Saturday, June 11, 2011
I've never been a fan of rejection. That's putting it mildly. I hate rejection and I suspect I'm not alone. Writers, however, get more than their share and have to get used to it or find another job.
I recently had a couple of my babies rejected. Not literal babies...that would be awful. These were just brain babies. My stories. Certainly, not every idea will make a marketable story. When remembering that's the publisher's one and only goal--sales--accepting rejection gets easier. No, scratch that. It's never easy, but it makes sense. It's not personal.
So, back in the day (am I really getting to that point in my career where nostalgia occurs? Yikes.) Anyway, once upon a time, there was nothing you could do with a rejected manuscript but use it for scrap. Then came the e-pubs. (Yay e-publishing!) They could afford to take chances on stories that were "different" and didn't have a proven track record. Sci-Fi romances, werewolf romances, etc.
If an e-pub rejected your ms. it just stayed in a file, never to see the light of day. Or, perhaps if it did, the writer had cannibalized it for scenes that were too good to abandon completely. But good e-pubs have standards, and for whatever reason, they can reject your stories too.
Today there's a third option that's getting a lot of attention. Self-publishing. I was never a fan. It required the writer to shell out money for editing, cover art, and sometimes the printing process if they wanted to make a paperback. I know what you're going to say..."Oh, but you don't have to do that anymore. You can proofread yourself, slap together a basic cover, and put it up on Kindle and Smashwords." Oy!
No, you can't. Even the best of us miss our own typos and spelling errors. Most of us don't carry the Chicago Manual of Style around in our heads and make occasional mistakes in grammar or punctuation. All of that can detract from the reader's enjoyment. When you ask for their money, you really need to provide them with some quality. Editors aren't a guarantee, but they're a darn good investment--if you can afford one.
My point is this: If you self-publish, you really shouldn't do it all by yourself. Have someone with a terrific gift for written English read it over. Don't be opposed to taking a few suggestions. If you want sales, invest in a good cover. And just because you self-published, that doesn't mean you won't experience rejection. Reader reviews tend to run the gamut these days. What one person loves, another one hates. If you're very sensitive to rejection, you might not want to read them at all.