December 23rd, 2004


Deck the Halls with Rejection Letters....

My previously theoretical situation remained quite that way, as it turned out. Office mayhem being what it is at the end of the year, though I sorted out things to read, I didn't get very far. But I was really very interested to see everyone's responses. Not that I have time to do so today but I went back through all the comments, and came up with the following results:

Just Send 'em and Get It Over With: 35 votes
Rejection Sucks, especially during the Holidays: 11 votes

As you can see, those who prefer to rip the bandaid off outnumbered the rest by about 3:1. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who weighed in and for all the food for thought. It's very valuable to me to remember that there are lots of different opinions out there and that I'm dealing with a lot more than huge piles of paper.

I think I may have realized it was actually my own feelings I was sparing. I never enjoy sending rejections (okay, I take that back - there was once an ex-boyfriend of mine that submitted to the agency, and even though I didn't read the manuscript myself - I *knew* I couldn't be objective, I got to take the reply to the post office).... but I think I feel guilty on top of everything else for doing it at this time of year.

At least a couple people suggested that I skip the holiday and time things out so that things would arrive *just* after. The big flaw in that plan is that our office generally closes between Christmas and New Year's, so whatever I don't get done beforehand, isn't getting done until probably the 2nd week of January - because the first week back is always crazy with the mail opening and getting things back out to market for the rejections *we* received. On top of that, I'm really not that thrilled about spending my holiday *writing* rejections (and thanks to that person who warned me not to overwork myself - that's always a risk these days!). As a couple other people pointed out, I can't know what else is going on in the person's life - a birthday, an anniversary (or, on the other end, a family crisis). So, it's rather an artificial proviso to fret so much over the timing of a rejection.

There were also various asides made - both in comments here and elsewhere - about the issue of it being a business and that other businesses don't accept or reject proposals for work based on how the person putting forth that proposal would feel. Though it is often the case that writing requires an emotional investment from the author that may not be inherent in things like construction work, this is a very good point. I certainly do respect and, in many cases, admire the quotient of this endeavour which involves the heart and soul. But this *must* be balanced with an understanding of how the industry works -- if the author wishes to participate in such a way as to shoot for things like great financial rewards, best-seller lists, and amazing reviews by professional publications.

And, yes - matociquala, I can be cruel. And you should know. *g* I know of at least two non-clients reading this that have submissions on my shelf. No doubt they found this discussion slightly torturous. There may be more that I am unaware of. To those people who mentioned that they have things that have been with an editor or an agent more than a year, if it's me -- I don't have it. I'm not *quite* that far behind. It may have not reached me, or the reply may have not reached you. If it was unsolicited, different rules may apply. A followup letter with SASE is perfectly reasonable (given whatever time limits might be listed for response periods).

And now I'm off to do things other than send rejections, but not because of what day it happens to be. Happy holidays to everyone.
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(no subject)

Here's a subject line you don't see every day:
"Author Barters Eternal Soul for Publishing Deal"

In unrelated (to my knowledge) news -- one of my client's books just got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly (which has been on my desk since Monday but I've only just now taken the time to read it). I am chuffed, considering that this book took me over three years to sell. Her last novel was published in 1992. Anyway, it's R.M. Meluch's The Myriad: Tour of the Merrimack #1 (and #2 is under contract as well). And the magazine had this to say:

"Most military SF emphasizes the military, but while Meluch depicts combat and warrior culture as well as any writer in the subgenre, the true joy of this outstanding effort...lies in its inspired use of current speculation on the origins of the universe, quantum singularities and even the old chestnut of time travel...Meluch shows particular skill in creating memorable characters while exhibiting a refreshing ruthlessness in subordinating them to the logical ramifications of the plot."
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    pleased pleased