Rejections suck. No one wants them and yet, as writers we’re all bound to receive a few (in most cases, dozens and dozens and dozens). It’s all a part of the “road to publication” process, but nonetheless, they still sting just like a finger poke to the eye.
Rejections suck. Whoops. Did I already say that? Sorry. I hate them. But they do. They really, really do.
I have several rejections under my belt—from contest judges, from agents, from publishing house editors. Even the stupid form rejections hurt, though I shouldn’t take them personally but I do. With each rejection, I’m building a thicker and thicker skin and getting closer to finding the person who will say yes. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Up until last week, when the other two Hook’ers and I started this blog, I’d only been on the receiving end of the rejection stick. Now, I’m in the process of actually delving them out to seasoned and aspiring writers alike.
And I don’t like it one bit. Not one single bit.
Telling someone that his or her work “just didn’t hook me” isn’t fun at all. In fact, I’ve worried about it a great deal, worried how someone will accept our suggestions and opinions. Because really, that’s all it is—an opinion and you know what they say about opinions (if you don’t, just ask and I’ll tell you).
Here’s the problem: a lot of the submissions we’ve received are actually quite good. Of course, there are a few that are not—some are still in need of additional editing and revisions and read like first drafts. But even though most are good, we’re still rejecting them.
“Why are you Hook’ers rejecting good manuscripts? That’s not fair. That sucks!” you say.
I agree. It does suck.
But we decided before we started this blog, that a good story just wouldn’t cut it. It couldn’t.
We wanted GREAT stories.
Let me explain why.
First, if we accepted every good story, we’d never write again ourselves. That’s a given. We’d simply be too busy reading and reading and reading and . . . you get the drift. Our own writing goals would be sacrificed and not one of the three of us is willing to do that. We’re writers first, readers second.
Secondly, we want our tag line “2 out of 3 Hook’ers Love My Book!” to really mean something (you probably just rolled your eyes at that, but I’m serious). I’m going to take a moment and be scary honest here. I may even get in trouble for saying this, but here goes . . . there are lots of published books out there on the market with five star reviews they didn’t deserve. (Gasp. I know. Someone is going to throw rotten eggs at me. I sense it coming). Authors trade reviews with other authors—kind of like an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” kind of deal. This is a well know practice. It happens all the time. Is it illegal? Sometimes I wish (I’ve been led astray quite a bit), but no. It’s not. Is it wrong? That’s up to you to decide. Any book with our tagline on it, you will know went through quite a stringent process to receive it and will darn well deserve it.
Even though we’ve set our standard quite high, it doesn’t make sending out rejections any less difficult. We don’t find it fun or pleasurable by any means. All three of us have been on the receiving end of rejections and we know exactly what it is like, and we take this process quite seriously.
Every rejection we send out is done privately. We will NEVER post a bad review on our blog or any other website. Our purpose isn’t to destroy an author. That’s what makes us different from other reviewers—NO PUBLIC HUMILIATION. And every submission will receive valuable feedback (at least we hope you find it valuable).
If you do receive a rejection from us, please take it with a grain of salt. Remember, we are not professionals and do not profess to be. We’re just three women with very strong opinions. Nothing more.
The greatest piece of advice I can give you is this—Never let anyone tell you that you can’t write. Never let anyone stand in the way of what you love to do. Always keep writing, because out there, somewhere, you have an audience waiting.
(Notice I didn’t say how big that audience was. It could only be one person. It could be millions. If you stop writing, though, you’ll never know).