Several respected and successful writers have shared their rejection letters and they helped me deal with my own NO. Reading their bout of NO gave me reason and courage not give up so maybe sharing my experience can help someone else... just a little.
A rejection letter or a rewrite/resubmit note no matter how kind or professional can feel like a punch in the face.
I brace myself before I open any e-mail from a publisher. My lovely inner dialogue screams, "How did you screw up this time?", "You suck and they don't want you or your work.", "Give up!" and other variations that reflect my lovely lack of self-esteem/confidence in my writing (and let's face it myself).
Last year around this time, I got the dreaded "this manuscript is not ready for publication" e-mail= NO.
WHAM! POW! SMACK!
"I SUCK! That's it! I should never try to publish again." I can share my stories and forego the humiliation of rejection.
I thanked the publisher for their time and feedback (which was clearly wasted on me because me and my writing stink!).
3 hours and 200 re-reads later of the e-mail... I actually internalized the words: There were real problems with my story. "OH MY GOD!!! How could I have missed these things? Can fix this and resubmit?"
I talked to a trusted friend who interpreted the e-mail as more of a rewrite and resubmit and not a "Why don't you give away your keyboard before the grammar police take it away?" What did I have to lose? "Another punch in the face," my almost non-existence shredded ego whined.
But I trusted this publisher. I want to make them my publisher. They know what they are talking about...
If nothing else I can fix my story and give my characters what they deserve. (Plus I'd get to WRITE more about a world I adore!)
I tossed out my carefully planned writing schedule and spent the next 4 months ripping apart and rewriting the story.
The feedback made me dig deeper into my own experiences, I remembered things I'd forgotten or things I now take for granted but the character would not have. I started the story in a different place. I got the character's reality out of my head and onto the page. I tossed parts out (which I saved for later). I fleshed out places I skated over. I added six new chapters and a number of scenes. I found better ways and about 30,000 more words to tell Zack's story.
Lynn West & Dreamspinner Press were correct in saying "the story wasn't ready". I liked the earlier versions of Lock and Key but now I LOVE it! I'm grateful for the careful attention and assistance the editing staff offers. I'm proud of Lock and Key. (It's not perfect, but the story is true to the characters).
So a NO isn't always a bad thing. My NO made me reach beyond, forced me to learn better ways of sharing my story and it gave me Lock and Key.
Tomorrow (June 10th) at The Novel Approach Lock and Key's cover will be revealed! The book that was given the best NO ever will be released July 15th.
Big Hugs, Z.