Monday, March 5, 2012

Ready or Not

At the Highlights workshop, Stephen Roxburgh said most manuscripts are rejected because they were submitted before they were ready for publication. That’s a hopeful idea. It means the chasm between rejection and acceptance can be traversed with good ideas and hard work.

Recently I was rejected from a community education photography class. At the first session, we all described our photographic equipment. I had the least expensive gear (by far) and was asked to transfer to the beginning class. In fairness to the instructor, the class, despite its misleading catalog description, is about how to use fancy equipment. I’m not ready to spend the time and money to acquire multiple lenses, external flash units, photo manipulation software etc. Perhaps I never will be.

One of my trunk novels has received four or five glowing rejections. Agents praised the writing, then turned it down because they weren’t “connecting with the manuscript.” Perhaps someday, I’ll figure out how to fix that problem, and the rejections will turn into  acceptances.

Rejection still feels terrible, but maybe it can be conquered by being ready.


Kristin Lenz said...

I'm still trying to be ready. We're getting closer!

Wyman Stewart said...

I once read one of the world's most renown photographers still used an old black & white camera he got out of a cereal box as a kid, which started him on the road to a career in photography. Said it was as good or better than his expensive cameras for some shots.

Now, as for those agents who couldn't connect with your manuscript, maybe they need to read it a second time. Experts though they are, some books you have to read a second time to connect with. I've read a few fine books like that, which until I picked it up a second time, a few years later, couldn't connect with the book.

Makes me wonder how many books fail to get published because of this, which might be better than the ones that do get published. Oh well, the writer has no control over this. Don't give up on those manuscripts in the trunk. Probably a couple of really special ones in there. (Just a thought.)

Ann Finkelstein said...

Kristin and Wyman: Thanks for the encouragement. We will persevere together.