Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"May 18, 2009

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript to >>> for consideration for publishing. We appreciate you giving us the opportunity to review your work.

We receive a great many submissions and we review each one. We take into consideration where our particular segment of the market is going and what our customers are looking for when we review items for publishing. After careful consideration, our new products committee has decided to decline the opportunity to publish your work."

Ah, this is all part of the life of the author. REJECTION.

That's not to say that it doesn't hurt or frustrate or annoy or puzzle. It's just part of life when you pour your heart onto paper, edit it as best you can, and then send it out to the world to be judged. This letter wasn't totally unexpected though I will admit that after talking to one of the editors at this particular publishing company last week, I had some small amount of hope. The two reviewers had comments like "excellently written" and "cute story" and "great."

But there were also comments like "too 'Pie in the Sky'" and "average." And once again this manuscript, my first novel, is finding its way back to me. It has been rejected no less than 6 times in the past 5 plus years. Unfortunately, it's a niche book for a niche market and my list of potential publishers is dwindling quickly. I prioritized the publishers list from "Great" to "Avoid at all costs!!" and I'm through the "Great" column, moving through the "Average" column, and am now left with the "Avoid at all costs!!"

So what now? Do I send it out to one of these lesser publishers (the ones that my current publisher warned me against) so it can be published? Oh and deal with their nasty contracts later? Or do I shelve it and work on something else?

Honestly, at this point, I think it's time for me to shelve this particular manuscript for now-- to put it away as my own "Bad Beginning." I had hoped to have my first novel published before I started writing and sending out everything else, but.....

Life rarely goes as planned. Especially when you are a writer! The best planned and written manuscript is still at the mercy of some nameless, faceless publisher who may or may not like it. And, in this business, we need those publishers to get our work to see the lights of a bookstore. So, like it or not, the above letter is part of the business (and art) of being an author.

This rejection letter will go into the file with the other rejection letters I've gotten. And I'll plug along until the next one comes. Luckily, there's a local gelatto store that offers multiple yummy flavors to help soothe my wounded heart! ;oD

Written-- and rejected-- by Sarah Southerland, 2009.

P.S. Feel free to share your own rejection stories in the comment section below. AND how you deal with the pain!

1 comment:

Paul West said...

Sarah, don't give up hope. I've gotten probably 40 or 50 of these kinds of rejections. If I were you, I would revise the manuscript, using what suggestions the editors have given you, change the title and start over with your high priority editors. It's a lot of work, but for a first novel you really should expect to have to do that, perhaps several times, before getting it right. I've been doing that for several years now and now hope I finally have a marketable manuscript. Time will tell.

Good luck.