Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cleansing the Soul

Today's post is going to be a rant. I have some things to get off my shoulders, so if you don't want to read me b*tching and whining, stop right now.

First and foremost, why is it so hard for people to answer emails? (I'm not talking about people in general, I'm talking about very specific individuals who will not be named.) I understand that you are busy, I understand that you might have a real job, but you also have an obligation to me (and no, I'm not being self-centered, I actually had questions I needed answered). If you say you're going to email me on a specific date, then, by god, email me. Even if you don't have an answer, email me and tell me you don't have an answer.

I'm not a very patient person. I'm sure most of you have learned that by now. However, I will wait 2-3 weeks before telling you that your reply is 2-3 weeks late, but don't ignore THAT email. I know I have a sickness, I check my email 800 times a day, so I'm really prompt at getting back to people. BUT, if your primary form of communication is email, you had better check yours just as often. This waiting a week or longer for an answer to a simple question is absurd.

Then, to top everything off, I received the rejection that sent me over the edge yesterday. I emailed my proposal for my nonfiction book, and this is the reply I received:

"Thanks for letting me see this. I regret to say that it wouldn't be appropriate for us. (You're still working on this at a student level: no film scholar needs to be told that movies are more than "mere entertainment.") Good luck with this. You might find a publisher, but you need to polish the work and identify the right audience for it."

What this person is referring to is the first paragraph of chapter 1. A paragraph. It's not written in stone. I can delete it. There are 220 pages and this is what this person focuses on. Whatever.

Now, I understand that this person was probably just being honest. It's also possible this person is a pompous ass. I have received a lot of rejections on this book, and this was the first one that hurt. There was a tactful way to approach it. For example, here's two I received this morning:

"Thank you for your recent email outlining a book entitled Life Lessons from a Machete. I am sorry to say that we would be unable to undertake to publish this work as it does not fit with our current commissioning list. I am sorry not to have been able to be of help to you and wish you all the best in finding a suitable publisher for your work."

"Thank you for sending the proposal. I've shared it with our series editor for the Film and Culture series and I'm afraid he doesn't think it's right for the list--most of the books we publish in the series are based on archival research."

They are short, sweet, and not condescending. I was having mixed feelings about my nonfiction project anyway, and that email pretty much sealed it for me: I'm putting it away and working on something else. The fun has been sucked out of it, and it's going to drive me insane (well, more so than I already am), so I'm done. If someday someone wants to take a look at it, all I have to do is give it one more read through and do some baby edits.

OK, deep breath. I just had to get those things out. They were festering. I realize that I'm probably overreacting (and being slightly unfair) in both of these situations, but after a while, they just build up. We all go through this, we're human, so for those of you who read to the end, thanks for being some eyes for me to lean on.


Sherri Weisbeck said...

For what its worth, I think you're a terrific author. I am trying to find your second novel to purchase too:)

Pembroke Sinclair said...

It is worth a lot, Sherri. I really appreciate your support. I've just been having one of those weeks, so I'm not handling things as well as I should. I'll be fine. And you can't find my second novel yet because it doesn't come out until April!

Martin Rose said...

There is something to be said for the bland, banal rejection -- they tend to be kinder than the ones that come off completely arbitrary . . . I find indulging in a guilty pleasure usually helps me get ready to be rejected again!

Pembroke Sinclair said...

I'm always ready to be rejected. It's part of my charm! Also, if I do get an acceptance, I'm completely surprised!