Riding the Rejection Train
(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)
I am currently in the position of having two completed manuscripts and no publisher. One is a horror novel, the other is the second book in the series about amateur sleuth Shara Summers.
I’ve started submitting these two and I get a strange feeling of deja vu. Between 2007 and 2009 I also had two novels to submit – one horror (SUFFER THE CHILDREN) and one crime (DEATH SCENE), the first Shara Summers book. Then Lyrical accepted SUFFER THE CHILDREN, followed by DEATH SCENE, and the rest is history.
But now I find myself riding the submission/rejection train again, for the first time in quite a while. Though actually I think ‘rejection roundabout’ is a better metaphor. You feel like you’re going round and round in a circle.
I can categorically say it doesn’t get easier. I’ve only just started this journey again, with each novel being sent out to only one publisher so far. Unfortunately it happened that the responses arrived at the same time, in spite one novel being sent out quite a while before the other. The rejection for the crime novel arrived on Monday; the rejection email for the horror novel on Tuesday. So it’s not been a good week.
Before I was published I held this fantastical idea that being published would make it all better. That once I had one novel accepted, everything else I wrote would automatically get accepted, and I would never again worry that what I was writing wasn’t good enough. But that’s not the way it works. Just because someone accepts one novel doesn’t necessarily mean they – or anyone else for that matter – will like everything else you write. And you don’t stop with the writer insecurities. Instead of fearing I’ll never be published, now I fear that the first two novels got published as a bit of a fluke, my creativity is spent and I’ll never write anything of publishable quality again.
But the same rules apply to all writers, no matter how much or how little experience you have. When the rejections come, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. So I’ve crossed the first names off the submission list for these two manuscripts, and getting ready to go down the list.
For the time being, though, I’m still smarting from the double whammy of being rejected twice in two days. I’ll be over here in the corner for a while, quietly whimpering.