Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A case of the Rejection Blues

Rejections make me think.

I think about my story. I think about my query letter. And as I suppose one would expect, I start to question every little dream that I had built over the course of writing my book, revising it, and getting ready for submission.

I know what you're going to say. Don't give up! Never give up! etc. etc. However, when do you think, maybe I do need to give up? Maybe this book just isn't it. I mean, not all books get published, so some books, no matter how resilient and determined the author was, will never get there. It's just simple mathematics.

So, how do you know when to give up?

(sorry about the sad, emo girl post)


Anonymous said...

I don't think you should ever give up on writing. I think you just move on to another project (as it appears you've done), and keep trying. I've heard of several authors who didn't get an agent or publisher until their second or third novel, and then they went back and sold their previous books at auction after the fact. So often it's a matter of timing. I recently read that J.K. Rowling's agent couldn't find a publisher who would take Harry Potter for more than a year! Imagine being the guy that turned that one down. So... hang in there. Sorry you've got the blues :(

Kiersten said...

I was just going to bug you about never posting ; )

As far as when to give up--it would depend on what kinds of rejections you are getting. Let's not forget I had an agent give me a very detailed rejection of the full manuscript of Flash and why it didn't work for her. We're talking complete, %100 rewrite. And she didn't even like enough to ASK for a rewrite.

And then I had an agent call and gush over the phone to me about how great it was.

SO--there are obviously huge differences of opinions. But if you think agents' comments have a valid basis, maybe reevaluate, see if it's something another edit could fix. I did end up going in and adding another scene at the end based on one of said rejector's comments.

I gave up on Tut when I started Flash and stopped caring about it. Now that I have some distance, I know exactly why no one was interested.

And, after you've sent out 100 queries and been rejected on every single full requested, I will let you off the hook.

Until then, you keep pushing Miss Midas, because it's good ; )

Kiersten said...

I changed my mind. I'm going to make you send out 150, since it took Cindy 120.

cindy said...

haha, kiersten. and *hugs*. i hated querying hell. i felt like a bipolar troll.

anyway, whenever i was crushed and felt like i sucked more than a powervac, i'd always turn back to my story and remember why i loved it so much. i wanted to do as much as i could and the best i could for it.

are you getting pages rejected or just the query? it's so much about jumping hoops and dancing the querying dance. you can revise both, depending on what you are getting R'ed on. i got lots of partial requests but had 9 / 10 rejected! so i revised my first fifty pages again after getting input from crit friends.

but then, i got my agent with my original "bad" beginning. so you just never know.

how much do you love this story?

*lucky dust****

because you are the only advocate for it right now.

good luck, renee!!

Natalie said...

(Please note, Renee, that I am sitting here writing this with a big bucket of double fudge brownie ice cream in my lap because I just got my full rejected today, too.)

This is my third book to query—my third round in the trenches. I've learned there is really only one question to ask when you're trying to decide when to stop querying a project:

Do YOU still love it?

You can't go on what anyone else thinks, because seriously (and I really hate that it's the truth), but opinions freaking VARY. ARG!!! (gnashes teeth)

You are getting requests, and I think an AWESOME number versus how many you've sent. The game is certainly not over if you are willing to push through.

I'm almost to 60 queries, more than I have ever sent with my other projects. Why? Because I LOVE Blood Dragon. I really, really do. And even with this many rejections, tears in my eyes, and a bucket of ice cream in my lap, I'm going to query it until every single agent that has YA on their list says no. I love Keira that much. And sometimes (okay, most of the times these days) I feel crazy for it.

But hey, we all know I'm a nut job, right?

Anonymous said...

I think I should qualify my earlier comment. I don't mean you should move on right now or ever from querying this particular book (especially since I've never read it). I just mean keep writing while your querying...

Kasie West said...

I asked myself the same question yesterday, Renee, and again today when I took my kids to the book fair at school. As I looked at the rows and rows of books, I got the worst feeling in my gut. I thought, how can I compete with this? But, then I remembered I love to write and I believe in my story and I'm just going to keep on pushing, just like I think you are. It will happen, who knows when or how much heartache it will take, but it will happen. Heartache is good for us, right? It makes us give more raw emotion to our characters. Plus, when we are published we have to have a really good story for our fans about how much effort it took to get there, right?

Kasie West said...

Man, the smiling face next to my comment just doesn't really help the mood of my message. Will you, in your mind, change my irritatingly happy face there, to a somber one, please.

Renee Collins said...

*wipes a tear away*

You guys are the best. I'm seriously greatful for your comments. I needed a boost in a major way. And I really do feel better.

*sniffs* *smiles* I love you guys.

(And I'm going to respond to you individually, because you're all the best.)

Renee Collins said...

Candice-I totally see what you are saying. You're right. And frankly, if I didn't have this other book to work on, the pain of rejection would be a lot worse.

But, you are right that, I might as well keep querying on the side while I work on my new book.

Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog. :)

Renee Collins said...

Kiersten-I have been trying to analyze my responses. Some have been good, but most have been form. I guess I'm just not sure if I am doing good, because I have nothing to compare it to.

But I do love Midas. So I really do want to keep going. Now, as for 150 queries. . . I'll have to see if I have the stamina for that. :)

Renee Collins said...

Cindy, thank you so much for your encouragement! I see you as kind of a celebrity, so it makes me feel very special that you commented again. :)

It really is a good idea to go through my story again. Because, when I am getting pages ready to send off, and reading it, I always think to myself, "This is good."

Thanks for the lucky dust! :)

Renee Collins said...

Natalie-Your comment made my eyes tear up. I am so inspired by your strength. You deserve the agent, not me.

Blood Dragon is amazing. It is. I won't give up if you won't.

Renee Collins said...

Kasie-lol to your second comment. :)

I know that feeling you had at the book fair. I've had the exact same one when I go onto Absolute Write, and I see all of these writers out there getting fulls and partials and agents. And I think, how can I even think I stand a chance?

But, you are absolutely right, we've got to just believe in ourselves and do what we love. And yes! We'll have great stories to tell in our interviews on the Oprah and the Today show. :)

Joanne said...

While you're still querying (b/c you're not going to give up!) have you considered submitting small stories/essays to literary journals? There are so many out there, and perhaps an acceptance or two from them will booster your morale on days like this. Not to mention, you build your writing credentials at the same time, giving your work validity and maybe capturing an agent's attention. There are so many ways to keep writing as you progress on your novel journey, don't give up.

Natalie said...

It's a deal, Ren. No giving up:) We can laugh about all our rejections together...or cry. Whatever. I'm good at both.

Renee Collins said...

Joanne-hmmm, very good idea. I actually have an unfinished story that I have puttered around with here and there. A part of me keeps saying, just finish it and see if you can get a pub cred to put on your queries. It would also help the morale, if it got published, of course.

Becca said...


"Never giving up" doesn't mean you can't go on and do other things while you wait. It just means that you can't let it get to you and think that your story wasn't good. I know you put very little value in my praise of your writing - but Ren - Miss Midas truly is brilliant! It is oft mentioned and a topic of conversation at Sunday Dinner and Amy always chimes in and says... "Renee's book is soooo good! We love it!" And come Ren - if you're gettin high praise from little Aims, who hates people just because they are ugly....well that should tell you something (:

I know how it feels to be discouraged though....and its mega lame and frustrating. I agree with your friends though - keep working on your new book in the meantime. I've said it before and I'll say it again...its just a matter of time. Its like they say: "Its always darkest before the dawn" least thats the one I tell myself when I really start to feel hopeless. And I believe it for you Ren....hang in there - and call me sometime so we can really discuss this! Cheers!

cindy said...

girl, i am no celebrity. i was in the trenches just like you january through april of this year. i got a FORM REJECT in my SASE just a few weeks back.

natalie is RIGHT. it is totally subjective. so many of us are doing honest to goodness great writing and stories. we just need to find that one agent who gets it and loves it, too.

/bootay shake! *stirs up lucky dust*

JaneyV said...

Well there's nothing I can add here that hasn't already been said by those with vastly more experience than me. I know it must be hard - soul crushing, in fact but remember that finding the right 'fit' of agent is just as important as finding an agent. So you just visualise Ms/Mr Perfect-for-you Agent in your head. So easy for me to say when I'm not in the bowels of query hell.

I wave my magic good karma wand in your direction
**silvery sparkles everywhere**

Terri Tiffany said...

Renee, I've given up temporarily on my first book ---sent it off a few places but decided to focus on my next one cause sometimes the first is only our first and maybe it is only a pracitce one but we shouldn't give up writing something!!!
But you only recently started querying so I wouldn't stop yet!

Renee Collins said...

Becca-Your comment made me laugh out loud. Amy's praise is high praise indeed. :)

Thanks for always being so supportive. And I DO put value in your compliments of Midas. More than you know.

You are the best. (And I am going to call you.)

Renee Collins said...

Cindy-Well, maybe you aren't a celebrity (yet) but I still admire you, because you went through the trenches and came out utterly triumphant.

Janey-It is hard, but I guess that's just the way life has to be in order for us to truly appreciate the good times. :) And, thanks for the wave from the good karma wand. Those silvery sparkles are so pretty!

Terri-I'm sorry about your first book. I actually did that to my very first book as well. In fact, I finished and was almost done with revisions when I realized that it just wasn't right. Plus, I had the idea for Midas and that just kind of took over.