Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Rejection Letter...What a Relief!

Yes, you read the title of this blog entry correctly. I got a rejection letter from an agent yesterday and I was happy to get it! Now, before you start thinking I've gone off my rocker--which, by the way, happened a loooong time ago--allow me to explain.

Since the beginning of my ebook author odyssey, I've felt at home with the vision and voice of the ebook community. Naturally drawn to alternative forms of expression, I embraced the rich variety available through epublishers. One year into my dalliance with writing, I made a five-year career plan. It included expanding my skills, tackling the task of full length novels, and working my way up the epublishing food chain. I stuck to this plan for another year...and then I was seduced by the darkside.

Author friends of mine, being supportive and fabulous as ever, began to encourage me to sub my work to agents. Ugh. An agent? Really? Don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for agents as professionals and human beings, but I don't feel that print publishing as a whole is the future of the industry, so why buy into it? Because I'm as human as the next author and the prospect of a print contract conjured up reveries of six-figure advances and my name plastered all over Barnes and Noble. So I started the painful process query letters. Queeeeeery letters. Note: in my head, the term 'query letters' is accompanied by Darth Vader's Theme. Dun, dun, dunnnn, dun, da, dunnnn, dun, da, dunnnnn.

Anyhoo, after months of battling constant rejection for reasons as far flung as my some of my heriones' panties, a dark cloud descended over the entire process of writing. I'd just about decided to swear off agents for good when a friend passed along an intriguing contest--sum up my book in 140 characters or less. Not 140 words. Characters. I thought it sounded fun so I entered. Unfortunately, I was one of the winners. Stars in my eyes again, I forked over my complete manuscript. I received an email confirmation that the agency received my manuscript and that it would take 6-8 weeks for them to respond. Cool.

I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited. During this waiting period, the excitement of the unknown mixed with the dread of another rejection letter weighed on me. My daily 1000 words started to feel an awful lot like work. Perhaps the energy it took to keep hope alive for all those weeks sapped the creative impulse I pour into my stories. Who knows? The exhaustion was compounded by the fact that even if the agent decided to represent the manuscript, the waiting had just begun. There's the wait to see if any publisher would read it and then another wait while it sat at the bottom of an editor's TBR pile. Crap.

Finally the 8th week passed, but I'd still received--say it with me all you writers out there--no response!

Another week passed. And another. And another. Sixteen weeks later I received a polite, well-crafted, and thoughtful rejection. The agent pointed out the many strengths of my work, citing the pacing of the novel as her only problem. I appreciated the professional feedback. And instead of feeling down in the dumps about another rejection, I felt FREE. Free of the desire that had consumed me for so much time! And I felt overjoyed to return to my original path--exploring the future of this industry instead of hopping on to the tail end of a dinosaur. Sparkles and dollar signs cleared from my eyes, I saw with my own vision again: bringing tales of strong and sexually empowered heroines to the women of the ebook community. I write women's erotica because I feel it's an important excerise of my freedom of expression. Go girl power! That's all I've ever truly wanted. And it's good to be back.

So when I say, a rejection letter...what a relief, I absolutely mean it. And not with a smidge of irony.


Jambrea said...

Um...CONGRATS! lol I KNOW this book will go far. Get to subbing so we can do the banana dance.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Hear hear! Been there, still on the fence about continuing to do that!

Love the e-book community and I'm happy to play here for a couple more years.

Yet always at the back of my mind, I wonder if I want to swim with bigger fish I'll have to do the agent thing.

But I can paper my kitchen with the rejection letters. Out of hundreds, I've only gotten one personally penned letter.

Yeah, it's like that :-)

So, what's a writer to do? Keep on writing. Do what you're good at and feel great about it. Keep walking your path, find your passion and you'll be just fine.

Jenna Byrnes said...

Great blog, Cindy. I know exactly how you feel. You just keep on doing what makes you happy, that's the main thing!

~ Jenna

Cindy Jacks said...

Thanks, Brea! The world needs more dancing bananas! And thanks for all your support for Clean ;)

Cindy Jacks said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Sandra. If we follolw our bliss, the success will come :)

Cindy Jacks said...

I couldn't agree more, Jenna. Thanks for stopping by!

Sherry Ficklin said...

GREAT post! Very inspiring!

nerinedorman said...

Ironically I picked up my agent because of an ebook contract. The best part is that she's agreed to represent my YA urban fantasy novel to publishers who wouldn't look at an unagented author.

Sage Whistler said...

Well congrats on finally coming to a decision and letting go all that stress and worrying. When writing becomes labor instead of 'a labor of love' its time to switch gears. The ebook world is a wonderful place, with endless opportunity and sooner or later agents will be looking to acquire ebook authors, and with your talent you'll be at the top of the list. Keep on trucking lady. Just think how awesome we'll all be ten years from now. :D

Jaime Samms said...

Thank you, Cindy! I'm a child of the e pub world. My genre is here, and here be I. I've no idea if I have the talent for the print world, but frankly, I'm happy where I am, which is also where my readers are.

graywave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
graywave said...

Lol. I recently signed with Lyrical Press to publish my sci-fi thriller as an e-book. I had all the opposite feelings to yours. For me, e-publishing was the Dark Side.

But, like you, I am convinced that print publishing is about to die (I give it another ten to twenty years before it is a niche, specialist product) and, when the contract came from Lyrical, I had to slap myself firmly across the face and tell myself to have the courage of my own convictions. I very much resonated to your line "exploring the future of this industry instead of hopping on to the tail end of a dinosaur."

In fact, I believe that those of us who have opted for e-publishing have grabbed the tail of a tiger and I fully expect to be dragged along on a very wild ride.