Friday, November 9, 2007

A Positive Spin on Rejection...

Here, in part, is the reply I made on a publishing list in response to the concern about having no guarantee of acceptance for works after a first publication...

Having no guaranteed acceptance of our works down the line is a huge advantage to us, as well as to EP and the readership. I can't tell you how strongly I feel about this. In the writing world, full time pro mid-listers run on a 70% acceptance of commissioned work, and maybe a 30% acceptance of spec work. Sometimes it's lower. These are people who live on their writing income. Does it mean that only their very best work is accepted? Not necessarily, but on the whole it means that, 90% of the time, their most sellable work is accepted.

For every Harry Potter, rejected over and over and becoming a runaway success afterwards, there are countless titles rejected over and over, finally published... and sinking without trace. No one can predict the shooting stars, but most experienced editors can predict the sellers, the cut-and-come-again titles that will build an authorial rep and a happy readership.

Sure, some gems slip through the cracks. I self-published two books very dear to my heart because my regular publishers (all of them) didn't see enough sales potential in them. My 30+ years in the business, with 20 of those spent making my entire living from writing, were not enough to outweigh their doubts and persuade them to take a risk.

Some publishers are more likely to take risks. If so, I hope they will take a risk only on the beloved end of the scale, in that they may take the odd-ball gems. They will never, I hope and trust, take a risk on the mediocre or the sloppy.

Yes, rejection hurts, but where is the thrill of success without the knowledge of failure? What is life without the flipside of death?

Here endeth my spiel...

To see my beloved titles, and buy them, should you be so inclined, go to Sally's Favourites and scroll down to REPLAY and PRIDE: BRIDGEOVER SUNDOWN.


Carol said...

Sally, I think we have similar taste in blog layouts. You'll have to come see me. In case it gets lost in the email flurry, I'd love to be in on the serial if you don't have too many people. I love the title of your blog, so very much Sally. Carol


Sally_Odgers said...

Thanks, Carol. I'll come and "visit". You're on my list. I'll be putting out another call for writers today, as there are still a few slots.