Not only is one of my fave authors a great and talented writer, she is also a wonderful speaker. Her messages are clear and simple yet profound.
So I submitted my book Harper Collins NZ Wednesday post and Allen & Unwin’s Friday Pitch a few weeks ago.
It was with a slightly trembling hand that I pressed the submit button first making doubly sure I had actually filled everything out correctly and attached everything I needed to attach.
It was scary and yet exciting. HC wanted the first three chapters. Allen & Unwin only wanted one chapter.
I knew deep down that it would be a miracle if I heard anything back at all. I knew this but yet some small part of me hoped that maybe this would be it. Then I thought how I would feel if it went either way. I boldly said to my husband, chest puffed and fists tight, that if I just expected not to hear anything back then I would be ok. He looked at me and smiled. It will still sting he said. Remember though, it is all so subjective.
Then it got me thinking. It is so subjective. This writing business is not for the faint of heart but take heart in this, new writers out there (who aren’t yet published), it is not a rejection of you as a person.
I will repeat that because the weight of these words deserves a repeat.
It is NOT a rejection of you as a person. Period.
There is a reason that they tell you, once you actually work up the courage to push the submit button, that if unsuccessful you will not hear back from them. They get hundreds of manuscripts in these open submissions- they simply couldn’t give feedback on every single on now could they?
Back to the rejection part.
Imagine your email with attachments is opened. The person opening them will have got up that morning and maybe they had a great sleep, maybe they had a shitty one. Maybe they just had a fight with their boyfriend or parent and without them knowing it already, their world is a different place. Trust me, I work with people…a lot and I know the subconscious mind well.
So their filter may be on or off depending on their morning.
They read your synopsis and maybe they snore, maybe they yawn. They have just had so many like this lately. Same storyline, same idea and they may not even go any further. They may still read it but say they have already just accepted someone whose story is very similar to yours. Or whose writing style is in the same vein.
Your manuscript will just go into the reject pile and they will move on.
Now that is perfectly ok. They may even have thought your writing sucked or lacked any sparkle or potential.
This STILL doesn’t mean you have been rejected. This is just your manuscript we’re discussing here. The person who reads your manuscript may never meet you, doesn’t know what you look like, who you are or what goodness you have carried out in your life. All they know is that they don’t wish to publish this particular piece of work.
Don’t make it about you.
When I didn’t hear back after the 2 and 3 week cut off dates, obviously I was a little bit stung. Then I looked myself in the eye, no I actually did, in the mirror and I told myself that I was bloody brilliant. I wrote a novel. A friggin novel.
Me, someone who always said they wanted to finish a manuscript had actually ticked that off her list.
I will obviously keep trying to get it out there and even if I have to go down the self-publishing route, I will do what it takes.
I will not allow myself to feel defeated by a rejection and neither should you.
Imagine if J.K had done that…
Would love to hear your thoughts on this one.