Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Negative Marketing Reports

When I first started submitting, I received a LOT of rejection letters.  I still get them now.  Got one Thursday night as a matter of fact.  And while they still aren't the most fun things I've ever gotten in the mail, I don't let 'em get to me like I used to.

Someone, and I don't remember who, once called rejection letters, Negative Marketing Reports.  And when we get right down to it, that's what they are.  The market we submitted to, can't use what we offered them.  For whatever reason, maybe they had one similar not long ago, maybe the editor doesn't like cat stories and there's a cat in yours, or even something as simple as the tone isn't quite right for their publication, it's not us they are rejecting.  There's nothing personal involved.  Sure, it feels like it sometimes but we have to realize publishing is a business, especially to publishers.

Another writer friend of mine once equated it with selling apples.  You have the prettiest, shiny red apples.  They are practically a work of art.  Thing is, the buyers are buying oranges that day.  It doesn't mean anything is wrong with your apples.  Just means that's not what the buyer is wanting.  Just go find another buyer who wants apples.

One of the first rejection letters I received was the cover letter to a story with the words "I really don't like this." scrawled across it.  There was no signature, nothing.  Just those five little words.   I tossed that one in the trash.

I think my favorite rejection letter is the one that says my story was enjoyable reading, thanks for letting them see it but that it didn't fit any of the spaces they had open at the time.  This one is signed by the editor, has the title of my story and is actually addressed to me.  I've saved it.  One of these days, I'll try something with that editor again.

So, what's your worst or best rejection letter?  Don't name names though.  And what do you do with 'em after you get 'em read?


Nicole L Rivera said...

Negative Marketing it! So much better than "rejection letters". I actually had one that said "rejected" in it. It felt like something out of Mean Girls, lol.

Great post :)

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, I really like your spin on rejection letters.

Guess what? I'm you 100th follower!!!

Sherry said...

Words of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Negative Marketing Reports sounds much better than rejection letters. That will make handling them a bit easier.

When I get a N.M.R., I read it and file it away. I don't throw them away. Probably be able to paper a room with them one day, lol.

Jean said...

Thanks for following all of you. I really appreciate it.

And, it's kinda funny but I was at a local writer's group meeting last month and an agent was there. He called them Negative Marketing Reports too.

It's just really hard sometimes to distance our self from our work.

Joyce Lansky said...

I always hear at conferences how agents and editors will work with writers who have a strong voice even if other aspect of the story need work. Your apple/orange analogy would explain why I keep getting rejections that mention my great voice--but I'm still not buying the "will work with you" line.


Jean said...

Sounds like you are almost there Joyce. Keep sending out, I'm sure you'll find the right home for your work sooner or later.

I think the "work with you" thing is more like "Oh great, I love this apple (it'd go great in my apple pie -meaning they think they can sell it) but it just needs a little polishing. Let's shine it up together."

Have a great Sunday y'all!

J.M.Cornwell said...

I received a lot of long, single spaced, multi-paged rejections from editors. Very personal. They detailed what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I should to improve the work. I didn't realize it at the time, but the editors were telling me to keep trying. I got discouraged and quit, targeting different markets that liked my work and published it. Unfortunately, I get the occasional rejection now, but it's usually from publishers and agents who are enthusiastic about my writing, but just not enthusiastic enough.

Jean said...

J.M. - I received a letter similar to that from an editor at Harlequin for a romance novel. It really made me feel good that they liked the thing and thought enough of the writing to tell me why they weren't buying it, how to fix it and to try them again with something else.

I kept that letter of course. :-)

J.M.Cornwell said...

Jean, I have a box full of such letters from writers and editors and I treasure them all. I just when then I had known they were meant to be the carrot on the stick and the stick was getting shorter.

Misha said...

Great way to look at it! I've never submitted before, so there's still a lot of mystery involved for me. :-)

Monica said...

Very intelligent and wise!! Found you from the A-Z Challenge, I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!