Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tired of Rejection?

My sometimes... (ok, one time) coffee date and writer of over 20-some books, the lovely, the wonderful Shirley Jump has some advice for you:

Hey, listen, if *I* could learn to write a book, ANYONE can. I was awful, but I had some nugget of something because like DJ, I had notes back from contests and the occasional rejection letter that said nice things (most were form letters, though). And yes, lots of the books out there ARE bad. I read books by NYT bestselling authors who are making ten times what I make and getting treated way better by their publishers than me and they can't write their way out of a paper bag.

Is it fair? Heck, no.

Do plumbers and carpenters and basketball players and teachers and dog poop cleaners have all the same complaints? Yeah, they do. You know what the difference is? We take it personally because we are artistes.

Oooh, the big creative minds.

These books are our babies, our creations... Yada-yada. Yawn.

I don't want to be mean, or insensitive, but folks, it's only personal to YOU. This is a business to everyone else in this industry (meaning the editors, the publishing house, the bookseller, the bookstore), except for the writer.

That means when they are rejecting the book, they are not rejecting you, for Pete's sake, they are rejecting a PRODUCT. Do you think that if Paul Newman sent in a proposal for a spinach-rutabaga-chocolate salad dressing, any store in their right mind would put in on shelves, even with his trademark blue eyes on the bottle? I sure hope not, because they wouldn't sell a single one.

They'd reject the product, not poor old Paul. It's a business.

Rejection is all about dollars and sense, plain and simple. And if you can change your attitude, and realize that you have to deliver a better PRODUCT than what they can buy from Jane Doe Debut Author, then you'll jump light years ahead :-)

And also realize that even after you sell, the golden gates don't open and the doves don't fly open, and not everything you write is gold. I still get rejections, I still have projects that don't sell. I still have PRODUCT that isn't RIGHT for the MARKET. It's a business and I'm not always there with the right money-maker :-) And hey, yeah, I get sad that some of my babies are too ugly for the store shelves, but then I go back and make prettier ones. Mix up the word DNA and create a new one. :-)

If you want to hear more wise words from Shirley, swing by her site or visit her online group.

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