A commenter recently asked about the time line on the rejections I have received regarding my manuscript. Mary indicated that she has a few short stories published, and that she is currently working on a novel.
I appreciate that she recognized my upbeat tone and perseverance.
My attitude, aside from the mantras listed above, is never say die!
I have been writing all my life. When I was younger I used to write a weekly magazine and then sell it to my sister for a penny. Since she was younger than I, and had no money, I gave her the penny, so that she could give it back to me.
I began writing novels when I was seventeen, but never gathered enough guts to send a manuscript in to a publisher until July 13, 1993. I had written a Christian allegory, inspired to write it after reading Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, and sent off a query letter (2 pages which is a no-no, but I didn't know that back then), along with a synopsis that was far from being a synopsis. It was more like an outline. Anyhow, can you guess how that ended up? Of course, it was rejected. Took them a few weeks, so I thought that was a good thing. To be honest, acceptance letters usually come back quickly.
One rejection and I was devastated. No thick skin for me back then. Then in the mid-nineties I decided to hit the short story market, and crashed and burned for four years. Finally, I sent the best of my short stories off to an editor for a paid look at its credibility - and it came back with the most red marks I had ever seen in my life.
Devastation number two. I cried, in fact. And, I quit trying to publish for a few years. I returned to the old days, writing poetry, short stories, and novels just for the fun of it.
For those of you reading this to find out about my rejections on my novels, and the turnaround timetable, realize this - I take a while to get to the point. Perhaps that is a normal attribute for being a writer, or perhaps I am just eclectic that way, but regardless, you have two choices. Keep reading, or flash forward to the end to read the whole point of this.
Anyhow, back to my childish devastation of not being able to handle a little criticism, my last short story attempt at publication in the nineties was June 8, 1999. My next attempt was for a book I wrote called A Light in the Shadow
, a nice piece of writing if you ask me. I did a lot of homework, and learned that I did it all wrong a decade before with my Christian allegory. You are supposed to get an agent, first. So I sent seven queries with about a one week turnaround for the rejections, and one of the agents accepted me on March 29, 2005 (after two months of back and forth correspondence via snail mail). For a year I walked on cloud nine, until I learned another valuable lesson. . . there are many agents out there that aren't agents. They are either scam artists, or think they're agents but the rest of the industry doesn't agree. I had landed one of the latter. Another writer friend of mine turned me on to Predators and Editors
and Writer Beware
. These are web-sites that can help you research the validity of an agent.
During the time with that bad agent I also tried to get three short stories published, but to no avail.
Then I met J.A. Konrath
. I discovered this writer in an article in my newly subscribed to Writer's Digest Magazine. My acquaintance with him taught me to be a writer I need to surround myself in all things about writing. It is a business, so treat it that way.
I created my original website (through my now fleeting ISP) and went to as many book signings as possible to pick the brains of writers that made it. I joined a writer's forum at Absolute Write
, and began writing like crazy. 2006 became a very busy year. Three complete novels, and query letters out the ying-yang. The learning process kicked into high gear, and then in March I created this blog. Now, armed with all this knowledge, I know exactly what not to do, and I have formed a rather large readership with my numerous blogs. It is fun and all, but the prize of publication has continue to allude me. And now, I have realized that everything I write isn't gold, and it has enabled me to write my novels with more care (and lengthy proof-reading sessions).
Oh, yeah, and about that time line on the rejections? Over one hundred have gone out on A Light in the Shadow
since its originally foray, Somatic has a couple dozen, and 87 queries were sent out for The Way of Deception
when it was still entitled The Leonardo Conspiracy. The Way of Deception
is currently being re-modeled and overhauled, and man has it gotten good. I am pretty excited about it, and hope to have the final draft completed by my birthday in April, at which time the queries will go out again. So far, with all those queries the responses range from a week, to a few weeks, to a few months, to never. I keep a running log, and do a lot of research regarding who is best suited to take a look at my writing. I don't send my thrillers to sci-fi agents or romance specialists. I am sure they appreciate that. The rule is, there is no rules, but there is certain standards. Keep the query letter to one page. If you can describe the book in a paragraph or less, you are on the right track. Have reasons that will make the publisher feel that they can make some money on the book, like credentials. I have joined The Military Writers Society of America
, and have attended bookfests and writers conferences to show that I am serious about this business to the agents. And don't send out that novel until it is the best it can be.
And thanks, Mary, for finding my blog, and commenting. It has given this blog new life, and me a reason to realize that despite the rejections, I am no quitter.
Keep writing, persevere, and get published.
Labels: absolute write, agent, book, konrath, letter, literary agent, manuscript, outline, predators and editors, publication, publish, query, rejection, synopsis, writer, writer beware