After waiting ten months for a response, today I finally received a response: a rejection from a literary magazine that I’d sent an excerpt from Perceval.  Disappointment.  And to think I’d just read a quote from Michael Cunningham (The Hours) in the August 2008 issue of The Writer earlier today:  “A novelist is more than anything else someone who refuses to stop writing and who can stand disappointment.”

I don’t think it’s a matter of being able to stand disappointment as it is knowing oneself and how to deal with it.  I will allow myself a little time to feel the disappointment, maybe half an hour.  Then I put the rejection letter away (usually a form letter, by the way) and begin working on where I’ll submit the story next.  Wallowing in the disappointment, or pity, or revenge fantasies serve no productive purpose and definitely will not lead to publication anymore than writing a letter to the editor who sent the rejection.

The only remedy for rejection is to get back to work, whether it’s writing or marketing….


4 responses to “Rejection

  1. Damn, that is frustrating. And knowing it’s likely, knowing the chances of the first submission being the successful one, doesn’t really blunt that first OUCH, does it?

    Strength and joy to you, mate.

  2. I hope this isn’t prying too much …

    when you get a form letter rejection, do you at least get the sense that someone read your manuscript? E.g., “thanks for your submission, I read it, and it just doesn’t meet our marketing needs at this time. I’ll keep a copy around in a file somewhere, and if I change my mind, I’ll call”

    Or is it just

    “Thank you for your submission.”

    I hope that the publisher at least read your book.

    Have you considered going outside of the borders of the US? There are other countries who publish in English. Canada, UK, NZ, etc. Maybe if you got Vol. 1 published there, and sales were good, it might persuade an American publisher to buy the other volumes.

  3. Thanks for the sympathy, Naomi. It wasn’t the first rejection! Ouch again!

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth, and no it’s not prying….(smile)

    Usually form rejection letters have a sentence in them that says the magazine’s editor has read your submission, and that is usually true. They never keep the submission — it’s usually recycled. All decisions are final. What I can do in the future, though, is submit a different short story to the same publication.

    The literary magazine I sent “The Shadow” to was in London and is available in all English-speaking countries. The idea is to try to get a literary magazine to publish an excerpt of the novel to drum up interest in the series and to show that the story is publishable/saleable. As with any story submission, it takes time to find the right fit….

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