Tuesday, 10 May 2011

EVERY WRITER'S GOT 'EM...

Rejection letters! While doing some spring cleaning last week, and getting rid of ten years worth of old Writer's and Artists's Yearbooks and Writer's Handbooks, I came across a wodge of my old rejection slips tucked into a volume from 2004.


I found it a really strange experience looking through them again. I felt sadness, because I remembered how each one of these rejections devastated me at the time, and I wished that I could reach back in time to myself then and say 'Don't worry - it all turns out all right in the end'. I felt kind of squirmy because in hindsight I know that the book just wasn't good enough, and I can't believe how kind people were about it. What I don't really feel is the sense of triumph I always TOLD myself I would feel, as an unpublished writer, when I looked at these letters as a published writer at long last. It's kind of like looking back at having had a nasty accident involving a lot of broken bones. You're glad you got through it and that you're all healed up now, but it still makes you wince a bit remembering.

This collection by no means represents the entirety of the rejections I got - I'm sure there's at least another couple of piles as big as this hidden in the back of my box files - but I thought I'd share these ones because they all relate to BLOOD MAGIC, which was the very first YA fantasy novel that I completed. So near, and yet - so far!


I also found a copy - and this must be the only copy left in existence, since I don't even have an old floppy disc with this - of the query letter that I sent out at the time. It doesn't seem like a brilliant query letter in retrospect, but I had plenty of requests for the full manuscript, so I must have done something right with it!


Some of the pile are form rejections, but I got a few personal comments, and I treasured these - even though, reading them now, I do wonder just HOW personal they were, and if all the form rejections looked like this!





I hope this was interesting, and reassuring, especially for those of you who are thinking about publication. Remember - the title of this blog post is true. Every single writer has got some of these, and they aren't the end of the world. Like a broken finger, they bloody hurt at the time, but after a year or so all that's left is the memory of pain rather than the pain itself. And with any luck, it doesn't even leave a scar!

10 comments:

Rosie Lane said...

This was exactly what I needed to hear at the moment, that it can all work out in the end. I'm about to start sending my MS out to agents and feeling nauseous at the rejections to come.

Thank you. :)

Vivienne said...

A great post. It was lovely to be able to read your letters. It kind of gives me hope.

Zoë Marriott said...

Rosie: I will cross my fingers for you!

Vivienne: Thanks, Viv! That was the idea.

Megha said...

It's a great idea to share that with us, Zoe. (I've always wanted to look at query letters anyway! Thank you!) You've been really strong during all this!

Some of the rejection letters (it makes me wince saying REJECTION letters) were so... *kind*. LOL. It just feels weird.

I know what you mean by the wincing. But hey, you met your agent (or whoever. Bad memory) and that's how you got TSK published! Yay you!

Megha said...

BTW, Zoe, have you read SHIVER by Maggie Steifvater? What do you think of it (if read)? (I finished it a few days back.)

Isabel said...

Wow, I got super excited about this post when I saw what it was about!!!! And it was SO cool to be able to actually SEE those letters. I think that your query letter was very nice, actually. I felt rather intrigued myself. :)

Creepy! The main character in the book I'm writing is named Risa! So close to Ria.

Alex Mullarky said...

Wow, it's always good to see published authors have a pile of rejections like mine, hehe! Thanks for sharing that Zoe.

Zoë Marriott said...

You're welcome!

Lady Kay said...

Albeit a little late to the party, I also wanted to thank you for sharing this. Seeing rejection letters is some of the reality I have yet to face, and (somewhat) knowing what to expect makes it a touch more palatable.

Thanks again. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

You're welcome, Lady Kay - and good luck to you with your writing.

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