Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Relatively Few A-holes

Last week I went on a tangent about some things that were bothering me. In it, I mentioned an editor that gave me a pretty rude rejection. I just wanted to tell you that meeting editors/publishers like that rarely occurs. Trust me, I've sent out hundreds of submissions and can count on one hand the as*holes that have responded.

Most editors/publishers are neutral. They look at your stuff and send out prefabricated rejection forms. Occasionally, they will send a quick, personal rejection, but that's pretty rare. The majority of these publishers/editors are very professional, they're just busy.

On the other end of the spectrum are those editors/publishers who are exceptional and take the time to read and comment on your material. I had the pleasure of running into one of those last week, too. So, not only did I meet an a-hole, I met a saint.

My first contact with this publisher was to ask a question about their submission process. They responded very quickly with the answers (very quickly meaning the same day). I was postponing sending anything to them because they don't take simultaneous submissions. I was waiting to hear from a few others, so I told the company I would send my stuff in a few days. The submission process requests a questionnaire be filled out plus the entire manuscript.

Then, I received 3 rejections, one of which was the mean one. I totally lost my confidence. I tried to fill out their questionnaire, but I couldn't do it. I felt like it wasn't worth it. I figured they were just going to reject me, like everyone else had, so I sent them an email and told them that I didn't want to send the entire manuscript because I didn't want to waste any one's time. I sent my query and asked if they could please tell me if it was something they would be interested in.

I didn't follow their submissions guidelines, and I apologized for it, but the acquisitions editor was still nice enough to request the entire manuscript. I can only imagine how busy she is, but she's willing to read my book and tell me if it's viable. Do I think they'll take it? No (forever the optimist!). But I am incredibly flattered and honored that she is taking the time to look at it. She could have told me no. She could have told me to follow the guidelines. But she didn't. Editors/publishers like this are incredibly rare. I'm looking forward to her response, even if it's a rejection.

The publishing world is unpredictable. No one knows what's going to be hot and what's going to sell big. Yes, it's full of rejection and heartache, but there are also small rays of sunshine. My goal for the rest of this year is to focus on the positive. Rejection is going to happen, it's just part of the game, but I'm not going to let it get me down. Again, they are not attacking me (well, sometimes they might be attacking me, but those people are idiots!), they are just making a business decision. At least I'm putting myself out there. At least I can say people looked at my stuff and rejected it. Eventually, someone will like it, and that one acceptance will make all the other rejections disappear.

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