Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

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Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby taylormillgirl » 21 Jan 2010, 10:06

I'm in the painful revision stage. You know, the part of the process when writing morphs from fun and games into really, really hard work.

Sometimes a little cartoon devil sits on my shoulder and tells me I'm wasting my time; the chances of publishing this novel are infinitesimal. While I understand the importance of revising, etc. in order to strengthen my writing skills, I CAN NOT bear the thought of shoving this book into a drawer when it's polished and done. I'm not resigning myself to failure/rejection before the query process even begins, but it would be nice to have a little back up plan to keep me motivated.

Perhaps if I can't publish this novel via traditional means, I'll upload it to a self-pub site, then post the first 10 chapters online so readers can try before they buy. Or hell, maybe I'll just post the whole thing online for free. Who knows. Making big bucks isn't the goal, but rather to share what I've worked so hard to create.

Do you have a contingency plan? Or are you okay with drawer-ing your manuscript if it's rejected?
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby marilyn peake » 21 Jan 2010, 23:18

My first three novels weren't written well enough for me to want to have them published at this point in time. Two of those are permanent drawer novels; the third I might be able to revise.

My next three novels were published by a small indie publishing house, which I found to be a great backup plan for not knowing how to find an agent at the time. Before the first two of those novels were picked up by the indie press, I had them self-published – an earlier backup plan of mine.

Right now, I’m consulting an Editor while revising my latest novel. When I’m done revising, I’ll be submitting the manuscript to agents.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby casnow » 22 Jan 2010, 00:20

I think it depends... I look at my second novel attempt, which has now been through two rounds of modest editing, and I know it is missing something. Fortunately, I've now realized what it is missing: Tension! The stakes in it aren't just high enough. The book was about two youngish (late 20's) guys that have some legal problems, and struggle with the idea of running vs. fighting. However, I've got a plan to fix it. I like the gist of the plot, I like parts of the backstory, etc. So, I'm going to make a very strong, long, and detailed out line of the story. I'm going to outline more than I ever have before. I'm going to spend a month or two developing the outline. Then I'm going to write it without looking at the original. Then I'm going to scrub it over and start sending out queries (again). The question to me is will this even be the same novel in my mind. The changes i'm thinking of will change it so much it won't even look remotely similar.
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby JustineDell » 23 Jan 2010, 09:10

Why yes...yes I do!

Keep writing. I decided long ago that I wouldn't let rejections hamper my dream of writing. Just because someone doesn't like your 1st novel doesn't mean they won't like your 2nd or 3rd. I'm still pretty optimistic about the whole thing and I don't let rejections get me down. It's try...try again. So what if Nathan didn't like my womens' fiction (no offense...I haven't actually queried you), but maybe Janet Reid will? You never know until you try. Sure - you may end up with piles and piles of rejection letters (let's hope not though) but the fact of the matter is you need to remember why you started writing. Let's hope it's not because you wanted lots of money in the bank...because that's just not a good game plan. Me? I write because I love too. I write because I have a powerful story to tell. I write because it's the only way to get these darns ideas out of my head! Seriously though, even if I never get published, I will never stop writing. EVER. I may have bookshelf full of ms's on my bookshelf when I die, but you know what? I can say..."Yeah - I wrote those."

Why does that make me feel special you ask? Because there are a slew of people out there who want to write and never finish their first story. I know I'm already further ahead of them which makes me special in my own right and each book I finish makes me better than the last.

Vanity publishing is not my thing - you will never see me paying to have my book published. I will work hard at my regular job, work hard at being a mother, and work hard at being the best writer I can be. All while chasing my dreams of hopefully one day seeing my name on the cover because I have a good story to tell. I will wait for the day when an editor or agent say "YES!" I will publish this because then and only then will I feel legit.

Best of luck to you all in pursuit of your dreams!

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby taylormillgirl » 23 Jan 2010, 09:20

Great attitude! But I'm curious- if none of your manuscripts sell, you'll just leave them on the bookshelf? Nobody will ever read your work?

And understand there is a world of difference between vanity publishing, cost-free self publishing, and posting your content online for readers to enjoy free of charge (say, via Livejournal).
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby JustineDell » 23 Jan 2010, 10:06

Well, people will eventually read my work - that I am sure of. Currently, I could count my 16 critique partners (yeah, I know that's a lot - but it gives a lot of different perspectives too) and it satisfies me to know that they have a positive attitude about everything and have thus far loved what I have showed them. Sure, I want to be published and have long term career as a writer and I'm sure I will get discouraged if it takes too long or never happens. But I have faith that it won't.

However, with that being said - Yes, would be upset if I couldn't share my work with the masses. That's one of the reason I write, after all - to tell a story that will take people through an emotional and fullfilling journey. But could I continue to write in 10 years if I was still unpublished? I don't know - ask me then. I've only been trucking this path for less than a year so like I said before, I'm still pretty optimistic. May view may very well change, but I doubt it. I love to read, I love to write and I don't think anything will change that.

Self-pub and vanity press are equal in my mind. The way that I look at it is this, if an editor or agent doesn't feel your story is good enough to publish, then it shouldn't be published. I have yet to hear of a vanity published book or a self-published book that has went on to be a best-seller with movie writes and all that biz. Correct me if I am wrong though. It's one of those things that just aren't for me. I have a need to feel as though my book was good enough to be published and only an agent or editor can fill that void for me. Plus, I'm a business graduate and I know that self-pub and vanity press aren't poised to market and sell in the way that a talented author needs them to be. Their business structure relies heavily on making money for themselves - the author who agrees to work with them simply a catalyst in their equation.

As for sharing the story for free. I don't have problem with that. However, it would bother me wondering all the time if someone stole the premise or story as whole (copywrite issues and things of that nature). I'm pretty protective of my work. BUT - I do share the first chapters of my stories on my facebook page and keep people updated on my work via Twitter and my blog. The only place they can find that actual stories though are on facebook. Is that good enough? Maybe not, but I am sharing my writing nonetheless and people (like my target audience) are providing feedback. It's nice and it works for me. I understand that it may not work for everyone, but we each go into this publishing game with our own plan and depending on how we work through that plan - our dreams may very well come a reality one day.

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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby Jaime » 23 Jan 2010, 23:54

JustineDell wrote:Self-pub and vanity press are equal in my mind. The way that I look at it is this, if an editor or agent doesn't feel your story is good enough to publish, then it shouldn't be published. I have yet to hear of a vanity published book or a self-published book that has went on to be a best-seller with movie writes and all that biz. Correct me if I am wrong though. It's one of those things that just aren't for me. I have a need to feel as though my book was good enough to be published and only an agent or editor can fill that void for me.


One name for you: Matthew Reilly.

"He wrote Contest while just 19 and self-published it in 1996, deliberately aiming to have his book noticed by publishers who talent-scout at bookstores. His dedication paid off, and was discovered by Pan Macmillan's then commissioning editor Cate Paterson. His first industry-produced novel, Ice Station, proved so monumentally popular, that it had to be reprinted six times in its first two years."

He was rejected by literary agents and publishers here in Australia, so opted to self-publish. After being 'discovered', and now having sold over four millions copies of his series, I would say that self-publishing certainly isn't an option I would turn my back on. It definitely has the potential to open doors.

Source:
http://www.matthewreilly.com/authorbio.html
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby taylormillgirl » 24 Jan 2010, 08:18

JustineDell wrote:As for sharing the story for free. I don't have problem with that. However, it would bother me wondering all the time if someone stole the premise or story as whole (copywrite issues and things of that nature). I'm pretty protective of my work.


Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but an author's work becomes copyrighted as soon as his/her words are committed to the page. You don't have to formally copyright your novel or have it published in order to avoid intellectual thievery.
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby casnow » 24 Jan 2010, 13:56

One contingency plan of mine, which is if I exhaust my attempts at traditional publishing I will self-publish it electronically to Kindle, Sony E-store, B&N Online, smashwords, etc., and put it out there for free... and it will be free so I can see if I can draw enough people to it to have it grab someone's attention.

There was a recent story in the NY times about authors giving away one novel electronically to draw readers to other novels that they are charging for... they also mentioned that some authors had gotten noticed this way.

Of course, a large part of my contingency plan is to keep writing and keep querying, and see if something sneaks through. Because you never know. You get one under your belt, and maybe those 3 or 4 others you have laying around might get published in rapid succession with a little bit of extra editing. Sure, Steven King got rejected for his first 7 novels or whatever, but I guarantee most of them were published after-the-fact.
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby Vegas Linda Lou » 25 Jan 2010, 12:38

I am already implementing my contingency plan. After querying agents for two years, I decided to self-publish. Some agents gave me a flat-out “no thanks,” some asked for partials or full manuscripts. A few said they thought my manuscript was well written and made them laugh out loud, but felt my story wouldn’t get the attention it deserves in today’s publishing landscape. Whatever. The story was doing nobody any good sitting in my laptop, so I formed my own publishing company, Aging Nymphs Media, and slowly but surely took the steps I needed to take to get my book out.

Last October, Bastard Husband: A Love Story http://tiny.cc/XgIfxbecame a reality. It’s an autobiographical account of my first year alone in Las Vegas after a midlife divorce and how I transitioned from being sad and miserable to trying stand-up comedy for the first time at age 46. Within two months I had already made back my expenses, thanks to a blog http://vegaslindalou.com following I have been developing since July 2008. I had a book launch party/reading here in Vegas and afterward a local comic offered to produce a one-woman show based on my book. I have two preview shows scheduled for this week and it will begin a regular Wednesday through Saturday run at the Alexis Park Resort, just a stone's throw from the Las Vegas Strip.

None of this would be happening if my story remained in my laptop. I'm thrilled to have my book out there. I look at it and think, I did everything*--the front and back cover, the interior design... it's all a reflection of my choices and I love it! And I still own the rights. Of course, I’m still open to the traditional publishing route, but it’s something I no longer pursue since my plate is full right now as I try to get my show off the ground.

It’s smart to have a contingency plan. But in the meantime, keep plugging away, have faith in your project, and if you decide to self-publish, maintain the tenacity to overcome the hurdles. Good luck and I am happy to share my lessons learned--God knows there's been a lot of them!

XOXO

Linda

* I did, however, work with a team of editors--that's one thing you simply cannot do without. Period.
Linda Lou
Author, Bastard Husband: A Love Story
http://www.vegaslindalou.com
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby Vio » 25 Jan 2010, 23:56

I will keep revising and getting feedback on my novel until the point I am convinced that any further alterations will disimprove it. Then I will send out queries and collect a few nice form rejections, just for the heck of it. The end of the story will be trying with an e-publisher. Good thing with today's publishing market is that - while it has never been harder to make money with writing - it has never been easier to get (e-)published. All you need to do is upload your finished work to your website and *poof* you're "published"!

As you can see from the way I phrased this, I do not expect to ever see my work in print. How could I, knowing the numbers and having attended a few years worth of statistics classes? It's what, 0.1% of all completed novels that get bought by a print publishing house? Thing is, I don't believe that only one in a thousand writers is good enough to be print-published, I think a lot more of us are producing publishable quality. My personal guess would be that a good 25% of us write quality that's virtually indistinguishable from the average published novel. Being (not) print-published is not only a matter of working hard enough and honing your skills, it's a simple matter of insufficient demand and waaaaaaay too much supply.
In the way I view it, the difference between the 0.1% and the 25% is sheer luck (say, Nathan standing up, sipping a coffee and thinking "You know, I would really love to find something about Vampires in the slush pile today, I haven't seen any Vampire story in ages" - and then the next ms he's pulling out of the pile being your brand new Vampire romance). For the rest of us, there are the e-publishers. The consolation is that this way our work won't necessarily get read by less people than a paper-based shelf-warmer collecting dust in a few bookstores. *shrug*
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby jmcooper » 26 Jan 2010, 18:48

My Plan: Dark chocolate
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby casnow » 27 Jan 2010, 07:56

A lot of people are saying, "I'm going to self e-pub my novel" as their contingency plan. On another thread I made a similar comment, which I'm going to make here. if you plan on continuing writing, don't do it!

Why not?

First you might put out a book that is premature, and your name will be attached to it forever, even if you don't want it to be. Second, if you get published, all those novels that are sitting on your desk that you have written, but haven't gotten published yet might all be things that people will now pay for simply because you have become a known quantity and can get people's attentions.

Treat your unpublished works like commodities - hold them until you are either giving up and getting out forever or until you can cash them in for profit.
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby tameson » 27 Jan 2010, 13:42

casnow- When I started writing, it was just for fun and I thought hey, if it doesn't work out, I'll just self pub and get my friends to buy. The problem is, as I have thrown myself into writing, now, I want to do this for real (I have written stories since I was a child, even took a college course in it, but it was always just for myself). I realize this is the only job I would do for love and I want to try to make it. Right now, I don't need an income so this is a great time. And the more serious I am taking my writing, the more I love my story, the more I want to publish through a publishing house. And the more I think, even if this book is not the one, maybe the next one will be. And while demand for me is hot, wouldn't it be great to say, well, I have this one all ready to go?
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Postby Vio » 28 Jan 2010, 10:46

casnow - As one of the posters with an e-publishing "backup-plan" (in case you even want to call it a backup plan in my case), I can assure you that I absolutely plan on continue writing. I love it way too much to ever give up on it. I also totally can see your point when you say with e-publishing there is a considerable danger of publishing a premature work and having it forever cling to you. I really wish there would be a at least some sort of quality assurance for e-publishing that would prevent the most blatant junk from being added to their libraries. It would be better for both the readers and the writers that way, but of course someone would need to pay for the QA, since editors, unlike most writers, don't work for free. But who knows what the future in this business will bring. I wouldn't be overly surprised to see premium e-publishing houses one day, with quality standards just as high as any print house, the only difference being that unlike print, they'd be able to add any decent enough writer to their library. Digital books don't require shelf space after all.

As I can see it, the vast majority of writers currently have two choices. The first is continuing to hope finding a publisher one day, keep writing novel after novel after novel, and stacking up rejections while our work is collecting dust in the drawer forever. But as I pointed out in my above post - to me that's like hoping to win the lottery one day. Sure, there are people winning the lottery every week. But it's always someone else. It's not that you can just work harder and know you will get published one day. The vast majority of good-enough-to-be-published writers will never be published, and that's the sad truth.
The second is giving our writing away for free or try with an e-publisher and maaaaaybe sell at least a few dozen copies and have at least the satisfaction that a few people out in the world are reading what we spend so much time creating.

I would love to be published as much as anyone, and I am sure as heck going to try, but math and my common sense tell me that it just is not going to happen. And since I am lucky enough not to absolutely have to make money with my writing, I can at least consider the second option.
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