Today I am pleased to host fellow Astraea Press author Sherry Gloag. Sherry writes not only for Astraea Press, but at least two other publishers. She is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England. She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel. While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.
Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office. She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.
Sherry has been a guest here in the past, but today she's talking an experience with her first published book, The Brat.
Thank you for inviting me to join you on your blog today, Patty.
Today I’m going to talk about a part of an author’s life that readers never see, and rarely hear about, and that is rejection.
Since the advent of digital publishing there are more authors chasing for a place on the various publishers’ lists; so, exponentially, there’s more chance of being rejected—or is there?
When I wrote my second novel, The Brat, which was the first to be published, I had a specific publisher in mind. While I wrote the story I researched everything I could find about my chosen target. I spent months pouring over their submission requirements. I wrote, edited and edited again, all the while returning to the publisher’s specifications.
After more than a year I sent it off with high hopes. I knew I’d done everything they’d asked for, so, I thought, if they rejected it, it would be because there were other better submissions and not because I’d done anything wrong.
The expected waiting time was several weeks, so I settled down and started another project, but within the week I heard back.
Well, hadn’t I steeled myself for just that?
I pulled out the surprising amount of literature included with the rejection and the included letter. Yes I got a letter. One that was to the point, didn’t pull any punches, and utterly devastated me.
It seemed my ‘perfect’ manuscript didn’t have a single attribute going for it.
Boy, did that hurt!
With my confidence completely shattered, I set my writing to one side for several months while I see-sawed from hurt to anger and back again. And then a new ingredient entered the fray.
I re-wrote, tweaked, shuffled my plotline, kept to my writing style and sent it off to an American digital publisher. It came back.
It came back with praise, recommendations and several suggestions all of which I took on board. I resubmitted it to a different line of that same publisher and met Cindy Davis.
Her first question to me was, ‘Tell me why I should accept your manuscript?’
“Because,” I said, “I believe in my characters and if you don’t take it I’ll keep submitting it until someone else does.”
Bless her little cotton socks, she took it, and me, on. At the same time telling me straight that she expected me to knuckle down and deal with all the changes and recommendations she asked for.
As a raw recruit into the world of book publishing I couldn’t have asked for a better editor. She was, and is awesome. (And believe me, since then, I have worked with several equally awesome editors.)
The Wild Rose Press published The Brat in October 2010. Since then I’ve had six more books published, three of them by Astraea Press.
So you see, sometimes what appears to be a very hurtful and gut-wrenching rejection can lay the foundation for a wonderful acceptance which includes meeting and working with some awesome and wonderful people.
To anyone reading this and starting out on their writing career, or wondering when or where their first acceptance is going to come from, I urge you to persevere.
Be open to advice and to re-working your beloved manuscript if asked. Don’t let rejection(s) get you down. Use them as stepping stones to your first/next acceptance.
On looking back, I can only thank that first publisher for rejecting me. My writing style didn’t suit their requirements, even though I thought I’d got it right. But that rejection laid the foundation to a future that opened up for me and led me to a community of wonderful, big-hearted and supportive people who have become my friends.