I don’t take rejection well, but you’d think I’d be used to it by now.
I am pissed off that my manuscript didn’t win the contest I entered. I’ve been moping for the week I’ve known. Seems like I’ve been working on this manuscript forever, and entering it in contests almost as long. As in most contests I enter, I scored really high, but the numbers were just under the cut-off point for finals. It’s not a bad manuscript, just not good enough.
I originally wrote the manuscript for a romance series that seemed to buy everything other members of my RWA chapter submitted. Authors reported getting acceptance in just a couple of weeks. I read a few of these books – not ones written by our authors – and proclaimed like countless would-be authors before me that I could write better. I wrote, submitted to the publisher and sat back and waited for my call a few weeks later. And waited. More than four months after the editor agreed to read my manuscript, she sent me a rejection letter with her typos corrected with blue pencil.
Meanwhile, I entered more contests, and each rejection gave me suggestions for improvement. One judge advised me on a plot point that made the ending stronger. A few judges thought the beginning was too long, so I cut it. Then others thought it was too abrupt, so I reworked it. After all this polishing, I was ready to send it off again. I scored an editor’s appointment that I’d forgotten I’d applied for at a convention and she asked to see the full manuscript. I was on my way.
I sent the manuscript to the editor, who passed it to an editorial assistant, which is normal. However, the line changed its focus and my manuscript was no longer right for that one, so the EA sent it to another one. Then the EA left, that line changed and it was submitted to yet another line. This occurred over the course of two years, which is a couple of epochs in publishing. Finally, after all that time and several letters to my EA du jour, I received a personal rejection letter.
With this manuscript, I feel like the guy who only meets women who want to be his friends.
So now what?
With this final contest rejection, I think I’ll focus on another manuscript. I’ve got tons of ’em, just waiting to be finished. I’m not ready to self-publish yet, so I’ll set this one aside for a while. But the judges did have some really helpful suggestions. Maybe I’ll try one more time …