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That Dreaded ‘No’

by on September 29, 2012

No.

It’s just a word. A simple word, made of only two letters. But it has such a strong meaning. For an author, it’s the worst word you could read. It means your story isn’t good enough. You aren’t good enough. And this publisher disliked your work.

Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded rejection.

I’ve heard about authors who’ve gotten dozens — no, more like hundreds – of ‘no’ on their submissions. So when I wrote Rescued Love (Originally titled Intimate Healing) and subbed it to seven places overnight, I expected nothing but no’s. To my surprise, I received a yes from one publisher, Sapphire Blue Publishing, the following day, and several yes’s over the next several months. Not that all the publishers said yes. Samhain and Carina said no, but I don’t even count those as rejections. Those two publishers are very selective and I knew when I submitted that they would turn me down. And by the time those rejections came in, Rescued Love was under contract elsewhere anyways.

Over the next several months, I wrote a few short stories and submitted those to Evernight Publishing. Got yes’s both times. I was on top of the world and nothing could bring me down.

Until something did.

I submitted what I thought was one of my better works. It was sent to a publisher who I had already worked with.  Eagerly, I waited for the yes. When I received my response email, it said “our acquisition editor didn’t feel it grabbed her or held her interest”.

But how? Why? For a few months I wasn’t able to write. Every time I started something, deep down the fear that it was boring, unreadable, and utter crap made me put down the virtual pen.

It took time before the sting of rejection faded and I opened up that rejected manuscript. After reading it, I realized something. It was utter crap. The plot was all over the place, it started off as paranormal and then suddenly became erotic, and the end was a suspense/action thriller. And the heroine! OMG, what a whiny bitch! I could see why the story was rejected, and I couldn’t blame the publisher for doing so. Realizing how bad the story really was, I started writing again.

This experience did teach me something. I’m no longer the cocky author who thinks everything she writes has been plucked from the awesomeness three. And now, every time I hit send, I do ruin my manicure by giving it the bitten nails look.  I try not to write utter crap anymore.

And that story that got the no? I’m slowly working out the kinks in it and rewriting it. So far, the only things remaining and the hero and heroine’s names and the hero’s profession. All else has been changed, made better, and eventually, this story will get its very own ‘yes’.

What is the first ‘no’ you ever received? Did it crush you?

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5 Comments
  1. The first no I ever received was from Harlequin way back in the day and it was a form letter. It would be the first if many, but I kept going. Yes the rejection does smart a bit, but it’s made me a better writer. Look out Harlequin and Avon, I’m coming for you next year. 🙂

  2. I have a story I call my “dicking around” story. It has some issues with the first two chapters that I can’t seem to fix. I know it would get a big ole NO so I’ve been hoarding it and dicking around with it for years. LOL

  3. I received my first rejection letter last year when I first decided I was going to seriously sit down and write. It stopped me for a few months and then in the early part of the year I re-subbed that same piece and got a contract.

  4. I received my first rejection in 2009. A form letter, which really didn’t help me understand why they didn’t want my baby…and yes, it was from Harlequin. Roll forward three years, I now have two requested partials with Harlequin and have just entered another contest with them. My day is coming. 🙂

  5. My first rejection for a short story made me feel like the first victim in a slasher film. My friends told me that I’d have to toughen up if I was going to really do this writing thing. I’m not there yet, but I keep going anyway.

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