Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I don't know why, but I can't leave the same thing up on my blog for too many days or I feel like I'm a slacker. But at the same time, I can't think of anything relevant or interesting to say!

Piper and I are the speakers for this month's RWA chapter meeting. It is on what editors look for in a manuscript and also what not to do when sending a manuscript. I feel like I can help a few, but most of the members who come to the meetings have most of what I'm going to talk about down. And I'm not from a big publishing house. So what attracts me to a story, may not be what attracts someone from say Avon or Berkley.

Anyway, I'll give my 2 cents and some examples and hope we fill in the time without boring too many.

What have editors said to you in rejection letters? Were they words that made you feel good even though they didn't want your work or did the letter stop you from writing for a while?


Anonymous said...

Paty, I've been reading your blog via TWRP. I love your never say die attitude! :o)

I noticed that Avon appears (or should be past tense maybe) to be one of your target markets. Three of my chapter mates are Avon authors and they'd be the first to tell you that Avon no longer acquires westerns. I'm thinking that's been the case for about five years now. They DID continue to publish a couple of their bigger names, but a couple of years ago they even dropped the ball on the fabulous Susan Kay Law because she writes westerns. Last I heard, she was at loose ends and thinking of switching genres. Old news but I haven't been keeping up lately.

As to your topic (this is gonna run too long)...

The only time I received a rejection that stopped me from writing was about ten years ago. I received a form letter from Dorchester which basically said my "writing" wasn't up to their standards. Being new at this at the time, I was devastated. I spent the next two years being unproductive writing-wise and concentrated on craft-of-writing type issues. I HAD to improve my writing! Funny thing is, a couple of years ago I received this SAME form rejection from them. The second time I was able to shrug it off and laugh about it because I'd received enough feedback from editors and agents in the meantime to feel a bit more secure about the quality of my "writing."

My last rejection (from Kate Duffy) was back in October. She had requested the full and her rejection letter was very complimentary. My writing pals call these "good rejections." To me, this is a contradiction in terms because no rejection is good. ;o) She "regretfully" had to pass on it because there was just too much story for her. Also, she wished I would rachet up the heat with my hero because she thought he had the potential for a lot more. She invited me to submit again, so I guess that's a YAY.

I'll cut this off after a word about agents. I have concluded that the big name ones are only interested in a sure thing. In other words, get "the call" and THEN give them a call. At that point, they're more willing to take a look at you. They're all looking for the next big thing. Short of that, they'll consider jumping onto a deal that's already in the bag. ;o) Personally, I think I would begrudge handing over 15 percent of my earnings to one of them after I had already done the work.


Paty Jager said...

Hi Irma,

I've pretty much given up on Avon. I have a trilogy that TWRP has already asked for, but I really want to put out in the bigger market. I just feel very strongly about it needs to have a larger audience. It is "different" and I think no one wants to take a chance on it.

And believe me - I have a folder full of rejections. The form rejections, you know they just read the query and didn't think they could do anything with the story. The rejections that say I loved/enjoyed reading this, but... Those are the ones that are hard to swallow. When they say they enjoyed it, but it wasn't something they wanted to take on at this time. Those are the heart breakers, but they also said they loved/enjoyed it. So then I must be doing something right. So I plunge on and write more and submit. Hoping they will pretty soon see I won't go away and take me on as a client or an author.

Thank you for popping over and reading my blog!