Friday, September 24, 2010


A writer friend has recently phoned me and said she received a form rejection letter from a publisher saying the characters and story were not developed enough. I’ve also had a few emails saying ‘I’ve got another rejection.’ We all get rejection letters, so never ever think you are alone. We have to have a thick skin, and most of us only have a fine layer. Over time, you will build up that shell, and no one will be able to break it. :)

I've sent the same manuscript to three publishers. The first publisher said, nothing is happening at the beginning of the story and it drags. The second said, I'm sorry the story does not suit our line, but your voice shines through and do you have something else to send? The third publisher said although we love your voice and the story is appealing, we have just published something very similar, do you have something else?

So I then sent this manuscript to another publisher, the first three chapters, and they loved it, and loved my writing style. They now have the full and it's been a while, so I continue to write. :)

I believe publishers are looking for characters and plot, something different, a new voice. A new voice being your style, the way you write. But we still have to learn the craft, the stage to set up, scenes, dialogue, emotional tension, internal and external conflict, present and past tense.

There are so many helpful books out there. Valerie Parv’s The Art of Romance writing, Browne and King Self editing for Fiction writers, Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon, Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon, (this one is one of my favourites) Conflict Action and Suspense by William Noble, The Twelve Point Gide to Writing Romance by Kate Walker, (another favourite) Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Mass. I have all of these and more, and I’m still learning. 

Don't forget, when you receive a rejection send your manuscript to another publisher. But make sure you understand why they have rejected it and think of ways to improve it to make it a seller. If they say the grammar is all out of whack, then go and learn grammar. If they say the characters lack such and such, take a good look at your hero and heroine, read lots of self help books. But don’t forget analyse the market you are targeting, and read the books from that publisher they are publishing.

Those who aim for their goal, study, learn, re-learn, and keep studying and eventually get there. Just like an athletic. They train hard, giving a 100%, spend hours until they reach their goal. You also have to have a backbone made of steel, be determined, have the courage, and believe in your ability and your work.

Good Luck with your submissions, we all need it.
Suzanne :) and have a great weekend.


Tami said...

I'm trying to think for when I finally finish my MS is that if I am rejected, at least I am writing. Something I am trying to work on.

Anonymous said...

I've gotten so many I have lost count. Glad to hear we aren't the only ones. Interesting post.

Tarnya. x

Caroline said...

Wise words Suzanne - thanks for the book tips - I have most of them - but you can never get enough IMHO. Caroline x p.s congrats of Heat in the Putback being a top seller. Lovely cover BTW.

Mel Teshco said...

I think a prerequisite for a writer is to *develop* thick skin. Makesall those stings much more worth it in the end =)

Suzanne Jones said...

Great post, Suzanne - wise advice.