Friday, 18 November 2011

Touching with my Fingertips


T’is a cruel world, sometimes. This dropped into my in-box yesterday.

Dear Ms Buxton

Thank you for the opportunity to read 'Glass Houses'. It is a beautifully written novel and an absolute pleasure to read. Your characters are alive - exquisitely so - and the story driving the novel pulses. Tori's situation is touching and current; it evokes empathy and concern in the reader yet somehow shies away from dominating the emotional appeal of other characters.

I have discussed this work at length with my colleagues and although we are undisputedly impressed with the strength of the writing, and though we do believe there is a market for the work, we do not feel it will sit comfortably on our lists going forward. In recent years we have been forced to reduce our lists and as a result we are becoming increasingly selective – and sometimes harsh – about the acquisition of new titles. 

I’m sorry this isn’t the response you were hoping for, but thank you for thinking of [Publisher].  We wish you luck in finding a home for your work elsewhere and may I offer my congratulations for your literary successes thus far.

Kind regards,[Publisher]

Generally, I’d sooner eat strawberry jelly with pips in than post my failings but I do realise that when my first submission passed over the post office counter, with its heavy dose of longing and anticipation and a sprinkling of fairy dust, I’d have been ecstatic to have got this response. I am buoyed by the fact that a publisher sees a market for it and that the characters had the desired effect. I've had some great feedback in response to a reading of the full manuscript before but none where I was quite so close to touching a 'yes' with my fingertips.  I will submit Glass Houses again today. I have the small matter of approximately 30,000 words of the first draft of my second novel to write before my self-imposed deadline of February 2012 so have absolutely no time for wallowing. This publishing lark may oscillate between cruel and uplifting but at least it’s never, ever dull. 

24 comments:

  1. You must have such mixed feelings about this - the thanks, but no thanks. All very encouraging, but still no. We love your book, we just don't love it enough.

    But - you're right, there's enough positives here to keep you from the wine bottle over breakfast. So hang in there - we're all behind you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jo, you're so motivating!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry, I meant to say, yes, mixed feelings but more positive than negative. The worst thing is probably that I really, really liked the publisher and wanted to be involved with them. Ah well, nobody ever said it would be easy and I'm getting enough positive feedback not to think I'm a complete idiot for trying!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are very brave to share this, Jackie – I would never have done! But, yes, it is a great response is so many ways apart from the final decision.
    Have you never considered self publishing? Or even a small publisher like Night Publishing?
    I held out for years against the advice of various friends to self publish, because at that time it still had the 'vanity publishing' stigma. But things have changed so dramatically with the arrival of the Kindle.
    I don't think I would ever have ventured out without a publisher for Belfast Girls, even a small one, but seeing it sell so well on the Internet has given me confidence for straightforward self publishing with my second book Danger Danger.
    Of course, you have to work hard on the publicity, but I'm told this applies equally to being published with a larger company, so what's the difference?
    All the best with Glass Houses, which I remember from Authonomy as an excellent book which really should be out there! Here's one reader who really wants to buy it and read the full book.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jax,
    What can they be thinking of? I suppose times are tough but I just know someone will kill ofr your novel one day. We are all desparate to read it anyway. The feedback was so positive that you should be really encouraged, please don't give up!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Gerry for your lovely comments, I'm so glad you remember Glass Houses and yes, how I'd love it to be out there for you to read in its entirety :) I'm certainly keen to look at smaller presses. Wasn't Night Publishing who Charlotte Castle went with for the brilliant Simon's Choice? Charlotte, are you there??

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Lyn :) I'd love you to be able to read my book and don't worry, I have no intentions of giving up. I love it too much. Who knows? Maybe this publisher will think my second is more in keeping with their list??

    ReplyDelete
  8. You have my sympathy. From experience, I find "close but not cloose enough" more stressful because it encourages you to keep worrying at the book. If it succeeeds in the end that's worth it (and I hope yours does) but I haven't had that luck yet

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for reading, Reluctant Irishman, and I wish you success with your book and any that follow. I'm writing another book at the same time which I do find distracts me from going back and tinkering wiht Glass Houses. That isn't to say that I haven't tinkered, adapted, edited (again), written new and re-written old sections several times in the past!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jackie I think this is a great response and you are right to feel bouyed up by it. I remember Marika describing writing as a process not just a means to getting published. You have to enjoy the journey and hone your skills along the way and it seems to me that you are achieving both. Close, so close and surely only a matter of time. Well done on getting this far and be proud of creating a book of undisputedly impressive writing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Absolutely Gutted for you -you so should be selling books with your name on them! x

    ReplyDelete
  12. That's lovely, Liz, thank you! Marika was great wasn't she, very motivating and amusing! Yes, I love the journey, its rocky path withstanding!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you Antonia :)One day, one day...?!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You were fortunate to have so much feedback. Most publishers just send a form letter that says they are sorry your book isn't suitable for their needs. No feedback at all. It leaves you wondering if your book is really bad, or the wrong editor read it, or...etc. So it is really encouraging for you and will motivate you to keep working towards that publishing contract - somewhere - hopefully soon. I wish you all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks Diane, best of luck with your endeavours. It's a tough business but we love it, don't we??

    ReplyDelete
  16. There is a book, Rotten Rejections, by Andre Bernard, that's said to be a good--and fun--antidote to the inevitable rejections....JF

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi JF and thanks for following :) I think I've read excerpts from that in group emails - very amusing. Here's hoping we won't get enough to fill our own books!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I keep all my rejection letters (they are fewer and farther between these days - because editors have less time and inclination, not because I'm getting accepted more!) They make great reading.

    I've left an award for you over on my blog. Please stop by to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Annalisa, I take great solace in the fact that I have never met a published author who doesn't have a fistful of rejection letters to their name (actually I know one, and she's a brilliant writer, but we'll gloss over her as it doesn't help my case :) ) I've quoted this many times but the lovely and vastly published RJ Ellory said at the York Writers' Festival that the difference between a published and unpublished writer is that the unpublished writer gave up. I recognise it isn't quite as simple as all that (!) but love the quote all the same. Good luck!
    And THANK YOU for the award. I'm going over to have a look right now!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Annalisa! You have a publishing deal! That's fantastic, I'm so pleased for you. I love hearing about others being published - for selfish reasons too - it makes me think that it is happening, there's a chance for the rest of us :) Enjoy the process. I'm following your blog now so you can keep me posted.
    The award's lovely. I shall attach it to my blog with pride and list my own winners in the next few days. Thanks again and well done!

    ReplyDelete
  21. some of the most renowned authors were rejected at first.... cue the sounds of publishers kicking themselves now.
    It's called the "Mum, can I have a rabbit ?" technique. If you ask the same question again and again... and again.... and again, eventually you'll get the answer you want ;-)
    (And I'm desperate to read it too)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks Hazel, I'd love you to read it ;) And I do hope that a publisher is keener on Glass Houses than I am on having a rabbit...although I suppose we did get guinea pigs, after a little persuasion, and I am constantly surprised at how sweet they actually are!

    ReplyDelete
  23. That feels like a personalised response, not a standard one. That's a sign it did go far up the chain. I recently got responses from 2 agents I submitted to 6 months ago, both saying they were inundated and did I still want them to look at it. It's very hard at the moment to even get read let alone published. Chin up and keep writing.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You too, Charlie, keep going - I love your writing. Chortle chortle!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love to hear your thoughts and always respond :)