I might have mentioned I finally threw away all those old rejections I had filed away when I cleaned my desk. Though cleaning my desk is a form of procrastination, it's something I always do when I finish a project before I move onto the next. But this time I went deep into the stacks and files.
I have some thick and battered manila folders where I'd carefully stored rejections. When I received them my email, I used to run off a copy. I told myself it was a good way to keep track of editor and agent names as well as keep their words of advice and encouragement close. As I tossed them into the trash, some were over five years old, I reread the ones that weren't just form rejection letters. And laughed.
Some editors and agents were kind enough to remark on my work. Let me give an example for the very first romance novel I shopped around, The Greater Good. One editor told me the world building was wonderful and my characters lovable, but my writing needed to be tighter. Another editor told me my writing showed talent and a strong voice, but she found my world building needed work. If I had combined all the praise I'd been given on the book into one letter, it was the perfect novel. If I combined all the criticism, the was nothing right about the manuscript. Fortunately, New Concepts Publishing, thought the book worthwhile taking a chance on.
Reading through the rejections reminded me of a lesson I learned back when I received my first contract. Tell a good story, edit your work to as perfect as you can make it, and you'll find a way to get it published. Yes, my contracts are with small indie presses, but I like them. I love the personal contact. I love the way they teach me more about the industry. Recently, I found another small press who is taking on my newest epic fantasy series. As my grandmother used to say, 'There's a lid for every pot.'
Perhaps the 'lid' for your work is to self-publishing. I'm involved in that also with my first fantasy series that I took back my rights for from a small publisher that wasn't helping my career along. It was the right path for me.
So have you found a 'lid' for your writing? Do you think the state of the industry provides more opportunity to new writers now than in years past? Have you learned anything from your rejections? Ever get conflicting rejections?