If there’s one thing every author (or artist of any discipline, for that matter) to have a thick skin. That plus a strong belief in yourself to combat disapproving parents and family who wish you’d get a “real job”, or friends who don’t understand why you’d rather work on your manuscript than hang out at the local coffee shop.
Despite your disposition to live in another world for weeks and months at a time, chances are your family and friends will still be there when you finally surface. The same can’t be said for the cold, indifferent business world, where you’re only worth as much money as someone else can make off of your talents. It’s a sad but age-old fact.
Rejection from that big agent or publisher you’re trying to impress can be devastating to the unseasoned writer. Never mind that they hold the fulfillment of your dreams in their hands, but respect from those in the industry can really give your confidence a boost. Not that I would know that much about it; I went through dozens of rejections for Raincloud before I felt fated to self-publish. But once it was out there I recieved dozens of warm reviews from critics and readers alike. However, despite my success, the threat of rejection became apparent again this Fall as I had a new book rejected.
The rejected work was for a publisher that had asked me to submit for his line of short, simple novels aimed at the casual reader. I had an idea for a simple story and avoided my trademark descriptiveness and flowery language until I had a manuscript I thought would fit. My editor thought it would be a great fit for the genre as well. The publisher, however, felt otherwise. It hurt for a few days until I could rationalize his decision and make it work for me.
Many of the reasons for the rejection was could have been resolved through a rewrite but one in particular couldn’t. And it was the most important one: the manuscript didn’t meet the reading level criteria. His readers were, according to his scoring system, people with a 2.5 – 4.0 reading level. My book scored well over a 7. And that was with me trying hard to adjust my style to fit.
So what do I glean from this? Bad story? Crazy publisher? More than likely my style wasn’t a good fit for the genre. Pure and simple.
So from now I’ll stick to what I do best. Just before the rejection I had a short story accepted by a publisher and have been invited to submit for two more of their anthologies. I’ll stick with those while completing my current novel. And maybe down the road I’ll rework the rejected story to suit my style and those of my readers. Until then, I’ll keep on staying true to myself.
When you can come to a new self-realization as a result of negativity, you can see the bright side to anything. Try to remember this the next time you get one of those all-important rejection letters.
Richard S. Todd is a Canadian author. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.
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