As any author who’s ever submitted anything will ever tell you, rejection sucks. There aren’t many of us who haven’t had our fragile artist heart broken at least once. Anyone who hasn’t is either:
- Extremely talented.
- Extremely lucky.
- Some combination of 1 and 2.
Much as some insist that writing is a job like any other, I just don’t agree. Bits of your heart and soul end up in your MS. You send that manuscript to your critique partners, beta readers, editors, and acquiring editors with the express idea that (while you hope they love it) they will probably tear it apart. By extension, they’re tearing apart a piece of you.
My first rejection was from Harlequin. It was not-quite-a-form-letter. It urged me to submit to other houses because my story just wasn’t a fit for them. My character development was weak and the H/h needed heightened chemistry. (Yes. I saved it. And yes, I just referenced it.)
Having grown up reading them, I gotta tell you… Man. I was fucking crushed. I realize, looking back, that they were right. My book needed some serious edits.
It took a while to come around to that perspective, though. I actually subbed the book and managed to get it (and 2 more) published with before that truly sank in.
Each submission page has this list of requirements. They may look like what I’ve listed below.
- 12pt, Times New Roman Font|
1 inch margins
- 2-3 page synopsis from start to finish.
- A questionnaire.
You may be thinking, yeah yeah. Those are the obvious things. It’s the implied things, though, that I missed.
Had I really compared my work to the rest of what they publish, I could have saved the AE at Harlequin a bit of time. Not only was the story *makes so-so gesture with hand* but it wasn’t what they were looking for in that particular line. Harlequin serials are typically shorter than my first book, also usually less emotionally messy than what my story was.
I earned that rejection. I will probably earn a ton more before its all said and done. Each rejection, each piece of feedback can be taken in one of two ways. They can either be a stumbling block, or a building block. I chose to take it as a building block that has improved my writing immensely over the years.
Hope this resonates with you in some way!