Thursday, April 9, 2009

is there such a thing as a postive rejection?

I think so. But the moment I saw my first name misspelled on the front of the package, I knew there was no good news inside.

I'll not give names, but I recently had the opportunity to get my novel into the hands of an executive editor at a major publishing company. It was one of those opportunities that I didn't necessarily seek out, but the brass ring sort of appeared in the situation.

Of course, I was hoping to announce on this blog that I just signed a six-figure book deal with said publisher. I imagined it every day since sending the book, did my best to align my energies and intentions, etc.

But interestingly, the last couple of days, my intuition was telling me that maybe it wasn't going to go my way. And then this afternoon, I found a slip in my mailbox informing me that a package awaited me in the main office of my apartment complex. As I walked the quarter mile (actually, it may be closer to a half), I imagined what awaited me: perhaps it was a book from an author friend of mine? Maybe an Easter gift from someone? And then, interestingly enough, my inner voice spoke clear as day: it's the publishing company -- they're returning your book w/ a rejection letter.

How that came to me, I have no idea. But, sure enough, after I signed for the package and saw the logo on the label, w/ my first name blatently misspelled (as I mentioned above), I didn't wait until I was back to my apartment to open it, but rather multi-tasked in the form of walking and opening the thick envelope, where a letter was attached to my novel.

The editor praised me as "a very good writer, with nice energy and good pacing," and credited me with creating "a couple of very endearing characters in Andi and Devin."
Wow. Nice.

But of course, what followed was the opinion that despite this, the novel lacked "a bit more complexity" that other titles in this publisher's list contained. And, of course, the editor recommended I show it to agents who might be able to find a better fit.

Of course, my first reaction was, "But you haven't read Ordinary World! That's where the complexity is. That's when the characters really start to dig deep." And yet, I don't think this editor's assessment is false by any means. In fact, I think he's pretty much on the money. And it's not that he's saying that my novel lacks any complexity or depth whatsoever. Just not "more."

I have to say that I take rejection from editors and agents much better than I do from dates. And yet, that being said, of course I am disappointed. The convertible Volkswagon Beetle I was going to buy with my advance money is going to have to wait. All kidding aside, however, a rejection is still a rejection. But I was left feeling more resolve than disappointment, for I saw some very good signs:

- I got it on record that an expert in the traditional publishing industry recognizes and acknowledges my talent and that I am a worthy, viable competitor in this market. It's always nice to be validated in this way.
- I can stay on the course of self-publishing and publicity and still get somewhere.
- Maybe I should revisit the agent query.

Turning to this last bullet point for a moment, it got me wondering if I have more leverage now to take the book, and its momentum, to a few select agents and try one more time to get the book into their hands. Or to query both Faking It and Ordinary World at the same time. My position has been that I exhausted my chances w/ FI, and I had never queried OW because it seemed strange to query a sequel when I couldn't get a bite for its predecessor.

But I know more now than I did then. And I'm much more confident. And, as I said, I have a little bit more momentum. I was going to wait until my current manuscript was ready for querying before going the agent route again, but I wonder...

Should I?

Because you never know--maybe that's what this rejection is all about. Maybe it's the key to unlock a different door.

What do you think?

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