Continued from Part 4
One last cliche for you, and then I can share the meat of the talk tomorrow–what happens once you get that contract.
It’s not you, it’s me
If you’ve followed the submission guidelines and your book is the right genre that the publisher is looking for, intended for the right audience, and all of those basics, you’re already doing better than most of the slush pile. If you’re starting to get feedback on rejections, it’s easy to get your hopes up and think “This could be the one!” and it can be even harder to realize that the writing still needs work.
Sometimes the story and the writing can be perfectly fine, though—brilliant, even—and you still get rejected. What do you do then? If your boyfriend breaks up with you, do you try to convince him to take you back, or do you use it as a learning experience for the next time?
Well, I can say from experience that it’s really, really hard to just walk away from what seemed to you like a perfectly good relationship, or even a possible relationship.
It can be just as heartbreaking for a writer to feel that kind of rejection from a house they’ve done their research on, over a manuscript they’ve labored over and are sure it’s good—the editor has no objections except to say “It’s not for me.”
The comfort in that situation is that it truly isn’t personal. It’s not you, and it’s probably not even the story. Any number of factors could be at work in the rejection in a dating relationship—they are already dating someone, or they have too much baggage and aren’t ready for a relationship.
In publishing terms, they couldn’t make a P&L work to be able to offer any kind of money, or they could have a forthcoming book already on the list covering too similar a topic. Again, any number of reasons.
And the most heartbreaking of all—perhaps there’s nothing standing in the way except personal taste or the whims of the market. Maybe no one in the house is into Greek mythology, or cats with ESP, or whatever your story is about, and don’t feel they could champion it with their whole hearts.
Chalk it up to what could have been and focus on finding someone new.
You want this to happen. Really, you do. Because that means it leaves you open to finding the right match. Your editor is your book’s champion in the house. If she’s not excited about it, you can guarantee that few people in the chain of selling your book will be either—marketing, sales, publicity, all depend upon the editor’s infecting them with the same excitement she feels for the book when she’s acquiring it.