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 🙂