Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rejection, Reviews & Reggae...sort of the same thing.

For those of you currently on the road to publishing you all know how hard rejection is to take. It really hurts to have agent after agent (form letter or personal) tell you your work is of no interest to them. And many of you know how many times I had to hear that when I was querying (175 times *choke*). Now that I've conquered that trial by fire and my book will soon be hitting the shelves, I have reviews to agonize about.

It's something I rarely if ever thought about when querying, because it just seemed so unattainable. So, all these thoughts keep going through my manic little head. 'What if people hate the book and say mean horrible things about me, my writing, the story? What if they think it's the worst book in the history of books? What if they say my rats are as exciting as old cheese?' You get the picture. With reviews, not only do you get the not so warm and fuzzy feeling of someone not liking your work (go to agent rejections above), but the added bonus of it being a public flogging of your work for one and all to see (change *choke* from paragraph one to *puke*)! So, after some serious soul searching on the matter I've decided I'm going to try and stay positive, even if someone dislikes my baby. I simply have to or I will lose my mind.

Just like in querying, not everyone is going to love what we write. It's like music, some people love big band and hate jazz, loathe reggae, but adore rap. I guess my point is whether you have your first book coming out this fall or your dream agent just rejected you, you're still a talented writer, that agent just preferred disco.

40 comments:

  1. One of my dream agents is reading my partial this month -- although I could say that any agent that requests a partial from me becomes a dream agent. Funny how that works. :P

    This is a good reminder. I've only had query rejections, never a partial rejection. I'm kind of bracing myself for the extra pain of it, which like any writer I'm sure I will not be immune to. And she hasn't even rejected me yet! If she even does. It's a weird limbo.

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  2. Hang in there Jaimie! I know EXACTLY how you feel! Like you said, it is a weird limbo while waiting, you go through these excited highs and then of course the icky lows! I hope it goes great! Keep us posted!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  3. It's hard but a reality, not everyone is going to like us or our "stuff." Keep your head held high, you've done a lot and well done! :O)

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  4. This is a great post! My book is coming out in January and while i'm uber excited...i've had these thoughts and feelings too. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for this because every writer gets negative comnments. It goes with the territory. It's how we actually deal with it that matters. But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Like you said, staying positive will definitely help.

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  5. I've heard that the querying process prepares you for the reviews! I hope you get heaps of good stuff coming your way.

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  6. It is a scary thought! Yipes!

    But that's what chocolate is for...cures all our aches & pains. ;-)

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  7. Sure, I think my hide's been thickened by rejection, but I think reviews might hit me a little harder at first.

    Interesting post. I hadn't put much thought into it, either.

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  8. Right on sista!

    With my first book I received some wonderful reviews and 5 star ratings, but the one that knocked me to my knees was the two star rating. Here I thought the big hurdle was getting the book into print. Since that time I've gained the perspective of different strokes for different folks. You can't please everyone and that's all right.

    I wish you great success with your book! Go get 'em!

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  9. As you've said to me before, we writers ride a wicked roller coaster. Hang on sunshine, I have a feeling there will be more ups than downs during your carnival. I suspect millions of people will love your baby :-0

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  10. Thanks, Diane! Must--keep--doing--more!

    Rose, no worries! I checked out your book yesterday! Total cover love, by the way! :)

    Christina, I think you've gotta be right! If a person can get through querying, they can get through reviews!

    Tere, that is why I will be reading them with my eyes half covered!

    Kathi, thanks for that. Everyone has to get some bad reviews sometime. I just hope I forget to check on my book that day!

    Dawn, You just made me say, "Awwwhhh!" out loud, that was so super sweet! Thank you!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  11. Love this post. Thanks Hilary! Rejection is not fun. I'm preparing when I send out my queries this fall. =)

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  12. The challenges never end. But like you said . . . choose to stay positive and it sure helps).

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  13. With every step forward a new set of challenges presents itself. How we cope with those challenges sets us up to be the writer we want to be.

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  14. Great post, as usual. Adorable picture, as usual. And I am still in awe that you actually found 175 people to query!! My list is WAY smaller than that!!! And I'm worried. LOL. My problem is that I don't want to JUST write YA.. I also want to write mainstream fiction, so I need to find an agent who represents both... right? :)

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  15. I've found the same thing with short stories. After the excitement of the sale itself and then the publication, come the reviews. And they aren't always pleasant, but I never mind because I'm grateful for the fact that I'm at a point where I even have to worry about bad reviews, lol!

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  16. Carolyn, I feel if I can get through it anyone can! Those were some ice cream eating days! Ben & Jerry were my very best friends, my treadmill, not so much! :)

    Janet, it does! I switched to 'good thoughts mode' and literally things turned around in a MAJOR MAJOR way!!!

    Donna, what doesn't kill us, right? :)

    Kristin, you WILL find your perfect match! I sure did! It takes time, but you will too, I've no doubt!

    Lisa, that would be something...never worrying! So dreamy... ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  17. I've just started sending out queries. Even though I have enough writer friends to know the rejections will come, I'm still not liking it so much.

    BTW, my pre-ordered Amazon delivery of your book just came in yesterday. YAY. It looked so good I knew I'd want to own it and from the little bit I've had time to read so far, you can count on glowing reviews on my blog : ). I'll let you know when it posts.

    Enjoy this exciting time!!

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  18. Paula, that is so cool! Is it not the most beautiful book ever?? Yes, I'm a little partial! :) I hope you love, love, love it!!!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  19. The book wasn't written for the people writing negative reviews, if there are any. Your right to focus on the positives.

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  20. Don't let reviews make or break your day. You can let bad reviews smash your creative side and that one person isn't worth that happening. Does everyone like you?? Do you like everyone?? Have you ever put a book down (a book that has received rave reviews)? Point here is not everyone will love your book or get it... that is okay... You have your friends, your editor likes it and I know you've worked very hard to get the word out about this book. It will be fine, trust me, it will.

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  21. Your book is going to be loved. I already love it and I don't usually don't read fantasy. I'll be buying at least two copies, Hilary!

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  22. DL, thank you for that. I wrote it for me first and foremost and the ability to be able to share it with others is icing on the cake. I will keep reminding myself of that. :)

    StableGranny, I have total StableGranny love right now! And yes, their have been books that received "rave" reviews, which honestly I didn't like nearly as much as I hoped too. You are so right! Thank you!

    Sharon, you da bomb!!! Since you're not a big fantasy reader, I can't wait to hear what you think of my book! My husband only reads military and history novels and non-fiction, so when he said he loved it, I knew I might be on to something! ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  23. i'm kind of hoping that, when i get to that point, i can just ignore the reviews...
    time will tell how succesful i am in that endeavor

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  24. I love how you worded that. Here's hoping some reggae love comes our way :)

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  25. Ah, Hilary, love your attitude! And I have a feeling your rats are way more exciting than old cheese. I'd put them in the new pepper jack cheese category. :)

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  26. I worry about this, too. But at least we have the thick skin in place after the query rejections.

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  27. Falen, if I can do it, you can do it!

    Sherrie, Reggae, Disco, Hip-hop, Classical... ;) I'll take all the love I can get!

    Samantha, I needed that! They are a bit on the spicy side!

    Medeia, totally. There is nothing like being told NO a few thousand times to toughen you up! :P

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  28. Rejection is a fact of life - one that I'm sure you'll handle with as much aplomb as the other challenges you've already conquered. Besides, knowing how you write, there will be plenty of accolades to sweeten the bitter.

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  29. I've thought about that before, what it must be like to have a book reviewed. It's got to be scary. But yes, stay positive!

    Btw, I love the little pics you put in your posts.

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  30. Too true. All we can do is keep trying.

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  31. Hi Hilary. I agree this is a great post, a reminder of the never ending rollar-coaster ride all artists go through. When ever anyone looks at your work, the truth is they may or may not like it, and even though we know it won't be everyone's cup of cheese :) it's still a bumber (Australian for not very nice).

    I agree with DL Hammonds, gloss over the negs and focus on the positives.

    My problem is that (like someone else mentioned) despite the rejections at query stage, no one who has read the whole ms hasn't loved it - no rejections at that stage - so far. That's how I scored an agent. But I know that one day someone will hate it.

    When editing, I sometimes read it from a very jaded, cynical point of view and I saw how someone like that could tear it to shreds. Let's hope that only those who are interested in what we write will review it. After all only readers who like the sound of it will read it.

    Your rats sound great. I think it'll be purrfect :) (I'm guessing there are big bad cats in it too) for your target audience.

    If you're interested, you can read ch 1 of my YA fantasy novel, 'Lethal Inheritance’ at http://publishersearch.wordpress.com/lethal-inheritance/
    I’d love to know what you think of it.

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  32. Yes, stay positive. Remember, you got Rick Riordan's quote on your book. How awesome! What people like is so subjective. Don't get caught up about it. People are already raving about it. I don't usually read books about animals, to be honest, but I'm definitely reading yours. It sounds so great.

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  33. And hear I thought nothing could be worse than querying. I try to remember that my inner critic is far worse than anyone else's comments/reviews. I hope I'm right. Best of luck as the reviews start to come in.

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  34. I'm beyond the "rejection" stage, although it still hurts just a little bit. I even posted a negative review on my blog once. It had a huge response, mainly positive and supportive for me.

    Stephen Tremp

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  35. Well Ms. Hilary,

    I have finished Nightshade City. Lady, you have NOTHING to worry about!

    Your babies are So endearing, I was crying with joy for them by chapter two! (And laughing my fool head off, when my 'dream' came true with Vincent and Victor's debut scene!)

    Returning from their world into mine was HARD! Their lives are so filled with joy and character, it was near impossible to set them down! I CANNOT wait to share this world with my daughters! Whom, I guarantee, will draw them for YOU!

    Anyone leaving any kind of negative remark is not the reader you wrote for! Children will LOVE this.

    SO, Thank you! For taking on that dare, for facing all those rejections in hopes for that one yes, and for proving it WILL come with patience! I pray to get one myself someday...and be able to share my world with you!

    Thank you for Welcoming me to Nightshade!

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  36. Stephen, that is very brave of you! Posting this made me feel a lot better. I'm not "scared" anymore. I simply cannot help what people will decide! You can't control everything! ;)

    Victoria!! OMG! I can't believe you finished so fast! I love, love, love that you love my book!!! It makes me so happy! You've made my entire week! See, now if only all my reviews can be like yours, then I'm set!!! I'm seriously so touched you liked it so much and I'm so glad you got the signed copy in the Nashville Auction!!! It makes it even sweeter! I'm getting close to wrapping up Book II, so your words really inspire me more than ever right now! :)

    xoxo -- Hilay

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  37. I am so glad, Hilary. :-) It truly was a sweet heart warming journey! Nightshade City leaves me for a time now, so that my best friend ( a rat lover to the MAX, and the reason my own stories rats came into being...) can share in the world too. :-) I expect that she also will leave you words to cherish. :-)

    I would LOVE to share some of my world with you, if you have the time. (The end of Book II to celebrate perhaps?? ). The Introduction to 'Prophecies' is about 7 pages. I would love to know what you think!!

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  39. Don't worry about the reviews. Most reviewers genuinely love books and usually review them quite favorably.

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  40. back in the day when i was a theatre major, my acting professor taught me one valuable lesson that i think can carry through to all facets of life. NEVER READ THE REVIEWS. good law to live by, i think.

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