Saturday, April 24, 2010

Declinations and Trust Issues

Having worked in a certain kind of marketing, I have taken a different approach to marketing my writing, to marketing myself. Rather than booking rejections, the bane of the struggling writer, I am booking declinations. One, it keeps me in the mindset that parts of the process that are personal and fraught with uncertainty for me are, for the person on the other end, just business. Hopefully, at some point I will make contact with someone who will want to make it personal, but for the time being I'm trying to detach a bit so that I don't become a soggy mess on the floor with each declination.

I received two within the last two weeks, for different items sent to different parties. One, a novel manuscript, went to an agent. The other, a short story, went to the editor of a publication. The short story declination was odd. It felt as though the editor was frustrated with me. I don't know this individual, so I chalked my instinct up to trying to read more into the declination than was there. Then I took a look at his blog, where he was commenting on submissions he'd read. And, I would say that my sense of frustration was validated. Also, he said that he did not trust me. Not the narrator: me. That was something new, although I will admit that if we were doing a team-building exercise and he had to fall back into waiting arms, I probably wouldn't be able to catch him. I have weak wrists and an aversion to catching things.

The declination from the agent was more normal, at least. She had a couple of encouraging things to say, specific to my efforts, and a not-unexpected reason for rejecting my manuscript (Yes, I can use the word. I just prefer not to.) Is it wrong to be encouraged by thoughtful rejection? I think not.

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