Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Need to Know

What is it about my writing that makes people not want to either represent me or publish me? I've just gotten rejected by two agents and and a publisher for The Beauty Within and Trust Fall respectively. I'm very confused. I know I write IR, which already makes folks nervous, but other than that, I'm genuinely at a loss. Are my stories not fluffy enough? But then there's AJ's Serendipity, and the reviews on Amazon haven't been as positive as they were for Being Plumville, which I'm okay with, but I'm baffled nonetheless. I don't know even if I DID know what was wrong if anything about my writing will change, mainly because I write what the characters tell me to write lol. However, I know publishing is a business, and I would like to bet published on someone else's coin, so I need to know exactly what that golden market is in the eyes of agents/publishers. I'll have to say, I'm further confused because the majority of the people who have read my books are, gratefully, appreciative of my work and want to know when the next book is coming out *waves at the Emma Award nomination*! It's hard to tell them that I don't know, and harder still to explain I really have no control over the matter. The audience I have loves my stuff; the gatekeepers of the industry are (mostly) polite when they close the gates in my face. And then there are those other authors who are published, and I think that I, at the very least, have the same amount of talent as they do. That's the one bad thing about rejections other than the rejection itself--oftentimes it doesn't tell you why--just that it's not fit for publication/representation. That does not help me get better or tweak my product so that it will be. And when someone asks you for the full manuscript and then tells you thanks but no thanks is just really, really hard.

At some point, you just really, really want an answer to go your way. And yes, I'm speaking more than just publishing right now. It's just been an '08 full of "No" both personally and professionally. In my case, writing is both personal and professional, and I'm sure it's like that for other authors as well. But for me, I started writing to deal with some things, and I'm still dealing, but to have my writing rejected and me myself rejected, it's like a double-whammy and I'm still trying to learn how to make sure I bounce back up from each slap down, even if it takes longer to do so. I just need to make sure I get up. And now poor Vietnam Story is starting to languish because I'm not getting up fast enough, and the readers who are kind enough to stick with me on the google group--I could call them out by name lol--I appreciate the patience. It really only takes one really nice e-mail to keep you above the waterline sometimes.

The scary thing is, I have no idea what else I can do. I know this is a hard industry, and very few people make it, but I know of nothing else I can do. Well, editing, but that doesn't fill me with the same drive and passion as writing. I wake up and I think about it, and I go to bed and I think about it. I proofread and I see stories in some of the projects I proof *looks at Vietnam Story* and my office is full of former publishers, screenwriters, nonfiction writers, etc. It's an amazing place, but if I could be at home writing and getting paid for it, that would be fantastic.

This is a dump of a post, I know. I'm trying not to slip into that space of no writing, and it's hard, so I guess it's better to get it out here instead of to let it fester. I know I'm a good writer. I just wish I knew how to convince other people I am, too! lol


Cyn said...

First off let me just make it clear that you are a VERY talented author. I love your work -- it's well thought out, the characters are developed and I could go on forever. The publishers who have passed on your talent will just have to chalk it up as a missed opportunity, while your basking in your fame and glory. Because you are that good, and I KNOW it'll happen for you if you keep pushing through. I'm a small business owner and I know the doubt, and self-projection that happens when someone tells you no, but I also know that persistance is the key. All of us fans, love you. You are seriously my personal favorite author -- so much so that I came looking for your website and blog to see if anything was wrong since Vietnam Story hasn't been updated in a couple weeks, and something just felt off to me. Just remember to keep your head up and keep on keeping on. I wish I could give you some inspiration on how to shield yourself from the rejections, but there's no magic key and I'm still trying to work through that myself.. Just know that you may get 100 rejections, but it won't matter once you get the Yes on 101. And know that if you choose to blaze your own trail, we'll all be right there with you.

Chin up,

Bana said...

"Fans" . . . heh; I'm still not used to the term. I'm very humbled and appreciative, though. And I'm glad you've been reading Vietnam Story, too. I'll have to admit I've hit a bit of a roadblock with that story, but hopefully I'll break through it soon. Again, I appreciate folks reading it and supporting me and having patience with me as I try to get up from this latest knockdown. (Un)Fortunately, writing is the only thing I feel I can do, so at the worst, I'll have all these manuscripts no one but me will read! lol, There is self-publishing, but it's so expensive. Hopefully more e-pubs will start having books stocked in bookstores, because that is my goal--to go into Borders or Barnes and Noble and see my work there.

But again, thank you SO much for your encouragement. We all go through those periods, but like I said, sometimes you just need a reminder from someone outside yourself to help you keep going.


teese said...

I agree with Cyn, your work is great. You have always impressed me with your book subjects. I would like to thank you for having the desire to express your ideas on paper for all of us. Keep your head up and remember we fall down, but we get back up. I'll purchase self-pub, epub or any other source you decide.Most importantly don't give up on YOU! When you give up we all lose.
Take Care..........

Bana said...

Aw, thank you very much! I can't give up on me, you're absolutely right. And I'm glad you're willing to stick with me, too! It really, really means a lot.


Patricia W. said...

"Found" you by way of the SORMAG blog, which featured Being Plumville. I haven't read the entire excerpt yet and I'm unfamiliar with your other works, but I love the questions you pose on your blog.

As far as your work not being accepted within the industry, it's a tough nut to crack, I'm told. You're light years ahead of me in the sense that you've taken the bull by the horns, and self-published your work. I would only ask whether you have trusted readers/critique partners who give you feedback prior to submission/publishing? If not, you might want to consider this. That's not to say there's anything wrong with your writing but critique partners may help you see ways to enhance your writing that might help you to sell it.

Bana said...

Hello, Patricia, and welcome to my blog!

I actually do have critique partners and I'm on different networks and Internet groups to help situate me in the best possible way. And I have people who read paragraphs/excerpts/drafts so I know what's working and what's not. I do the same and I also edit/proof other authors' works. I have to say the people I've surrounded myself with are fantastic people, and I admire them greatly. I believe in their work and they believe in mine, so whenever we get disappointing news, we go to each other (or to my blog, as you see here!), rant/vent/purge, and then get back up on that saddle (even if it takes a bit longer sometimes than others). I thank you very much for your advice! It is very appreciated.