Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Personal Rejection

Last week I got my first really personalized rejection letter.  It was wonderful!  To actually have some real feedback on my work from an industry professional is priceless!  Of course, none of it was stuff I wanted to hear, necessarily, but you have to count all victories in this process.

How do you react to feedback?  At first, I was very defensive.  I would think, "well they just aren't reading it right" or "they obviously don't get it."  Slowly I realized, if my beta readers aren't getting it...what makes me think the rest of the world will?  It is so difficult to take constructive criticism when you are starting out.  I've gotten much better about it as my journey has continued.

Now, I crave feedback.  Even if it is stuff I don't want to hear.  Because I want to get better.  I want to learn how to communicate effectively with my readers both young and old.  I want to write something that an illustrator will love to get their hands on and a publisher can't wait to publish.  I want to spark imagination!  And I can't do that unless I learn.  So bring it on, personal rejection!!

13 comments:

  1. I have a similar experience. First I feel defensive, then devastated and I usually quit. Finally I realise I can't not do it and I get up, dust myself down and begin again.

    You have a fab attitude!

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  2. Publishers only send personal comments to those writers they think will eventually 'make it' it is a form of encouragement and a very good sign.

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  3. No still means no. And after you make the changes they say they want they'll probably still tell you no. Just remember that's only one agent's opinion; other agents are bound to feel differently. So before you make any changes, make a backup copy you can revert back to later.

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  4. You've got exactly the right attitude. Congrats on your first personalized rejection! Those actually tell you whether you are on the right path or not, and they are priceless.

    Good luck querying! I know how much that sucks.

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  5. Personal rejections are much better than form letters, although no one really wants to hear them. It hurts to have someone not love your work or get your work as much as you do, but it's so helpful to find honest feedback. I still get a bit defensive about it, but I take a step back and realize most of the time, they're right. I'd rather get page after page of feedback, then "that's great." "That's great" doesn't help me learn and grow as a writer. Feedback is definitely worth getting. :)

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  6. Ooh I like Carole's comment, I hope that's true. The longer it is since my personalised rejection the more excited I am about it. The nice adjectives they used to describe my story I can put right back in another query letter :)
    Straight after Easter is such a nice time to start something new and fresh too, using all the new things we've learned along the way.

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  7. I agree with Carole and Catherine. A nice personal rejection is good news! And I react the same way to criticism - first defensive, then depressed, and then cautious concession that maybe there's some truth in the words and maybe I can take the suggestions and make a better story. Even if the feedback hurts at first, and even if it never ends up working for that particular story, it often ends up helping down the road. Keep up the good work. I can't wait for the day when you announce on your blog that you've sold a ms - it will come :)

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  8. I totally agree - I crave feedback too, and I have had some good experience lately with getting some hurtful critique that has been useful in the long run. :D

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  9. Congratulations! I try to look at it like Edison. It's just one (more) person, place, editor, agent, publisher that wasn't quite the right fit. How many more no's can I get until I find the right one, the magical yes? You know, it's the old "I did not fail to publish my book 999 times, but rather discovered 999 places that did not work." The 1,000th time will work like a charm (or 4th or 5th).

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  10. Wow. It's awesome to have an agent or editor willing to take the time to personalize a rejection. That's good stuff, Megan! :-)

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  11. You are my kind of gal! How can we improve without constructive criticism from impartial people? How wonderful that someone believes enough in your potential to give you some of their time and to offer personal feedback. Fantastic!

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  12. What a great attitude! I feel the same way. We all want, "It's perfect, can I sign you right now?" But in the absence of that, give me something I can use to make my work better.

    Good for you.

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  13. Isn't it great! I mean sure it isn't the best for the soul to get negative feedback, but I have heard so many a published authors say they got the negative rejections too. But when they were personalized like your recent one they just chose to fix and resubmit. I'll bet you are on your way to some good feedback:)

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