Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I discovered our Guest Blogger, Molly Harper, by chance. I picked up one of her books in the store and was completely captured by her hilarious, snarky voice. When I found out she was from Kentucky I knew she needed to guest blog,

Her “Nice Girls Don’t” series is about Jane Jameson, a single librarian in her thirties working in the small Kentucky town where she grew up. This "triple whammy of worry" has made her a permanent fixture on her Mama's prayer list. And despite the fact that's pretty good at her job, she just got canned so her boss could replace her with someone who occasionally starts workplace fires. She drowns her sorrows at the local faux nostalgia-themed sports bar and during the commute home, she's mistaken for a deer and then shot by a drunk hunter. And then she wakes up as a vampire.

Rejection Bites By Molly Harper

I was a late bloomer. I tried out for EVERYTHING in school- school plays, sports, cheerleading, choir, debate team, class president. And with anything and everything I wanted to try, my mom cheerfully drove me to the audition and waited while I fell on my face ... because I'm tone-deaf, phobic about public speaking and have the physical agility of a ham-strung moose.Dad said Mom should discourage me from auditioning so often because it was hard for them to see me fail in so many public and spectacular ways. (There was an incident involving a color guard flag connecting with someone’s head.) But Mom told him, "This is a learning experience. This is what will help her find her way in life."And it did. I learned what I was really good at, and it wasn't singing, public speaking or activities that involved hand-eye coordination. In the publishing world, new writers get rejected. A LOT. In fact, I'm convinced that the words, "new author" spark a Pavlovian "no" response deep within the cortex of agents and editors everywhere. After finishing the first book in my Jane Jameson vampire series, I sent query letters to about 70 agents. I was sent polite, but firm, rejection letters by a large majority of them before anyone expressed any interest.

In fact, I was still getting rejection letters from agencies after my agent, Stephany, sold the books.
The hardest part of receiving rejection letters was that most agents try to be kind when they're letting you down. Rather than starting their letters off with “Are you serious?” they go with "This just isn't right for us at this time." Or the famous “Your voice has potential BUT…” model. These letters give you that teeny, tiny spark of hope that keeps you going. You tell yourself that the agent didn’t call you a talentless hack, so you’ll just send out ten more query letters. When I was still querying, I wondered whether agents did that because they honestly wanted to protect my feelings, or because it amused them to know I would be harassing their colleagues next.

Of course, the nice rejection letters are still preferable to the letter I received that included the words “flaccid storyline” or the one that informed me that the market was overrun by vampire books and this particular agent wasn’t inspired to add mine to the fray.Rejection sucks. It stings. It sews doubt and reaps neuroses. It helps slough off your weak areas and find your strengths. It teaches you, refines you, sends you into the fetal position under your desk with a bottle of cheap wine. But you can’t take it personally. It’s your work that being’s judged and rejection not your personality. You can’t write the rejecting agent back and ask her to reconsider or refer you to another agency. You can’t tell her that when you see her in hell, you’ll be clutching big fat royalty checks. You suck it up, push on and keep going.

Just make sure you have plenty of cheap wine handy.

Molly Harper is the author of Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men and Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever (coming in December). Visit her at http://www.mollyharper.com or her blog http://www.singleundeadfemale.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Ham-strung Moose." I love it! Thanks to this blog for introducing us to some great new writers