Am I Doing This Write? (Or, Writers Must Be Part Rhino)

I’m working a little harder than usual for upbeat this morning, but it’s a tough morning that starts with three rejections.  I may need some cake 🙂

There must be something in the air today, though, because over at The Write-At-Home-Mom, Megan was posting about rejection, too, (much more eloquently than I am, I might add!) and how you have to keep your perspective.  (She’s so right, but there are days when it’s so hard!  Hmmm… Should I have blueberry, spice, or devil’s food for breakfast…?)

Rejection is part of being a writer.  We all know that.  It is why we must be part rhino, so that those wounding arrows let fly by agents, editors and reviewers will bounce off without bringing us to our knees.  If you’re going to put your work out there for the world to see, some people will like it, and some won’t – there’s just no getting around it.  (Maybe blueberry.  That’s part fruit, and therefore healthful…)

self portrait

Rather than let this latest set-back ruin my day, however, I thought, maybe I can use it to brighten yours!  After you’ve read a few of my rejection letters, perhaps you’ll feel better about your own 🙂

So here you go, a little sample, a smattering, a smorgasbord, if you will, to boost your morale and remind you that you’re not alone in rejection!  Have you ever gotten any of these?

The Basic Form Rejection:
Dear Writer,
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your manuscript.  While we have enjoyed reviewing your work, I am afraid it is not quite right for our program.
Sincerely, The Editorial Department

The Multiple Choice Rejection: (please check all that apply)
Dear Author,
Many thanks for your submission.  Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for us.
___ It’s not suited to our present needs
___ It’s language or concept is too mature for our audience
___ We seldom buy rhyming picture books
___ It needs more character/plot development
___ We have a very limited non-fiction line
Sincerely, The Editors

The Personal Rejections:
Dear Ms. Hill,
Although this is a lovely, simple text that would be easy for kids to read, the word choice is predictable and banal and the story line feels thin for the length.
Sincerely, The Editor

Dear Ms. Hill,
Your story has a wonderfully inventive ending, but the overarching conflict didn’t capture my imagination as successfully as the resolution did.
Sincerely, The Editor

Dear Ms. Hill,
… the message was too heavy-handed…
… it’s too didactic…
… it’s too long… too short… too familiar… too bizarre… too… too… too…
… although your manuscript is charming/funny/engaging/sweet, ultimately it’s not strong enough for today’s market.
Sincerely, Editor after Editor after Editor

Hmmph!  Somehow the term “overarching conflict” seems a little “heavy-handed” for a picture book 🙂

Even if you get published, you’re not immune to rejection.  There are professional reviewers (who may say things like, “…this sometimes challenging story may baffle new readers…”), and then there are amateur reviewers (see Library Thing, GoodReads, Amazon, or lots of others!)  One person on Library Thing said about No Sword Fighting In The House (and I quote exactly) “Gosh, this such an awful book,” and another on GoodReads called Freight Train Trip “bizarre” and didn’t understand “the undercurrent of mortal peril.”  Really?  In a board book, that’s what she found?

So now, I hope you’re all chuckling and patting yourselves on the back because your rejections haven’t been this bad!

Anyone who wants to brighten my day in return can comment with rejection tales of their own 🙂

Have a great weekend.  I’m going to get some cake.  And to heck with a healthy breakfast.  Devil’s food it is!

Chocolate – it’s what’s for breakfast 🙂

7 thoughts on “Am I Doing This Write? (Or, Writers Must Be Part Rhino)

  1. Megan K. Bickel says:

    Thanks for mentioning my post! : )

    I actually composed that on Monday because I got three rejections that day too! Picture book authors love that theme of three…but not when it comes to rejections!!

    So far I have a stack of all form rejections in my writing drawer. I hope I can graduate to personal slams someday! : )

  2. Megan K. Bickel says:

    Hey there! Me again! Just got back from our big downtown library and I looked up “Not Yet, Rose.” What a fantastic book! I really loved it. I'll be recommending it to expectant Mommy friends for sure!

  3. Megan K. Bickel says:

    I've been itching to get down to the big branch and look up all these books by my blog/twitter friends. Finally got the chance today (but only for 30 minutes).

    Plus you deserve a cheer! : ) Yay!

  4. Dicy McCullough says:

    Susanna, I'm amazed at the many ways a writer can get rejection letters. I guess I'm lucky in that sense, but then again I've not sent anything yet to be rejected. Well, I take that back, I have had a couple of reviews and fortunately the person liked my books.

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    It's all part of the process 🙂 It's like horseback riding – they say you can't be a real rider until you've fallen off. Any writer who sticks with it is going to have at least a few rejection letters. Hopefully they'll be few, far between, and kind!

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