…About a book that wanted to be, rejection, rewriting, R&R, and finally finding a home.
Writing for publication is a crazy business. You kind of have to be a little crazy to want to do this, but it’s not without its rewards. Last winter, I wrote a short novella called Solomon’s Passage about a nebula crossing made by a colony ship in a distant future. I wrote it in response to a particular call for submissions. It wasn’t accepted for that submission call, so I decided I was going to rework it, and see what happened next.
After some heavy revision, I sent it to Nickie and Ed, two trusty beta-readers, to get their thoughts. While Nickie enjoyed the story, Ed really didn’t, and gave me plenty of reasons why it didn’t work for him. (Thanks Ed!) So, I went back to the drawing board.
One of my publishers, Liquid Silver Books, was having a craft chat for us authors, so I brought some questions about this book, and got some great suggestions from Lynn Lorenz about where I went wrong, and how it might be a stronger story. (Lynn, in addition to knowing pretty much exactly where my story needed to go, is an awesome writer in her own right. You can find Lynn’s work here: http://www.lsbooks.com/lynn-lorenz-c173.php and at www.lynnlorenz.com)
So I decided to start the story almost two years earlier in the backstory. I wrote 17000 new words, stripped 6000 away, changed two of the characters to the point where they were barely the same people anymore, and in the end, had a brand new story, which went to two MORE beta readers for their input.
I submitted it to LSB and a little later, I received a revise and resubmit request.
If you aren’t a writer, you might not be familiar with the R & R. It’s not a rejection–nothing like a rejection, actually. It’s a request for changes to the manuscript to make it more publishable. It’s not an offer of a contract, but an encouragement to revise the manuscript and send it back.
So, I did, and last week I announced here on this blog that Fight or Flight has been contracted by Liquid Silver Books. Its blurb can be found on the bookshelf section of this site if you are curious, and it will be released December 10!
Why am I sharing the story behind this book?
Because sometimes, people think there is some secret that the publishing industry holds dear, that if they just stumble across it, they’ll suddenly get a publishing contract, and all doors will miraculously open…and it won’t hurt a bit.
There is no secret. It’s hard work. It’s listening to input and taking your hits. It’s accepting critique and using it to make your story better. It’s honing and changing, and allowing the story to change and grow. It does hurt sometimes, but I try to think of it as growing pains.
So if you’re a writer, struggling to find the perfect home for your manuscript, and you’re not sure why it’s not working… send it to a few beta readers. Get feedback. Accept that rejection happens. (By the way, I have a rejection file in my email–I’ve received over 12 rejections in the last year for three unique projects!) Learn from it and move on.
Sometimes, the first version of your story won’t get published. Sometimes, the second, third, or fourth version won’t. The really awful truth is that most stories never do. But that’s not a reason to stop writing. Never let rejection stop the wordflow. Let it shape it. Learn from it. Hone your skills and try again.
Thanks for reading 🙂