September 12, 2010

Read an interesting blog post by  Heather Trese entitled ‘Should Writers Talk About Their Rejections?‘ after seeing it retweeted by @dirtywhitecandy on Twitter.

This caught my interest because I painstakingly detail all my rejections here.

I mainly do this for a personal record but intentionally because I’ve never seen any other writer do it.

The blog post goes on to highlight the fact that writers moaning about rejections and whoever may send them is not very productive, which I agree with 100%.  I don’t do that.  I just list (agents anonymously) all my rejections without prejudice or comment. No hard feelings.

To be honest, a rejection is better than being ignored completely.

I just feel I want to do it to highlight that rejections are part and parcel of submitting your writing and I wanted to, not exactly advertise the fact, but not sweep it under the carpet either.  This blog details my journey into publishing oblivion, warts and all.

A couple of points mentioned in the post can be argued, those being;

a) An agent might see all your rejections and think you’re rubbish.

Agents are busy, do they check the website of every submission?  No.  What if they love your work but see loads of rejections, they might change their mind?  They may also think they’ve got something when every other agent has missed a trick.  Also, is an agent so easily influenced by your rejection stats the best one to champion a new author? Flip this around, you could add whatever you wanted to your website in the hope an agent/publisher will lap it up!

…and…

b) Listing rejections is like telling a potential new employer about all the failed job interviews you’ve had, you just wouldn’t do that.

I can see the point here, you’re kind of losing your negotiating position at the table.  But, then again, you’re a brand new author in this new post-recession age of austerity, what miserable negotiating position are we starting at? Can I say to an agent/publisher, “Your’s is the first and only submission I sent so surely I’m worth more than if you were No.44.”  Not sure you’d get too far with that argument.

I’m not ultra precious or, indeed, passionate about listing rejections, it’s just something I haven’t seen much of by other writers starting out and anything that peeks behind the curtain has to have some value.  If a publisher said “We’ll take you on just get rid of that awful page of rejections“, it would be gone in two shakes of a lambs tail, and make no mistake mister.

It’s a good blog post though, it’s made me think more about listing my rejections and afterwards I still feel comfortable about it.

I can’t agree more about having a good attitude about rejections, whether you list them or not.  I’ve heard that advice from loads of different sources and it makes perfect sense, who wants to work with an awkward, pretentious writer who thinks he knows best?

Only laxatives like to work with an arsehole.

On that note, I’ll reject myself.

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