreaded "R"s (Rejections) never stop.

There's overcoming the self-rejections while you're writing your book. That little inner editor that whispers, "This book is crap. Stop writing now and do something productive like watch television or research random movies on imdb.com." But, you manage to punch your inner editor in the face, knock him/her out and finish the damn book.

Then you move onto the rejections during editing. This is where you re-read your book and hate it. Where you can't possibly imagine any edits that could make that puppy readable. Where you gnash your teeth, kick, scream and lament how you just wasted several weeks, months, years, on writing this piece of crap. But, you manage to stop the dramatics and get down to business.

So, now you have a book. Time for the agent rejections! From "not for us" to "too hard to sell women's fiction" to "my client list is full." After a few heartbreaking close calls, you land an agent. Dreams accomplished right? Er...um...excuse me while I laugh hysterically.

Your precious baby goes out on submission. You spend the first few blissful days dreaming of auctions, six-figure deals and huge pre-publication tours for your book. Editor rejections trickle in, but you remain steadfast. After all, your book is OMG BESTSELLER MATERIAL! After a couple of weeks, you start to worry if that auction just ain't gonna happen. Then, you start to worry if it'll sell at all.

But then...huzzah! Your book sells! What's next?

You get to start all over again and write another book! Which, at any stage, could be rejectified by yourself, your critique partners, your agent, your editor or the dreaded marketing/sales committee.

So, you see, you never really outgrow those rejections. (Unless, of course, your name is Stephenie Meyer. But sadly, mine is not.) Because nothing is 100% certain in publishing. But, when I'm bummed out about my latest revision or stressing about book promotion, I remember that No Guarantees can be a huge blessing.

For every story we hear about a writer's editor leaving or their agent dropping them, we also hear amazing Cinderella stories about the overnight pre-empt, the multiple books sold at auction for a debut author, the book that got so-so reviews that became a bestseller. And that excitement, that possibility, is what makes all those "R"s totally worth it.


Jillian Cantor said...

So true!! I've experienced each one of these levels of rejection multiple times!!

Lesley Livingston said...

It does make it seems like were just ever so slightly masochistic, doesn't it? (At least until you get to the "A" on the other side of all those "R"s...)

Liz Fichera said...

Maureen, great post. I can so relate, unfortunately. Glad I found your web site. Good stuff here. :-)

Lisa Patton said...

Great Post, Maureen! And why are we going through all this again? Oh yeah, we love it. There is no other way!