Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to Take Rejection

If you take a look at the time stamp on this entry you had better believe what you see. It's 6:50 am and I've been awake for almost two hours -- something I haven't done since I stopped working the morning shift at the coffee shop. The reason for my early morning exuberance is that today I am the person solely in charge of getting the garbage to the curb before 7:00 am so that the recycling guy doesn't go off on my ass. Seriously. 7:30 does not cut it even if you don't try to put out the recycling because you're obviously too late and you just want to leave the garbage. Yelling will occur.

So I managed to wake myself up at 4:45 am because I was so worried about the fricking trash hitting the curb at the right hour. At 5:15 I figured what the hell, I'm awake, and got it over with. Now the sun is just pushing over the trees and it's feeling very morning-like. Kinda nice actually.

On the topic of publication, submissions and rejection I've been editing and shopping around my poetry again. I don't think of myself as a poet but it keeps me moving.

Nannette Croce recently posted this wonderful article where she tells it like it is about rejection slips and what they really mean and which ones should make your heart flutter with joy and which ones tell you you need to move on to a different magazine.

Meanwhile I got a throwaway little red slip from the Mid-American Review (print). MAR was smart and took a page out of credit card companies books and in my SASE they sent not only my rejection slip but a plug for subscribing to the magazine, a plug for their upcoming conference/workshop, and a plug for something else which I cannot recall. Pretty damn smart way of both targeting your audience and getting someone else to pay for postage! I am in awe of their cunning!

Then there's Dennis Cass, who likes to drop his suggestions for your life and your public persona as a writer. I guess that's okay since he only "wants you to be more awesome." His take is that writers should not blog about rejection if they want to be more awesome because it's completely negative. Additionally, when blogging about rejection (particularly rejection of book length manuscripts) many writers get snitty and mean about the agents/editors sending the form letters. Actually there's an entire site (an entirely ludicrous site) devoted to reading things into form rejection letters and making up gastrointestinal problems that the editors have which caused them to write such cruel sentences like "this isn't right for our publishing needs." The fact that people take offense at these form letters completely boggles the mind: the world does not revolve around you to the degree that people who have never met you care about you enough to hate you. The website is complete crap -- but more than a little like watching Jerry Springer. You can read another (thankfully sane though extremely frustrated) reaction to it here.

Anyway, I think it was David Cass that suggested that there were a couple-three ways of doing rejection tales well. And perhaps the "Epic of Rejection and Publishing" would be the way to go. I'll work on an introduction shortly, because epics can't begin in the middle.

Highly Recommended