Friday, February 24, 2012


I got an email this week from my wonderful agent which began “Just a quick update to let you know that Editor X passed on SHADES.” SHADES is the manuscript we have out on submission. She named the editor, of course, and kindly used the phrase passed on rather than rejected. I was disappointed but the email included a nice note from the editor complimenting voice, premise and characters, and explaining why it didn’t quite work for her. In other words, she sent a lovely decline.
I’m no novice at handling rejection although I was lucky enough to connect with my agent before the “didn’t love it” letters piled too high. Still, sending your baby out into the world for a thumbs up or thumbs down from professionals who see hundreds of submissions a week is scary. And the funny thing is, the more you understand publishing, the clearer it is that the competition is steep for those book contracts and nothing happens quickly.

Which is why I love this clip called REJECTION from BLACK BOOKS. Bernard is so wonderfully arrogant and clueless, and yet his reaction to rejection isn’t totally foreign to those of us who have gotten one of “Those Letters.” And Dylan Moran is marvelous.

So what do you do when you get "a pass?" Rant & rave? Make a martini? Use naughty words? Confess. We're all friends here.


Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I eat when stressed. That explains a lot, doesn't it?

Congrats on the editor's compliments to your voice, premise, and characters. You're so close, Lark.

Loved the clip! If I'd ever been able to master the art of holding a cigarette and a wine glass in one hand, I might have been a smoker. Since it was one or the other for my clumsy self, I went for the wine. That, too, explains a lot.

Lark Howard said...

I eat when stressed, too, Pat. My sister (5'4", 105 lbs) can't bear to eat when she's stressed. I've always envied her.

You're right, I'm only one 'yes' from a contract--just like you are. And a 'no' away from grumbling into my wine glass like Bernard. I'm sure my fretting would be more satisfactory if I could do it properly on a Paris balcony.

Vicky Dreiling said...

The video was great, Lark.

As Colleen Thompson said, it only takes one. Hang in there.

Sheila Seabrook said...

Loved the video. :)

Sorry about the decline, Lark. This business is tough on one's ego and as a result, over time we have to get tougher, don't we?

I like to eat anytime, stressed or not. So when I get a pass, my MO is to mope for two days, then get back to work.

Lark Howard said...

Glad you liked the video, Sheila. Unlike Bernard, I don't get upset anymore when I get a pass. All we can do is keep on writing and keep on submitting until we get that offer.