Friday, April 13, 2012

Seven Times Seventy- Rejections

I recently read several blogs of why authors self-publish. One of the main reasons given was rejections from  traditional publishing. Whether it be an agent or publisher.

There is no such thing as time to a regular publisher or agent during your search for both. At least that's the way it seems when you wait months or years  to get a "yea" or "nay."

What spurs this to my attention is I got a final rejection letter in the mail yesterday from an agent. I queried this agent three years ago. Now I've heard about snail mail and the slush pile, but this is ridiculous! I had forgotten I'd even queried this agent until I looked back at my spreadsheet. This book is now self-published and doing fairly well. A long shot from a million copies sold, but okay for me. Their loss.

So how many slamming doors should you experience before self-publishing? Three, ten, forty, four hundred? It depends on you. Rejection hurts. As an artist we need to have thick skins. How badly do you want to be traditionally published? Personally, I have a file cabinet full of rejections from this or that manuscript. Yes, I kept them all (agents aren't you boggled?) Why did I keep them? Most are just form letters, but a few have helpful tips. When an agent writes notes on their rejections, pay attention. The reason I kept them was stubborness and also to keep track of what I have accomplished.

Rejections are accomplishments? Yep you better believe it. I stuck my foot in the door and said listen to me and see what I have. For someone like me who was an introvert for a lot of years, this is a major accomplishment. I said, "represent me and publish me" to a total stranger. Now anyone who can do that can conquer the world. That is a major accomplishment. Whether it was accepted for a partial, full manuscript, or traditionally published or not, it was a step, or several, forward. I believed in what I had to sell. I may not have expressed it well in a query, but I tried. I made a Don Quixote attempt at slaying a dragon and I didn't give up.

In traditional publishing, I saw the writing on the wall as one mid-list author after another went the self-publishing route. I fought it kicking and screaming until I realized the thing works. I had always thought of self-publishing as a desperate attempt of someone who was not published to get published. That was before last year, when I jumped onto the bandwagon with other mid-list authors.

Because of this the old stigma of self-publishing is gone. I watched acquaintances like, Bob Mayer, jump off the traditional list to start his own publishing network. Don't be fooled he may say he is just e-publishing rather than self-publishing, but that's only because he started his own e-publishing company. While Bob is no longer considered a mid-list author because he's made the BIG list of best seller, WTG Bob, he is still publishing and taking a larger portion of proceeds. He can now play off the best seller to boost his sales.

My advice, as far as how many rejections you receive from standard publishing is enough. If it is in your heart to traditionally publish...it is seventy time seven in the biblical sense and not 490.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

3 comments:

Zan Marie said...

Good post, Jo! I've had a "few" rejections on my book proposals and did self publish them, but I still want to try the traditional for my fiction...at least for now. ; )

Brian said...

So true! I've self-published through Amazon. It's been such an amazing experience compared to the traditional query letter-rejection cycle. With self-publishing, I can watch the sales of my book, control the price, and make edits whenever I want. What publisher would allow me to do that?

Love the post!

J.L. Murphey said...

Thanks Brian and welcome to the menagerie! In honesty, no standard publisher would let you do it. They technically edit and proof the book before publication, but then there is always the human factor of errors.