Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

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Vio
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by Vio » January 26th, 2010, 1:56 am

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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jmcooper
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by jmcooper » January 26th, 2010, 8:48 pm

My Plan: Dark chocolate

casnow
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by casnow » January 27th, 2010, 9:56 am

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.

tameson
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by tameson » January 27th, 2010, 3:42 pm

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?

Vio
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by Vio » January 28th, 2010, 12:46 pm

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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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by tameson » January 28th, 2010, 2:12 pm

http://www.annemini.com/?p=8393

Author!Author! has been doing a series on publishing and this article looks at smaller publishing houses. Supposedly tomorrow we'll be getting self pubbing, so that should be interesting.

Here is link to self pubbing article. It makes a good point over control of things like cover, which have been discussed recently in the mainstream publishing world with the whole Bloomsburg controversy.

http://www.annemini.com/?p=8391

lexcade
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by lexcade » January 31st, 2010, 5:27 pm

whiskey.

then more writing.

then possibly more whiskey, depending.

and more writing. the people in my head won't shut up.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

SarahEMC2
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by SarahEMC2 » February 5th, 2010, 6:40 pm

My contingency plan: short form.

I've had good luck placing short stories and essays in some pretty good journals, places where I'm proud that my work has appeared. It pays nothing or--if I'm really lucky--next to nothing, but that's okay for now. And, frankly, there is a great feeling to having a piece published and, therefore, off my computer and out of my list of things to revise. I never feel like anything is really *done* until it's out of my hands and on the page, and the feeling of completion is the real pay off.

Elizabeth Poole
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by Elizabeth Poole » February 6th, 2010, 12:12 pm

Interesting post.

I don’t have a backup plan. I never considered the idea that I might not get published.

I am sure that sounds naïve, and I don’t mean that I am free of self-doubt and discouragement (I have more than my share if you ask me), but it’s never occurred to me that I won’t someday, even if it’s years from now, get published.

I have read many books, blogs, and forums about writing. I have been writing my entire life, and have plenty of “trunk” novels, either half finished or discarded. So I know how it goes. I know the odds, like Vio stated in his previous post. Nathan made an excellent observation in his hilarious post, “It’s Not You, It’s the Odds (And the Resonance Factor)”: Here's an analogy sure to brighten the mood of the unpublished: writing a book is kind of like spending a year creating a lottery ticket. Sunny days, people! Sunny days!”

So it’s not that I have ignored the odds. It’s not that I think I am the next INSERT GENIUS AUTHOR NAME HERE, but I know, deep down inside myself (and depending on the writing that day, sometimes it’s WAAAAAAY down in there) that writing is what I am meant to do. I love writing; I have always wanted to be an author. I have been writing since I knew how. I tell stories out loud, I was nick-named “Babbles” by my family. They knew better than to interrupt a story of mine when I was little, even if it was about my trip to the mailbox, because if they did, I would start over from the beginning. I wrote books when I was in grade school before being published was ever a thought, and I will continue to write even if I get ten thousand rejections. I just have this unshakable core belief that I will someday get published. I always have, just as I have always wanted to write.

I would like to propose something. Pretend that you ARE going to get published. Lie to yourself, imagine interviews on Letterman, bribe yourself with a vacation when you get that publishing contract, whatever you have to do to make yourself believe, deep inside, that you WILL be a published author someday. Have an unshakable belief in yourself. KNOW that you will make it, someday.

Let this optimism be your rock, your courage. We all have it. It took courage to write a novel, however terrible and dull your first attempts may have been (mine were dreadful). It took courage to edit that book until your eyeballs bled, and you wanted to chuck the book out the window. It takes courage to query an agent (and borderline arrogance to say to an agent, “Hey, Nathan, so I’ve been working on this thing for X number of years, and I thought you’d like it”).

The way I see it, you have enough negativity out there waiting to steal your confidence. There’s all sorts of obstacles, both great and small: unsupportive family members and coworkers, unfulfilling job, your own worries and self doubts, aptly called the “Am I crazies?” on Nathan’s blog. Why join the ranks? Why be the first one to throw in the towel? Why not pretend (you’re good at that if you’re a writer) that you’re going to get published, even if the odds are against you?

I believe that if you want it bad enough, if you spend your free time working on novels, learning the craft, teaching yourself about the industry by reading forums like these, eventually that hard work and stubbornness will pay off.

Just as the odds are against you in getting published, so are they with you if you apply yourself to writing for years. If you really spend years honing your skill writing, rewriting, reading, and learning, you will naturally become a better writer, and someone is bound to notice after all that time and hard work.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be realistic about the odds, or that those who chose to self publish are taking the easy way out, or you shouldn’t have a plan B. Ultimately you need to do what you are comfortable with. Some people need to have a back up plan, and a back up plan for that back up plan (normally I am one of those types of people, but my writing plan has always included “get published”). I understand the need to have a Plan, in case Things Go Awry.

And if you are starting to hate your novel, the process, yourself, because of frustration and rejection, maybe you at least need a break. But I believe that if you work hard, and apply yourself, the odds will turn in your favor. Again, not a guarantee, but you’re already better off than a lot of other writers.

While getting published would be nice, I also think you should ask yourself why bother? Why bother when you could be doing so many other things with your spare time? If your answer is anything resembling “Because I love to write” than you’ll probably keep writing even if you never get published. Publishing is a nice goal to strive for, but I am also trying to be happy with each part of the process. Right now I am in the unpublished part of the writing process, and it’s pretty fun. Try to be happy with each stage of writing, and you might feel less panic when you think about publishing and the long odds thereof.

So I guess my rejection contingency plan is to keep trying until I get published.
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Mimi Hawthorne
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by Mimi Hawthorne » February 7th, 2010, 4:52 pm

Interesting question. I look at it this way. My sister paints watercolors and doesn't worry about having an art show. My brother plays the banjo and doesn't worry about being a country music star. I write and don't worry about the Pulitzer. I write because I have stories I want to tell. I can't NOT write. For all three of us, it is art for the love of it. It enriches our lives, unclutters our heads, soothes our hearts.

So I embrace the writing and know success will come, though it may not be the kind of success one might expect. Because if I looked at the odds of the kind of rejection you're talking about, I would just cry. Better to focus on the art. Focus on the story. Focus on the journey.

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taylormillgirl
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by taylormillgirl » February 7th, 2010, 5:04 pm

Mimi Hawthorne wrote:Interesting question. I look at it this way. My sister paints watercolors and doesn't worry about having an art show. My brother plays the banjo and doesn't worry about being a country music star. I write and don't worry about the Pulitzer. I write because I have stories I want to tell. I can't NOT write. For all three of us, it is art for the love of it. It enriches our lives, unclutters our heads, soothes our hearts.

So I embrace the writing and know success will come, though it may not be the kind of success one might expect. Because if I looked at the odds of the kind of rejection you're talking about, I would just cry. Better to focus on the art. Focus on the story. Focus on the journey.
I'm glad you mentioned art and music. When your sister finishes a watercolor, she probably likes to show it to others or display it in her home. I imagine your brother enjoys playing the banjo alongside other musicians. As a writer, I think it's natural for us to want to share what we've worked so hard to create. For me, keeping this manuscript in a drawer would be like a sculptor wrapping his creation in a hefty bag and hiding it in the basement. That's why I intend to put my work out there regardless of whether or not it sells.
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

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JustineDell
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by JustineDell » February 7th, 2010, 9:20 pm

Jaime wrote:
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

Good point, but this doesn't happen everyday and someone doesn't need to go into self-pub thinking this is going to happen to them. It's a long shot to say the least. Elvis Presley got laughed at in Nashville, but finally found the one person who liked his music. That's what authors need to do - find that one person. Sure, it takes time and there are tons of people who never find that one person, but maybe that's the way it was supposed to be. Self-pub is not good in my book. Never was, never will be.

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?

Post by Nick » February 8th, 2010, 9:22 pm

Plan A: Keep writing and keep submitting.

And that's it actually. Even if I'm always rejected every time, I'm not going to stop writing. Storytelling may as well be the only piece of my DNA. But that's about it I suppose. Maybe do some self e-publishing or something. I guess we'll see if/when the time comes.
JustineDell wrote: 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.
Eragon: Originally published by Paolini's parents' small company. Eventually caught the eye of a journalist who convinced a major publisher to print it. Went on to sell loads of copies. Spawned a crappy movie and several high-earning continuation novels. From what I can tell the man is living comfortably using only money earned from his books. It definitely does happen...it's just in very, very rare cases that it does. But oh how wonderful it must be to be that rare case.

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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by namrata » February 10th, 2010, 6:28 am

I’ll never give up even if I get tons of rejections. Because I believe one day or other my novel is going to get published. And I just have to wait upto the correct time for it. I happen to live in India, which has a history of a Bengali novella ‘Debdas’, written in 1901 and published in 1917. And still today it’s a blockbuster. Thanks to the author, Sharat Chandra Chatterji for keeping it safe for sixteen years till it gets published.

There’s really no harm in keeping it in the drawer. Maybe in the future someone will discover it, and publish it as a relic.

matildamcc
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Re: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?

Post by matildamcc » February 10th, 2010, 2:26 pm

My rejection contingency plan is usually to start a new novel. Once I start writing the new novel, I'm surprised how much better it is than the one I just put in the drawer. If I feel in my gut I've really given the ms a fighting chance (queried 70-100 agents, had beta readers critique it etc etc) and it's been rejected, then I usually think about starting a new project. I have noticed that for each new project, I have received more positive feedback, ie I rec'd requests for fulls on my last project, which I hadn't for previous mss.

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