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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 01:31 pm:   

Okay, just for kicks, and because misery loves company, I thought I'd start up this topic.

Sure, rejection sucks, but it's especially frustrating when a story you really think is gonna get published doesn't, especially when you think it's perfect for a certain market.

I had one story that I was almost positive it would be accepted, but didn't; when the editor explained why, I completely understood, though it still bugged me (the reason why was something that I would've needed prior knowledge about, and had no way of getting said knowledge).

Just goes to show you can't get your hopes up about a story until it's been accepted. Even then, it's iffy -- one of my stories that was accepted earlier this year was to a 'zine that is now on hiatus, so I'm sending the story out again... Sigh.

I've had a couple disappointing rejections this year, and while I don't want to name names, none of them really hurt as much as a recent rejection did.

This one was for a novel, from an agent who'd requested it, and the agent said the prose was uninteresting, and the opening three chapters "didn't work." Ow. Ow ow ow.

So... while part of me just wants to quit and not mess with that damn novel anymore, the stubborn part of me wants to persevere. I think what it's going to take is a complete re-draft, from start to finish. The agent went above and beyond what was needed in the rejection letter -- the agent gave lots of excellent suggestions, and in the long run, those comments may be just the kick in the ass I need to take my writing to the next level.

But damn, those ego bruises heal slowly. I was a bit bummed out all weekend, after getting that note on Friday.

Anyone else have something for the Bruised Ego Shelf? All I ask is that you not name names and not be specific as far as editors, agents, and the like.
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 01:55 pm:   

Man, I just wrote a long-winded post full of Greg-spew. Thank God Safari crashed when I tried to post it.

Anyway. I find it a bit bruising when I get rejected by markets that I've sold to previously. It makes me wonder if I was just lucky the first time out, if my writing is getting worse over time, if my tiny sparks of promise have been extinguished.

So, I do what anyone would do in such a situation. I blame the editors and drink a lot.

No, seriously. I do the same thing you do. I write more.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 01:59 pm:   

Mike, before you go completely redrafting your novel, keep in mind that agents are just like editors, they all have their own separate opinions. What one agent likes, another will hate. I know you already know this, but we all need to be reminded every once in a while. If you're changing the novel because you think the changes will make the novel a better story, then I say go to it. But if it's a gut-reaction to what one agent says, screw 'em. There are other agents out there. Novels are much harder to sell than short stories, and agents have to be extremely picky about what they like. I'd suggest giving it a week or two of not thinking about it, then go back to the novel to see if the changes are warranted.

As for my own bruised ego, a story I thought was absolutely perfect for Polyphony 3 got rejected by a form letter. Same thing with a recent story sent to Strange Horizons, though that one came back with a nice encouraging personal email. There have also been several instances where I've made the "final cut" or the "short list" for an anthology, but was eliminated after that first round. Those are some of the hardest rejections to take, the ones where you got so close.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 03:53 pm:   

I've had some horrible rejections from publishers. The kind of thing where you wake up at 3 am with your hair standing on end. And in the words of the Hitch-hiker's guide, if there's anything round here that's bigger than my ego, I want it caught and shot.

Just to shamelessly name-drop (Fan-Girls R Us), I had a conversation with Harry Harrison y'day and he said that GALAXY magazine in the 50s (I think) used to send acceptance letters that were worse than most people's rejections: "Your story was the worst goddamn thing I've read all year, but I have a space and I guess I'll just HAVE to take it."

I write more, blame editors _and_ drink a lot.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 03:55 pm:   

And BTW, my agent made me re-write GHOST SISTER over a 9 month span. Took it to pieces and back again. Broke my heart. Got it published, though. Hang in there.
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 06:16 pm:   

Jason, those are the hardest rejections to send out as well. Believe me, it is sometimes very, very painful to send out a rejection, especially on a piece that you really liked, but, for one of a thousand reasons, you couldn't use in your publication. I speak from hard experience.

And if I had time to give a personal analysis of every story I've read and rejected, I would. But I would end up alienating my family, getting divorced, and starving - because there is only so much time in the day (and night - and wee hours of the morning). As a writer, I understand how great it is to have someone make meaningful comments on your work. As an editor, I realize that it's just not always possible, unfortunately.

So while some editors can be downright obnoxious (I know, I've dealt with some on my "writerly" side), do give us the benefit of the doubt. I remember going to the World Horror Convention in Chicago last year and having someone come up to me and shout in the dealer's room (!) "Hey, you're the bastard that rejected my story"! Not very professional, to say the least. Impressive, yes, but only in all the negative ways.

So, please have a heart. Rejection sucks, both for the writer, and for the editor. There are exceptions, but I think this can be applied as a rule, by and large.

Forrest
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 06:37 pm:   

I've been working on a novel for three years, and the kid starts college in the fall and we need the money. Sent 150 pages to my agent, and she hates it.

I guess that's what student loans are for, right? (Just so you know how it goes when you've got four novels published.)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 02:54 am:   

Ah, thanks for the input, folks! Always good to know we're not alone. Liz, I take heart from your story about the rewrite, and Maureen, best of luck to you with the new novel -- I bet your agent just had a crappy day.

That's just the thing -- reading and writing can be so damn subjective. Forrest -- thanks for giving us the editor's side of the coin.

Me, I like the advice of drinking and writing more... ;)
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 04:10 am:   

mike--

i once had an editor tell me it was 'english by mistake'. i've had rejections of drun hatred (about stories, so hush about them other things ;)) and for my novel i was told 'it's highly original but i'll never be able to sell it,' by an agent. after these, everything has gone on a sliding scale where i compare each to these and others. way i figure, you gotta have that top end, where you can say, hey, you know, at least this one ain't as bad as this, and look, it doesn't have downright hostility :-)

ben.
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Claude Lalumière
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 05:05 am:   

Mike:
As someone who works on both sides of the fence---
I hate sending out rejections (I know all too well how they feel!), but I'm always a bit at a loss as to how to phrase my rejections -- especially if the story's by someone I know (which is highly likely in this incestuous subculture of ours).
My first instinct is to simply reply something like:
"Thanks for the story, but I'm afraid that it didn't grab me."
However some people seem to want more than that. And I'm not sure why they do.
As a writer, I don't care why my stories get rejected. I know what I'm trying to accomplish, and that's all I really care about. (That said, I find workshopping extremely helpful, and I love working with my colleagues in The Montreal Commune writing group.)
After a rejection, I always look at a story afresh, to see if I'm still satisfied with it, if I still get completely wrapped up in it.
Sometimes, I'll rewrite; sometimes the story still feels exactly like I want it to be, so I won't.
I rewrite less than I used to. In the first few years that I started submitting, most of my stories would go through major revisions between submissions. Now, once a story is ready to go (after workshopping and several drafts, etc.), I rarely feel the need to rewrite it.
For example, "Dregs" and "Bestial Acts" (my two first major "Lost Pages" stories), which both appeared in Interzone (in 2002 and 2003, respectively), were stories that I first wrote in early 1999. I sent them around for years, revising them extensively every time.
Both of these were very important stories for me; when I wrote them, I felt that I was really starting to develop as a writer, to hit the emotional highs that I was striving for and explore thematic concerns that really meant something to me. Every time they got rejected, I was crushed.
But the truth was that they were not ready yet. I was not a good enough writer to completely pull off these stories yet, and I'm now grateful for all those rejections.
"Bestial Acts" finally coalesced fully when I was saw a call for subs for DreamHaven's anniversary anthology, whose theme was bookshops.
"Bestial Acts" was perfect for that book. I felt like this was my chance to finally get a sale.
So I poured everything I had into a rewrite.
It got rejected; but with a really nice note; the editor held the story for a long time, and told me that he loved the story and thought I would have no trouble placing it, except that he ultimately didn't think it was close enough to his vision of the anthology's theme.
And he was right about having no trouble placing it (though I still think he was wrong about it not fitting the theme): I sent it next to Interzone, and it sold. (My first sale, in March of 2002; things got better after that: my stories now sell regularly -- though I still get rejections also).
With "Bestial Acts" finally taken care of, I set about revising "Dregs"; I knew this story was ambitious, and I went through it mercilessly, cutting and changing like mad. Finally, when I was happy with it, I sent it to Interzone. Again, it sold.
But all I really want from editors is a fast response. Don't care about long notes or comments, though I appreciate not getting form rejections.
I rarely rewrite between subs now; I'm increasingly satisfied with my new stories. Whether or not all of them find a home quickly is another matter.
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 06:44 am:   

I must admit, I work hard at keeping my expectations low. But you're right, every so often something will slip by your defenses and sting you. Like getting poked with a needle that's been heated in the fire.

I can honestly say I haven't had any of those this year, which is a very good thing. But I expect it'll happen again, sooner or later.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:33 am:   

My preference is for the word "NO" written on a post-it note, and sent back to me as quickly as possible. I don't care about editorial commentary unless part of a rewrite request.
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 07:53 pm:   

My preference is for the word "NO" followed by all sorts of praise and love that I know really means nothing but makes me feel better about myself as a human being because I'm weak and I'm a slut for ego-stroking.

Sue me.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 02:42 am:   

My preference is for the word "YES" followed by all sorts of praise and - oh, you get the idea.

Uh, we were talking about rejection, so....seriously, I'd rather have some editorial commentary if they don't want a story, and then at least I get some idea of why they turned it down. And as speedily as possible.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 07:00 am:   

I like the ones that start out "this story is totally wrong for the magazine, but I'm taking it anyway."
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 11:35 am:   

Yeah, Mike, those are pretty cool.
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Mike
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 06:42 am:   

Heh.
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LHoney
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 10:38 am:   

I remember a story about one of the old hard-boiled writers (Chandler? Hammett?), who even though he was publishing regularly, was being rejected by a certain magazine more than he was being accepted. The editor almost always made extensive comments as to why he wasn't taking it.

After finishing one story that he was especially proud of, he sent it off with a note to this effect: "This is a damn good story. If you have any comments, write 'em on the back of a check."

They bought it. Without comment.

LHoney
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LHoney
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 10:40 am:   

For the ego shelf: It's not that bad to get a rejection slip, when it's typed and looks personalized, though probably still a form letter.

It bothered me when they took the care to mention the title of my story but got the title wrong.

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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:25 am:   

Nice story, LHoney, about the mystery writer. Sounds too good to be true, but I like it!

What's even more funny is when you get a rejection, and they get the title of the story wrong, and the wrong title is for a story that a friend of yours wrote. That just happened a few weeks ago.

Sort of like showing up at the wrong funeral.
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Jay C
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:39 am:   

Urghh. Smarting today. Three bounces. Three very close but no cigars. Asimov's, Leviathan 4 and Horror Garage. All with complementary things to say and Gardner even suggested other markets, but ouch nonetheless.
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:47 am:   

Jay, would you be willing to reveal which markets Gardner suggested, and for what kind of story? I'm just curious about what markets he respects enough to recommend.
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Jay C
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:54 am:   

Yeah, sure, for this particular tale he thought either TTA or Polyphony. He said it wasn't quite Asimov's.
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LHoney
Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:00 am:   

"Dear Mr. Dickens,

We are in receipt of your manuscript. Unfortunately, we are forced to reject it due to logical inconsistencies. How can it be both the "best of times" and "worst of times" at the same time?

In the future, I'd suggest you decide what kind of times you are in and stick with it.

-Ed."
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Alan
Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 08:19 pm:   

One of my Clarion friends put in a request for guidelines to Asimov's. It came back in the SASE with a rejection slip. A perfectly honest mistake, no doubt, but damn.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 02:28 am:   

Nothing like a preemptive strike, there, Alan!
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Rachel Heslin
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 08:07 pm:   

Okay, *that's* funny.

:D
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Laura Anne
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 05:39 pm:   

Two rejects from Ellen D. waiting for me when I got back from vacation. Thought I had her with one, and apparently I was almost right. It's the thisclosebutnotquite letters that sting like a serrated blade...

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LHoney
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 10:11 am:   

The "close but not quite" letters might be a hint at a rewrite, maybe?
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 11:59 am:   

LHoney, if they wanted a rewrite, why would they hint at it? Explicitly stating that they want one and what exactly needs rewriting works much better.
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LHoney
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 02:50 pm:   

Good question-- but maybe if they *asked* for a rewrite the writer would be even more ticked off when they reject the story again even after it's been rewritten. I have heard that many editors do hint at rewrites. Maybe that's just a rumor (I've never gotten a rewrite request myself, but I know people who have gotten letters seeming to hint at it, and have jumped on it, and ended up getting the story accepted).

Maybe it would be good to rewrite it and send it back, if you think the reasons they didn't take it can be edited out, or the things they are looking for can be edited in.

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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 03:31 pm:   

Well, if the writer is ticked off after a subsequent rejection, so what? There are tons of people submitting their stories, why would an editor be more concerned about having an annoyed writer and he or she would be about getting the best stories?

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Mike
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 02:52 am:   

I'm almost positive that the "close but not quite" rejection is still a rejection. What I've sometimes done, if an editor makes a good point in those letter, is tweak a story per their suggestion, but I'll send it on to the next market in my list.

Wouldn't an editor get annoyed, getting the same story back slightly altered? If I were an editor, I would. They'd let you know if the story was purchasable.

But yeah, like Laura Anne said, those "close but no cigar" notes can be rough...

And Nick, aren't all writers annoyed? That's why we write, I think. ;)

In any case, practicing rejectomancy is a big fat waste o' time. Just send stuff elsewhere.
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Jay C
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 04:14 am:   

I have queried a couple of times whether particular editors would be prepared to look at a rewrite if they haven't asked for one. The answer is almost invariably no, with one or two small exceptions.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   

Generally speaking (and wearing my editorial hat) if I want to see the project again, I'll ask specifically for a revision, and give definite feedback to direct the author.

If I don't do that, having an author take a gentle rejection for "send it to me again slightly revised" does nothing but annoy me.

As a writer, I've had an editor ask to see revisions three times. Twice the story was bought, once the novel was rejected (but it just sold elsewhere, so I can laugh about the work I did on it, now.)
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 07:26 pm:   

I once responded to an email rejection that was so vaguely worded I didn't know what it meant. Pure reflex: just hit the reply button and asked if he could be a bit more specific.

It was one of those vague phrases you see sometimes in rejection letters, one that could mean just about anything from "you suck," to "it's good but it lacks a talking rodent" to "go back and reread the Chicago Manual of Style." I was seduced by the casualness of email, plus the fact that I'd submitted & been rejected by him several times already, plus the fact that I'd been rejected by that vague phrase before and I just wanted to know once and for all just what in the hell it meant exactly.

To his credit, the editor wrote me back (saying he didn't usually clarify rejections, since a no is a no is a no) but he did explain what the phrase meant (and now I don't even remember what that vague phrasing was).
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 12:20 am:   

I had a story that got a number of rejections all containing the comment "Well written, but we don't publish stories like that."

After the sixth time, I finally asked what "like that" meant.

It means a story with a lot of fucking, apparently.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 02:47 am:   

What does irk me are rejections that criticise something that I have not done. Eg: "Please re-read our guidelines, which forbid the use of italics." Scanned returned mss with a microscope. Nope, no italics.

I've only had a couple of these, both from A Well Known SF Magazine. I'll remain mum on the name, but email me off-board if you want. Anyone who knows me will have heard this particular rant before.

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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 07:51 am:   

Nick, I'm noticing a pattern with your reading and writing trends... Was it "Scarlet Girls," I wonder?

Liz, those sort of rejections would make one WANT to pick up some sort of -mancy, if not rejectomancy...
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 08:39 am:   

It was Scarlet Women Watch TV Till Dawn, yes...

(link probably isn't work-safe)
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Liz Williams
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 10:30 am:   

Perhaps not ....-mancy.

But certainly ....-cide....!
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 07:04 am:   

Not a bruised ego entry, just a lonesome mailbox entry. It's been a LONG time since any editor has written. Sigh.

I don't feel the LOVE, man.

And why can't I take off the whole month of August like everyone else seems to be doing???
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 10:34 am:   

Know, what you mean, Mike.
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 06:12 pm:   

I'm haunting the mailbox waiting for a certain special editor to write me back--but he never writes, he never emails...
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 06:33 pm:   

Don't they know they're ripping our hearts in two?

Don't they care?
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Liz Williams
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 12:51 am:   

We're just as flies, to them, Mike. Our wings torn off, one by one, for cruel childlike amusement...
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 03:24 am:   

and then pinned to a wall and locked under glass when pretty enough.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 11:46 am:   

Man, it's still quiet 'round the Jasper mailbox...

Got an email rejection or 2, but not much else...
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 01:18 pm:   

Yeah me too. Someone bounced the Disney story. They were too afraid.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 08:08 am:   

Afraid of the Mouse? Cowards.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 09:54 am:   

Yeah. Looks like.
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Rachel Heslin
Posted on Friday, September 19, 2003 - 03:47 pm:   

A friend of mine used to work in the animation dept of Disney (he did the cool motorcycle/cars in Tron.) Regardless of the accusations, he swears that he was NOT the one who paintballed the water tower.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 11:14 am:   

Okay, a third agent has bounce my SF novel after requesting to read more of it following my query letter. I'm a bit frustrated, but not surprised -- I guess it's not as commercial a book as I'd thought.

Each time, I'm happy to report, the different agents have given me excellent advice or reasoning behind their rejection, which takes the sting out a bit.

Here's the latest:

"You're a thoughtful and talented writer--I especially enjoyed your warm and vivid characterizations (humans and aliens). Unfortunately, the market right now is looking for edgy and fast-paced science fiction, and I don't think I could place this with a major publisher... You might take a look at Jack McDevitt's books as a model. He seems to have found an audience for relatively old-fashioned character-driven SF by using a deep space setting with more of a hard science edge to it."

I haven't read ANY Jack McDevitt, though I did meet the guy at con a few years back -- we both co-hosted the writing workshop, and he was a great guy. Very energetic.

As soon as I finish the 50 other books in front of me, I'll read one of his novels.
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Liz
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

Good luck with it, Mike.

I've recently had a bounce from Ellen (very nice bounce, too) and one from the Antho From Hell - not funny enough, apparently. As mentioned elsewhere: story of my life.
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Jamie
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 06:52 pm:   

I quite liked the Engines of God, by McDevitt. Enough so that I picked up another one of his books, and should get to it any year now.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 02:38 am:   

Hey Liz -- thanks for sharing your rejections! Makes me feel better, somehow. And congrats on your new story up at STRANGE HORIZONS! Looking forward to reading that one.

Jamie -- thanks for the tip. I'll see if I can't track that one down. Gotta start somewhere, ya know...
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 03:19 am:   

Mike, know what it's like. Remember, I'm currently agentless. Still, that will change eventually. Now lining up for my third. Meanwhile, we keep plugging on.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 06:47 am:   

Thanks Jay! On the drive to work today I had some more ideas for an edgy, fast-paced novel. But it's not SF -- it's epic fantasy. And mystery. And horror. And most of all, it's a war novel, and not a pretty one at all.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 07:03 am:   

Ooooh, I like that.

Hmm, did I forget to mention I've just lost my editor too...?
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 09:17 am:   

James -- what are you DOING to your people???
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 09:24 am:   

Naaah, it's what the industry's doing to them.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 12:12 pm:   

Ugh -- I hear you, James. Unfortunately. Good luck, man.
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Liz
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 12:53 am:   

I've just had a nose dive on Amazon, so I'm going to bitch about that, and thanks for providing the forum to do so, Mike. Sigh.

May all our fortunes start improving, very soon.
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 06:03 pm:   

I just discoverd this thread and it's the most encouraging one of its kind I've seen. This isn't rejection blues, but I've been getting bad reviews for my latest story. This story about split me in two coming out, it was that hard to write. When I sent it off I told myself (probably shouldn't have) that it was the best I could do. Asimov's took it so I was happy for a while. This is it, man, this is when I show the world what I can do. But Tangent and Locus both hated it.

By all rights this shoudn't bother me. I'm OK with all kinds of rejections, and at least this story got published in a good place. I keep telling myself "Walk it off, Jarpe. Write something else and really show them what you've got."

I don't know. I still think this is the best I can do.
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Liz
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 02:29 am:   

Matt, I hear you. Poor reviews can be pretty gutting. But I tell myself that very strong reactions are not necessarily a negative thing - shows you've pushed someone's buttons. Friend of mine's got a book doing the rounds that seems to be a real love it!/hate it! one.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 03:47 am:   

Matt -- I hear you man! My most recent story in print got a pretty lukewarm, if not outright negative review in Tangent, but I just had to laugh at it, really. In a way the reviewer had a point, but in another way, he totally missed MY point.

Like Liz said -- at least you got a reaction! I can't tell you how frustrating it is to finally get something in print, and then have nobody review it (at least Tangent reviews EVERY story in an issue, while Locus picks and chooses, which I hate).

And further, just remember -- you got your story in print. An editor liked it, and man, if it was your story in ASIMOV's, then one of the top editors in the biz liked your stuff. And he paid you for it. :-)
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 06:11 am:   

There was a discussion at sff.net a while ago about abusive Clarion instructors, and the general oppinion was that getting chewed out by Harlan was preparing you for the real world. Then someone tossed out that it isn't the scorn of reviewers that discourages most writers, it's the silence. The Quiet Years. I'd much rather be hated (by a few reviewers) than ignored. My first two stories got nothing from Locus, so this is a step in the right direction. "Pedestrian space opera." Hey, I'm moving up in the world.

I just remind myself that the Giants almost always pick some obscure story as their favorite, and they usually hate the one story that they are famous for. Hal Clement didn't care for Mission of Gravity and thought that Still River was his best work. Asimov was embarassed by the success of "Nightfall." I can't remember which one he liked the best of his.

I don't have a vast cannon of work to choose from, but so far my favorite of my own stories is one that has been rejected by everyone who has the power to choose stories for a paying publication.

And, yeah, Gardner liked the story that Chris and Nick panned, but he sends out checks :-)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 01:31 am:   

Hey Matt -- was the story you were talking about "Language Barrier" from the Feb '04 Asimov's?
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 05:03 am:   

Yep, that's the one. You know, I just realized that you and I are destined to be associated on alphabetical lists of SF authors for the rest of our careers. Maybe we should get together with Alexander Jablokov and collaborate on a story.
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Liz
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 05:56 am:   

My first novel didn't get reviewed by Locus - though, weirdly, it did get into their 'new and notable' section as well as their 'best novel' section. Hmm.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 12:10 pm:   

Yeah, I was getting tired of sitting next to that Jablokov fella!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 04:19 pm:   

Ow, ow, ow. Been taking some hits the past few days on some submissions! Got a bounce on a couple stories, plus a reject on the fantasy novel and one on the SF novel (one I kind of had hopes for, but...). Urgh. I'm trying not to feel like those 2 novels belong in the trunk. Damn it, I like 'em.

Meanwhile, got to keep on writing and not let it bug me. I had fun writing those novels and learned a lot, so if they never get published, I guess it's okay. It would just suck in a major fashion...
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 06:20 pm:   

Bushmills is the cure. Just a little bit, not a lot, Mike, lest you end up like Hemmingway.

Cures sore throats too.

But I agree, rejects suck.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ET
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 09:11 am:   

Nice topic.

Matt, the reviews of Possibilities got to me too, but putting the joy of getting the acceptance against the down of the reviews, I still think I'm in the positive happiness region. :-) Now to get another one accepted... Can't be a one story author.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 09:39 am:   

Just between you people and me, I've not been all that impressed with the reviews of short fiction I've seen. Sometimes the reviewers simply don't get it, and that colors their whole review. You've got to look at what the author was attempting, I think, and not just "Did it work for me?"

More important to me is feedback from people I trust, like fellow writers and serious readers not writing reviews for publication...
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 09:11 pm:   

Sorry your book didn't get reviewed in Locus, Liz! But if it made the recommended list, that means at least a couple of reviewers/critics/pundits liked it very much indeed.

(Speaking as a reviewer for Locus, I can say with some confidence that there are more books we'd like to review than we have time or space for...)
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 07:53 pm:   

Well, I was told that my story was under consideration at Brutarian, and after a week of nail biting I received a response today from them that was little more than a form rejection. Not even a "this was close, but we couldn't take it."
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Tribeless
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 01:44 am:   

I'm nil for two. I've currently got two short stories (my first two) on the market. Just got my first rejection from Ellen at Sci-fi :-)

I've re-read the story since the rejection and find that there is a lot I don't like about it now, but also some elements that I think still work really well, so I'm thinking of a reasonably substantial re-write before submitting it to 'Strange Horizons'. I live on the backside of the world, so my policy is to send a story only once by snail mail to America, after that, its only being submitted to publications that take email submissions, so Strange Horizons is permanently on my list :-)

I suspect the chief problem with it (story) is (perhaps apart from crappy writing) that it is a theme story (heavily so).

I'm now working on my third short story, with my aim being to not include any (or hardly any) politics, or 'themes' (barrels).

Depressing, rejections :-(

Also have a speculative 'poem' on the market (which was actually a bit of an accident).
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Tribeless
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 01:51 am:   

Whoops. Just noticed I wasn't supposed to mention editors, etc, on this thread.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 04:09 pm:   

I had an unusual day at the mailbox today: two short story rejections and a check for a nonfiction thing I did. The rejections, of course, sucked big time, but the check sorta balanced it out. At least the trip down the driveway wasn't a total waste.

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 10:41 am:   

OK, I've got to start off with a warning that to anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of being published in a pro market this is going to sound like petulant whining. It may sound like that to everyone else as well.

Got my advance copies of A Certain Magazine in the mail yesterday, containing my fourth publication. My third published story came with an exciting bonus, my name on the cover. This time, no name. I thought I'd arrived, but apparently not.

So, I know, who the hell cares, no big deal, walk it off. But still, a little bruised today. It didn't help that a rejection from The Same Certain Magazine came in the same delivery. For a rewrite that was requested by The Former Editor for that Certain Magazine, but found The New Editor to be a rocky place where it could find no purchase.

Ssssssssssss. That's my ego deflating.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 06:40 am:   

Ouch. Hang in there, Matt.

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