So, I was doing that thing that they tell new writers not to do. I had this great manuscript, perfect for a category romance line–it semi-finaled in a contest, got requests on fulls from the very first three agents I queried, great editor feedback… so I submitted it. And then I obsessed over it. For like way too long. I had this whole scenario all built up in my head: I sketched out ideas for the next two books, turning it into a series, spent imaginary advance money on all kinds of stuff…
And then I got the rejection yesterday.
It wasn’t super-devastating and I actually had this little blip of premonition before I even opened my email that my rejection would be sitting there. I read it without much surprise or sadness (they did have nice things to say, which was cool) and, overall, I’m okay with the fact that I didn’t make it with this one.
Why? Because this whole thing was yet one more new writer mistake in a series of them. You know how, when you start writing, you’re like “Ohemgee, I would never do something like that!” Yeah, I’m doing all the dumbs. Here are my lessons-learned:
- My barely-out-of-rough-draft novel was not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Hey, it’s a fun story! Maybe, with proper editing, it could be good, but right now it’s so not perfect.
- If more than one professional points out an area or two in which your novel is weak… it probably is.
- Don’t hit Submit and then completely focus a disproportionate amount of your mental energy on imagining what’s happening to your manuscript on the other end of the internet. Especially for more than six months.
- KEEP WRITING. Focus on getting the next book done. And then the next and the next.
- Maybe the most important thing: if your style doesn’t really fit category lines, don’t try to fake it. This particular book is definitely salvageable, but after a rewrite, it’s so not going to be a good fit for that publisher. But it’ll be in my real voice, more quirky and less formulaic, and probably be a good fit somewhere.
So, like I posted on my Facebook status today, I’m done feeling sorry for myself and am ready to facepunch bears. In a good way. As in, ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me now.
(I do not literally condone facepunching bears. Someone actually shared my post, saying something about how liberals shouldn’t punch bears and I think they missed the whole point. A. I’m not actually politically-oriented, and B. Facepunching a bear would be a great way to go if one of your life goals was to get eaten by an apex predator.)
Which brings me to more ROW80 goals:
Finish rough draft of PL&M by August 31.
Post ROW80 Wednesday updates and visit 10 other ROW80ers.
Work out initial anthology details. Outline short story by Sunday (30K words). Plan out cookbook project next steps.
(Shelving those last three for now, though the anthology will be percolating hard, as that’s the next big project. Right now, though, Peace, Love and Murder takes priority.)