I won’t mention the name other than to say I got a rejection letter on July 23 from a respected name in one of the big publishing houses. At first I felt downhearted but minutes later I found strength because I was able to appreciate this person’s candor. This person could have provided a politically correct response but this person showed integrity something lacking among many publishers and agents where what’s popular is that they ignore query letters when the writing seems promising but reply that the writing needs work when the writing is bad.
Many publishers and agents don’t want to be on record to say we found a fault with a good work and they don’t understand that it builds their reputation to tell writers the truth that the publishing business is a not only about talent but it’s equally or more so about—do you have a huge audience that will buy your book?
A few of you might challenge my argument and point out one or two writers who never had a name but they got in the door. Of course that happens. I call it affirmative action in the publishing business. It makes the publishing house and the agent portfolios look good when they allow in one or two but not too many qualified newbies (not unqualified ones; because affirmative action is also largely about letting in qualified people into places that traditionally discriminate against such qualified people). How do you think it would look for these publishers to be only putting out works by big name celebrities while the very works are trying to dissect the sociology of poor classes and excluded peoples?
When many of these publishers and agents go to writers conferences and milk writers of money and then lie to them saying, “Oh it’s all about your talent—all about your writing substance—Remain true to your voice—We are desperately seeking new writers.” All that is talk bullshit—business speak—and most of us know it!
What they need to say is “We are desperately seeking writers with big names who will make us big bucks.” Nobody will be mad at that. These publishers and agents have to eat so we have to understand that. They can’t be loading their bus with only talent—we get it! But how are they going to try and eat out of our mouth by charging us money to come and see them at Writers Conferences and Writing Workshop with their mouth full of deceptions?
In these places, their language is carefully designed to infuse writers with false hope so that writers will keep visiting their websites and buying their latest productions. They manipulate writers’ desperation to cultivate a cult of writers who link the idea of their success and the subject of their writing with the dream that perhaps one day, one them will be the next one they let in on the affirmative action ticket.
And so rejection of Craft A Sun yesterday empowered me, took me out of a state of naiveté, and reminded me that, Yes it’s not all about your writing—it’s equally and more so about the audience you bring. Motivated by the letter, I will now have to push harder to develop a plan to really be not only a writer but a businessman as well.
It’s hard mixing the creative and the business at the same time. The business side dries up my creativity thus affecting the forcefulness and depth of my writing. I believe this explains why many writers put out two good works followed by too much garbage. But where I’m concerned, something indeed has to change.
I’m sharing all this with you guys just to remind you that in the midst of rejections we must be able to locate our power and motivate ourselves. We all have dreams and constantly our memories and confidence serve as constant rejections of those dreams. But as long as we remain alive we must fight those rejections with self-praises and with analytical rejections of the very persons, institutions, and conclusions that rejected us.
This is the letter the publisher was kind to write me yesterday:
“I have reviewed and won’t be able to make you a publishing offer.
You clearly have talent. That is not the issue.
I have a big roster of novelist, many seasoned ones such as ——, ———-, ——, etc. and
A few debut authors for next year. It’s incredibly difficult to keep them viable in the marketplace. I don’t have
the energy and resources to launch any more new fiction writers at this time. The retail market is too challenging.
So, my editorial focus for now are authors with big platforms already. I can only wish you much success elsewhere and encourage you to keep working, learning, researching.
Was great to meet you. Thanks for the reminder to get back to you”