Thursday, September 15, 2005

Night of the Hunter: Rejections

Back when I was sending articles off to magazines and such, I suppose I got rejections.
I must have.
I don't remember them particularly, I must have simply concluded that it wasn't right for them and either checked out another market or tried a new subject.
Fiction is altogether different, time and emotional involvement creating an inevitable subjectivity, judging from the degree of analysis I've been reading. There is much discussion comparing the relative merits of letters that are form, personally addressed, personally signed and many other subtle variations.
While examining pug marks and watching for pit-traps, from what I can see, while rejection letters are the source of much inspection of entrails and boiling of bones, they fall into four basic categories.
1. The revise and re-submit letter.
This is fresh, hot spoor. One should put one's little nose to the ground and follow it, baying and yodeling all the way.
2. Not for us, but do try us again.
Some suggest that this comment is not made lightly or out of a gentle courtesy, as editors and agents are well aware how like racoons writers are. One is allowed to conclude that while they do not want it, you do not suck.
3. Not for us. Period.
This is a cold, cold trail. Try another track. This response covers the ground from "we don't publish X - can't you read?" to "You definitely suck."
4. No answer, regardless of SASE.
Perhaps the most confusing scent of all. It may mean anything: They never got it. You never got it. It's still in a maybe-pile. An accident happened and it went to the shredder. The office cat had an accident. They think you howl at the moon, so FOAD....

And one other thing: there are lots of handy, pocket, hunter's guides out there on how to read sign - one should remember, though, these are not entirely devised in the interest of the public good and to lead the faithful safely through the wilderness, they are written to sell. We are the market - or the meat.


johnjones45549207 said...
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Anonymous said...

Isn't querying a withering process? I've been at it for four months for my novel THE HICKORY BARRENS. It's so painful, I'm actually looking forward to starting to query fresh for my second novel, which is only a half-done first draft!

Bernita said...

I imagine it will be so. Haven't really begun the process. Still figuring out just how the industry will classify mine. One has not always written what one thinks one has written. This, I am told, is not uncommon. Sent it out just once - to the wrong place. Got back a very courteous and considerate #2 type.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

I am still finishing my first novel. I'm not looking forward to querying. hahahaha

Bernita said...

You mentioned you were finishing a Masters, Rhonda. Are you writing a thesis as well? That would be a duo burden, but then, one might provide a relief from the other.

e said...

All you can do is keep on keeping on and all the subs will pay off in the end.

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