rejections

Beta Readers, Feedback, Pitch Sessions and Pride

My local writing chapter, Long Island Romance Writers, is hosting its 16th Annual Agent/Editor Luncheon this Friday, June 7th. Soon after, in July, RWA is holding its Annual Conference. Both will be a time for mingling, networking, connecting and reconnecting, and, most of all, pitching our work to interested editors and literary agents.

Often, simmering below the fear of the actual pitch is the fear of rejection. Rejections, however, are sewn into this business and no one has, as of yet, determined a workaround. The best thing to do is prepare. By that, I don’t mean we need to expect a rejection, but that we need to put rejections into perspective.

When I say rejections are sewn into this business, I not only refer to agents and editor rejections but also rejections from readers. Face it, not everyone will like our work. This is such a subjective business and we know negativity is out there – or if we don’t know, we find out soon enough.

Unfortunately, I think we tend to cling to the negative even if its dose is a tiny fraction of the positive.

I’m working on an erotic novella trilogy. Book 1 is finished, Book 2 is plotted and waiting for attention, and Book 3 is, at this point, merely a back-cover blurb. I’ve received great feedback from my beta readers. All honest, helpful and encouraging. Out of the seven people who read it, only one did not like it.

Notice, I didn’t say, six loved it.

Though six did love it, one did not. That one is the one that matters most to me. That one unhappy reader, the one negative review, tends to be the one that carries the most weight with us as artists. We pour so much of ourselves into our creations that one dissenting voice comes through as if on a bullhorn.

Alone, that’s not a bad thing. It’s what we do after we’ve digested the reason for the negativity constructive criticism (it’s all about perspective) that matters.

Do we agree? Do we see a way to make adjustments to mitigate some of the concerns raised without compromising our vision for our story? Can we take the concerns to the positive beta readers for additional feedback or perspective? Some of the most negative feedback, when applied properly, can take a rough patch of story and make it shine.

This type of refocusing attention also applies to pitching our stories to agents and editors. Some will latch onto the idea with enthusiasm while others might cringe, pleasantly say it’s simply not for them, or dismiss you – not just your story – outright. And yes, the latter has happened to people I know and love.

So what? Not everyone will love us. Not everyone will love our work. That’s fine. All is good. Criticism is criticism no matter how gently or cruelly delivered. Our job is to determine its value and our next move.

As I said, this business is subjective. It’s truly as simple as that. If we’ve studied craft, applied ourselves to the project, poured our heart, our tears and our sighs into our stories, and others have rewarded us with honest, unreserved feedback and we’ve applied common sense revisions, then we have done our job.

Someone will always be there to point out a flaw. Others will want what we have to offer because they will ‘get it’. They will get us. They will see the potential in our project and make us feel good about it.

So don’t let ‘no’ stop you. Absorb it. Understand the reason for it. Decide whether to give it weight, and if so, how much. Determine the best direction for it – additional consideration or dismissal – and move forward undeterred.

If you’re anything like me, your muse will have it no other way.   

Fun-Suckers

Otherwise known as rejections or the big “R”.

As a writer, I know rejections come with the territory. Writing is such a subjective art that to expect anyone else to ‘get it’ is presumptuous at best, arrogant at worst. But to hope… well, that’s another story.

As a writer, I’ve written stories that intrigue me. I’ve developed characters about whom I care. I’ve given them twisted backgrounds a company of therapists would vie to take on. And I’ve allowed those characters to find themselves, face their pasts and forge new outlooks and relationships in the form of happily ever after. I’ve upped the stakes for them, hoping to challenge them in every way possible without tipping to farce, in order to show how life, from th

e outside looking in, is much easier to live than from the inside looking out.

Too bad I can’t apply that same vision to myself. For now, I sit with a long-in-coming rejection. One I’d imagined would never arrive. I thought this was ‘it’, the big break, and that from here my writing path would be free of at least one obstacle. I would like to look in from the outside but, when I try, I only see hours, days, months, years of working toward a dream that has yet to come true. I can only wonder whether I’ve invested too much to stop now, or whether I’ve invested too much to bother investing more.

I always pose this question when a rejection comes through. And I always seem to overcome it with new energy, new determination. New characters and stories. Now? I don’t know. I guess I can’t speak for what will happen or how I’ll think in the coming months. But at this moment, I can only say it’s time to turn over, fluff the pillow and find myself a new dream.

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Kitten update!

The news couldn’t be better for the two kittens I’m fostering. They have a home. A wonderfully loving home – TOGETHER! Friends of ours stopped by the other evening. They’d had a beautiful cat years ago and were now – though I was unaware – in the ‘market’ for another. Well, when they saw these little guys, it was like the Fate’s said, “Here you go! Spread the love and be happy!”

They will give these little guys as many hugs and kisses as we’ve given them during these formative days. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to them but at least I know they’ll be heading off on a wonderful and happy life journey. We’ll have them here until the mid to end of May, though, so by then they might have to pry these kittens from my hands. 🙂 It’s okay. I’ve done and will continue to do what’s necessary to ensure these guys are as social and affectionate as cats can be. I couldn’t be happier to know they’re going together to this particular home.

And in other news… I posted my query to my romance writer’s discussion board and received some fantastic feedback. I wish I’d posted it before I sent it to agents, but there you have it – the way my Gemini mind works is not always logical. So… I’ve revised my query and am ready to send it to the next round of agents when/if my final query and contest entry come back with R’s like the rest of them did.

And in yet other news… the weather here is finally spring-like and I cannot wait to get out into the glorious sunshine. My hope today is that Daughter and I can spend the early afternoon in the park for lunch and some studies. I think photography class should be switched to today so we can take some early spring photos of the park and marina.

Yup. Even with rejections flowing in… life can indeed be good.

Ain’t enough hours in the day…

I didn’t even check to see when I posted here last. I know it’s been a while, though… too long, actually. Life getting in the way and all that.

So what’s been happening here? Well… rejections are flowing in. runny-eggs Two are still out but… well… the odds aren’t so great, now are they? Ah, well. All part of the process.

Besides that, I’m focusing on my newest wip and while it’s slow-going, I don’t mind so much. If I’ve learned anything with the past three stories I’ve written it’s this – better to take time planning than waste time revising.

Meanwhile, it’s kitten season again and the shelter is filling up once more. Just last week, some very kind heart called us to say she rescued 6 kittens who had been stuffed into a paper bag and tossed into a commercial garbage dumpster. Thanks to this wonderful lady who heard their cries and stopped to do something about it, these kittens – all six – are in foster homes where they’re safe, loved and being bottle fed. Soon… if we foster parents can bring ourselves to allow it… they’ll leave our homes and go to new ones. To their very own special families. Until then, we’re feeding them around the clock (I have two, and two other volunteers each have two) and just simply adoring them.

Yes. Giving them up is going to be a very difficult thing to do.

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bobby-and-gregg

So… what’s new by you? Have some good news to share? I’d love to hear it. Especially now after receiving not one but two rejections in one day. hissyfit

Back in the Saddle

I fell off my query horse yesterday. Took a nasty tumble. Wounded my pride and my muse. But they’re both fine now… sorta… and I’m back on that persnickety horse, somewhat ready for the rest of this unsteady and indeterminable course. horse

Yes. That means my query was rejected.  drama

And yes… that means I’m sending out more queries. However… not before I revised the original query I sent. I feel very good about how it reads now and will have no doubts when the rejections flow in that they have nothing to do with a poor attempt at selling myself but simply with the fact my idea did not snatch an agent’s overworked attention.

And so, yes again. I’ve made peace with rejection number one and have already sent out query numbers two and three. I am also still plotting my next story, hoping to keep my focus where it counts – on creating not contemplating. And every time I wonder, “Should I send out another query?” I’ll remind myself of something DH said…

“If you don’t do something, then you’ve done nothing.”

He has his moments, but gee, he’s swell sometimes. heartbeat

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