Monday, 17 August 2009

Novel Rejection

You may remember from a few posts ago that I was waiting to hear back from two independent publishers who had requested the full manuscript of my novel.
Months and months later I have finally heard back from one of them (we'll call them Turtle Publishers to protect the innocent).

Unfortunately we don't feel that we can publish the book. Your opening chapter was great and your writing style was fine. However, we felt disappointed with the story... The ideas that you talk about having in the book are great - mental health, issues over the pursuit of money, dystopian society., however, we felt that they didn't come over as well as they might have done.


So what's worse? When you are rejected before they have even read the novel, or when they've carefully read every page? I am beginning to think the latter.

I am also starting to think that dear old Maynard Hill may very well need re-drafting if I am to continue subbing it. I don't think it is hopeless, but I'm obviously not hitting the spot.

But, painful as it is to share rejection letters with you, chin up and keep going.

My plan?
1) The short stories and poetry seem to be doing well (I have another three acceptances in the pipeline, stay tuned for links) so I think it would be sensible to build up my portfolio with these. And I enjoy doing them so much.

2) There's no point in doing anything to Maynard Hill until I have heard back from the other interested publishers.

3) I have an idea for a new book, which I will begin researching.

4) By the time the New Book is written (how long is a piece of string?) I should have a decent publishing record that will surely dazzle agents and publishers alike (I do hear that these two groups are particularly easy to impress, as I'm sure all budding novelists will testify).

5a) A top agent will be amazed by my versitility, adore my book and get me a publishing deal worth megabucks. I will move to my own island where I will finish the Maynard Hill trilogy in between feeding the monkeys from my own mango tree.

5b) Alternatively, a tiny independent publishing house will finally take me on and my collection of short stories will win a well-respected prize worth £50. My novel will sell over ten copies and have an excellently-designed cover that will look very nice on my bookcase.

Time to boil the kettle for a cup of tea and get that nose back to the grindstone.


Sarah Hilary said...

Jen, my heartfelt and empathetic commiserations re the rejections. I agree that it's far worse when they've a) had the ms so long and b) read every word. But your post was such a great demonstration of your stoicism - I think that means you're going to make it. You didn't waste time whining about how wrong the publishers were, or making excuses or accusations. You immediately listed all the positives you have going for you (and there are many). You made a plan that contained a big pinch of humility and some essential self-deprecating humour. You're exactly the kind of writer who sticks at it and Gets There. Chin up, and battle on.

Jenzarina said...

Cheers, Sarah.
And I keep telling myself it's better than working as a mortgage underwriter, which I have done in my time!!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer - I found your blog through a comment you left on the Backhand Stories site and I am so glad I did. I loved your poem chess and your writing about slang and . . . I so wish you had gotten that megabucks book deal. I wish you all the luck in the world with the grindstone! You have a great writing style -

JohnA said...


You have the most amazing positive attitude! Something I wish I could emulate (is that how you spell it?)

I've just had my crime novel Spiral rejected on the strength of reading a two page synopsis - they wouldn't even read any of the chapters!!

So good for you - keep positive, you'll get there! (I'm some way down the path behind you!)



Jenzarina said...

Thanks, Koe and John!
It's nice to know I'm not alone in the universe!
John - I keep all my rejection letters. I may make an origami zoo/farmyard out of them when I am procrastinating one day.

j x

Will said...

As a lolcat might say: keep teh faith

Jenzarina said...

Will, lolcats are indeed wise.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great rejection letter, very encouraging. You are on the right track with your novel apparently. It's just a matter of time I guess, for you to get it published.