Earlier this week a friend of mine posted on Facebook about a short story she submitted getting rejected and how she was bummed out about it. She is pretty successful in the short story world, getting several award nominations each year. In the rejection the editor said: The story was well written but it didn't work for me. Now, the author wasn’t throwing a pity party, in fact, she was sharing the rejection to show other writers that everyone gets rejected. I loved that she put it out there and felt compelled to reply.
In the last two weeks I have read over 12 manuscripts. I am interested in acquiring two for sure. I’m still on the fence about the other ten. They are close, but I didn’t fall in love with them like I did the two. So I’m going to let them sit on my desk a while and see what else comes along and grabs my eye. It might very well acquire another book out of those ten after giving them a second look. (Sometimes I read a manuscript and I think I am going to pass on it, but then I can’t get the story out of my head for days. Then I take another look.)
I have to love a manuscript to acquire it. I have talked about this before. I have to work on that ms in one way or another for the better part of a year. I have to love it. Not only that, but for me, acquiring a book is one “sell” built up over time. I have to “sell” it to the editorial board. I have to “sell” to sales, marketing, and publicity at sales conference. Our sales folks have to “sell” it buyers. The bookstore clerks have to literally sell it customers. If I am not raving about the book, it could lose momentum. (And also explains why I carry the weight of MI on my back!)
Another reason why authors get the “it’s not you, it’s me” response is because we only have so much space in our catalogs. (FYI - For 2017, I only had/have seven spaces available. I don’t yet know about 2018 because I have to see some of the sales on the 2017 books.) But the point is – because most mystery books are series, if the series is successful, that series takes up slots for the next few years. Which means - I have hundreds of submissions for those seven slots.
Publishing is full of rejections. It sucks. But please don’t quit. If you love to write, keep writing. You will get there. But you have to keep writing. Your first book may never see the light of day. Your tenth book might be the one that sells. You never know when the stars will align and your manuscript falls into the hands of the right editor on the right day. And if you are feeling a little blue, I highly suggest going to see Ghostbusters. It is amazing!!!
Or this weekend go see Jason Bourne. I am hoping to go. I read somewhere that Matt Damon only has around 25 lines of dialogue. I guess that means there is a lot of grunting, punching, car smashing action!! Yay!