Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tee C. Royal Riffs on Dealing with Rejection

Today's guest blog is an example of what using social networks can do for you. Tee C. Royal is a fellow tweeter on Twitter.com. Find her at www.twitter.com/rawsistaz) She is also a great example of what dedicated people can do for one another. I hope her piece on rejections helps you deal with it better.


Five Tips for Dealing with Rejection

By Tee C. Royal

It’s a fact. Most people do not like to be rejected and this does not change for those in the literary arena.

I’m going to take a step back from RAWSISTAZ/being a book club founder & moderator and throw on my other hats. While it’s not something I actively promote, I have been a freelance editor and reader for around seven years. I started both shortly after starting RAWSISTAZ, working directly for authors and also for a few publishing companies, but it’s never been the main focus of what I do, simply because RAWSISTAZ had the #1 slot. But during this time, I’ve seen hundreds of manuscripts, quite a few of which needed work and unfortunately I couldn’t recommend for publication.

Now, I’m an agent and focusing more on getting my agency running and taking what I’ve already done in the industry a step further and actually helping authors get their work published. Granted, there were a few deals I helped authors achieve prior to becoming an agent, but now I’m doing it for real and enjoying the experience. Unfortunately, one of the hardest parts is rejection. For the author and for me.

It’s hard rejecting potential clients, especially if I’ve enjoyed some of their previous work. It’s also hard having a client receive a rejection letter from a publisher. With the very first rejection I received, I was at a loss for words, couldn’t figure out why or what the editor must’ve been missing to pass on such a wonderful book. LOL. (I’m now sure this is what all authors think when they get rejections.)

The author took it better than I did, and I eventually put my feelings to the side and moved on. But it’s hard. Man is it hard. I also remember the first rejection I gave as an agent. I was overly concerned about hurting the writer’s feelings, so I took several weeks before I actually sent the email. Again, it is hard!

I said all that to say that I can now somewhat imagine being the author and dealing with rejection, but I do have 5 quick tips on the subject. Hopefully they will help those who may need that extra push to keep going.

1) BE PREPARED - Please don’t submit your work before it is completed. This not only means have the book finished, but ensure it’s been edited. I don’t know how many times I’ve received a query, requested more than the standard 3 chapters, but then I don’t hear from the author for several months. Why? Because they’re finishing the book.

2) ACCEPT CRITICISM - Again, no one likes being rejected, but you’ll find some agents/editors offer feedback on why the book didn’t work for them, suggestions on what needs improving, and things of this nature. Don’t be so quick to throw out these tidbits of information along with the rejection. Good can come from being rejected. Also keep in mind that it can be a good story, well-written, and all that, but it’s not right for that agent/editor, for that cycle, or various other reasons. It’s simply one person’s yes or no. Move on to the next person.

3) BE REALISTIC - There are thousands of authors out there, so you’re not the only one submitting your work to a particular agent or agency. Don’t assume that we’re sitting around fiddling our thumbs. We aren’t. Also, our existing clients are our primary focus, so while we would love to respond in 3-4 weeks or sooner, it simply doesn’t work out that way sometimes. Be patient and realistic while waiting for a follow-up. Inquiring every 2.3 weeks isn’t helping your case any. It actually hurts it. And, once you get the follow-up, don’t be arrogant, rude, obnoxious or all-knowing about it. It’s a turn off and could possibly turn what would’ve been an “I’m interested” into an “I’ll pass.” I loved an author’s work recently and could see the book doing well, but his reply to my request for the remaining chapters and a contact number totally changed my desire to work with him. Granted, it took quite a while to get to his submission and reply, but starting off his response with “It’s good to hear from you after 5 months,” wasn’t really too bright. Then, he didn’t send what I requested, but another “taste” of the book. What? LOL. Sorry, he had to go. Not following directions is one of my pet peeves.

4) KEEP ON MOVING - Don’t find yourself in the waiting mode; continue to write, query others, write more, and study the craft. Oftentimes, we find ourselves stuck in the “I’ma wait until” frame of mind, expecting someone to do something or for something to happen. While it’s good to be hopeful, it’s not good to be so expectant. Basically what I’m saying is don’t put anything on hold waiting on the “yes” because in some cases, you will be disappointed. Instead, live in the present, and again, continue to write, query, study and do research. Be confident in knowing that it’ll happen when and as it should.

5) CHANGE YOUR VIEWPOINT - Change your viewpoint about the rejection. Don’t take it personal, as an outright slight against you. The work was rejected, not you per se. Look at the rejection as one step further in recognizing your dream of being a published author (or of getting that agent, deal, etc.). Everyone started off with that first book. Many authors who were rejected numerous times over are now best-selling authors. So, continue to work hard, keep the faith, utlize the aforementioned tips and continue to perfect your manuscript. Then, submit again and again and again. It’ll happen.

Continued blessings to each and every one of you on the path to publication. May your rejections inspire you to work harder and one day secure your spot as a best-selling author.

**Originally posted on my column for Blogging In Black, March 12, 2008*


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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