Monday, October 22, 2012

Go To Your Room

Dina here. (Warning: Ah, screw it. If you're reading this post, you already know this blog is NSFW.)

I've been reading the most…well, let's just say "interesting"…blog posts lately, and they all pretty much boil down to one particular sentiment:


I'm going to say this once, so listen very carefully:


Let's break this down, shall we? We'll go with Writer S and Writer T, because Writers X and Y are such prima donnas and I've given them enough attention on this blog. (Also, those may be their actual initials, which totally serve my purpose without actually giving them any of the attention they so desperately want. Onward!)

Writer S has had enough. Writer S is tired of being rejected over and over. They've been rejected so many times by so many people that it's just depressing. Literally. Writer S was so butt-hurt about their repeated rejections that they fell into a soul-deep crushing lethargy about their writing and announced a ragequit hiatus so they could visit their physician (who said the same thing I would have, which was "stop whining, up your fucking dose and cope" – though I'm pretty sure the doc said it in a nicer way than I would have) and search their innermost self for the Reason They Want To Write.

When they came back a week or so later, they made the announcement that they really want to write because they want someone outside their friends and family to read their work.

I'll pause here so you can reread that and let it sink in.

I discussed this issue with a friend of mine. He said, and I quote (with permission as I asked first if I may quote him), "It's more important for [them] to feel as if [they are] heard than to be paid for it."

All right. Fair enough. I can totally understand the need to feel like your work isn't in vain, and "Is Anybody Out There?" syndrome. I get it. Been there, done that, and personally, I don't think that's a valid reason to want to write/be published.

I'm sure wanting someone to read your work is a valid reason to Writer S, but I'm going to need a little more than "I just want to be heard" if you want to cross the line from "hobbyist" to "professional."

It's one thing to love your craft. It's another to bitch because the people outside your friends and family that you've given your work to all say the same thing.

I'll pause again to let that sink in.

If you're constantly getting rejections (which, by the way, is part of the game) from industry professionals that say the same thing, the problem isn't them.

The problem is you.

Which brings me to Writer T.

Writer T thinks that the purpose of a query letter is to prove that you can jump through hoops and has nothing to do with the book.

Again, I'll pause to let that sink in.

Note: If your query letter has nothing to do with the book, you're DOING IT WRONG. Just sayin'.

Writer T has (apparently, according to them) submitted to various people and places over 500 times, only to be rejected over 500 times and have their work read only three times out of that 500.

Note: If you've been rejected over TEN times with the same project using the same query letter and get the same standard "thank you but no" rejection letter, you might want to revamp one or all of the following:

a)      the letter itself – it may not be effectively communicating your premise
b)     the project  - it may not be suitable for the house/agent you're querying
c)      your approach – there are reasons for submission guidelines. Follow them.

Writer T also thinks that editors/agents/publishing houses are only interested in your "marketing plan."

Now, I don't know which of the above Writer T is querying, but not one of the above has ever asked me or anyone I know for a "marketing plan" before a query. I honestly have no clue whom Writer T is supposedly querying/submitting to, but whomever they may be, I seriously doubt they're legitimate publishing professionals.

Reading Writer T's…eloquent screed on the horrific state (and apparently inevitable collapse and death) of the "traditional publishing" (hint: the term is "commercial publishing") industry, I can't help but wonder if they did any research whatsoever on how to actually publish. There are so many obvious errors in both fact and judgment. [Example – an erroneous statement that a popular YA series was rejected "dozens of times" before the manuscript was ever read. Fact: Popular YA series was rejected thirteen times. Thirteen rejections =/= "dozens." And I'm willing to bet that Popular YA Author was asked for their full or partial manuscript at least five of those times, because that's the process.] There are also several paragraphs of complete and utter ignorance of how the legitimate commercial publishing industry works.

Both Writer S and Writer T have the same complaint. "The nature of the industry." It's "the industry" keeping them down/out/marginalized. It's "the industry" squelching their genius. It's "the industry" overlooking their brilliance and making them take matters into their own hands and self-publish, either for free on their own blogs or on a large internet for-pay publishing site.

Uh, no, it isn't. It's not the industry, it's the writers themselves. You don't get to blame other people because you can't deal with rejection.

Writing is hard. Writing professionally is even harder. Just like any other job (because professional writing is a job, just like being a secretary, doctor, lawyer, accountant, fry cook or game warden), there are rules of conduct, structure, balance, hierarchy and a standard of quality that one must meet in order to be considered for the job.

If you don't meet those standards, you're not going to get the job. Period.

I'll tell you right now that the vast majority of rejections are not personal. They simply aren't. I can give you link after link to professional industry blogs that illustrate this very fact. Rejections aren't personal. They're business and you didn't pass muster. That simple. (Of course, if you make a constant ass out of yourself, threaten, harass, stalk, or libel the people you're attempting to involve yourself with, there might be a bit of "personal" in your rejection, but that's on you, not on them.)

The solution to being consistently rejected is not to present yourself to someone else who tells you the same thing over and over again. The solution is to go back, spit and polish, then present yourself.

If you're still not getting the job, go back, polish up again and try again.

What both of the above examples have in common is their desire for results. For legitimacy and recognition. Fine. Those are fine things to want. But you have to work to earn them, and usually for a hell of a lot longer than either of the above have been at it. The average first novel takes ten years to get out. The majority of people publishing now have been at writing for a long, long time. (I'm not talking here about sensational examples of people found on fan-fiction sites and given publishing contracts in order to make the house a buck. Those are exceptions, not the rule, and generally done by one house in particular whose practices I find unpleasant.) They've all been rejected and they've all had their share of ups and downs.

Also, everyone has problems.


You are not the only one with medical issues, mental health issues, child care issues, money issues, emotional issues, citizenship issues, physical issues, marital issues, personal issues, job issues, social issues, or any other issues.

EVERYONE HAS ISSUES. Yours are not justification for your whiny-assed bullshit. No one gives a crap about your issues anyway! If you write as a way to deal with your issues, stick to writing emo poetry in your journal and don't bother trying to inflict it on the rest of the world, then get pissed when no one besides your mom thinks it's genius.

If you write for any of the following reasons, you're doing it wrong:

1)     For the money. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)


3)     To be able to say "I'm a writer" when people ask what you do. (People either ask you to help them/refer them to your agent/want you to write "this great idea I have but I can't write," or what your "real job" is, and your mother will never accept that your writing IS a "real job.")

4)     Because you have shit to say and want a captive audience. (This is what blogs are for.)

5)     Because you're a creative soul and writing is art. (Fuck you. Go to your room and write emo poetry in your journal.)

You want to play with the big kids, you need to grow the fuck up first. Stop whining that you have sand in your panties and get your crying ass out of the fucking sandbox.


  1. Love ya Dina! :) Always love these posts. More people need to read and UNDERSTAND this.

  2. "Fuck you. Go to your room and write emo poetry in your journal." - Ha, love it, just LOVE IT!


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