Monday, April 25, 2005

Nyet Again

As I await word from publishers on my novel, and having really nothing better to do, I thought it might be instructive to share a taste of publisher's rejection letters.

Why am I doing this, you ask? For sympathy? To blow the lid off a corrupt publishing world?

No, because the past week I have either been crazy with work, or have had the energy level of a wet dogturd, and thought it best to produce an E-Z post. Plus, since staring at the screen for more than 21 seconds at a time creates this vertiginous sensation like there are small oozing pustules on my body, making me feel as if I will expel ink-black vomitus, I'll keep it relatively short, brain free, and lacking the usual light-hearted, good-natured tone of the terminally optimistic.

Reject me at will.

WHAT THEY SAY: "This was entertaining and unique. But I didn't think that the story came together in the end."

WHAT THEY MEAN: I loved it! But it's gonna sell 100 copies.

WHAT THEY SAY: "The novel starts strong with a great premise, but ultimately fails to capture my interest."

WHAT THEY MEAN: It sucked.

WHAT THEY SAY: "Thank you for sending this. It was one of the most interersting novels to pass my desk in some time. However, it's just not right for me."

WHAT THEY MEAN: It totally sucked.

Somebody's mad as hell. But not Bookfraud

WHAT THEY SAY: "The novel gets lost near the end, and I had a hard time following the various plot contrivances and twists."

WHAT THEY MEAN: I didn't have time to finish it.

WHAT THEY SAY: "The writing is fresh, and the characters are facinating. This book really got my attention. Ultimately, however, I'll have to pass."

WHAT THEY MEAN: If I saw you in a bar, I'd think you were hot, but I'd never sleep with you.

Thank you, thank you.

What is kinda strange is that the rejection letters don't bother me. That is, they didn't bother me until six weeks had passed after receiving each one, a time when I stewed in a blood rage about the publishing corpocracy conspiring against me. Somebody whose writing I respect immensely had his novel rejected a bazillion times before it got accepted -- and this after he published a collection of short stories. I really have nothing to bitch about. (Which really means I have no reason to live).

More importantly, I finally have realized that rejection isn't simply a function of the book's quality, but also of its commercial potential. And I just have to live with that. Publishing is a business, lest I forget.

The interesting thing about rejection letters on books is that they are formal and generally nice to the agent -- after all, editors rely upon agents to send them good material. Also, I have noticed a subtle pattern among the rejections: the beginning rocks, but the ending isn't as swell. Maybe I can learn from this. Perhaps I will emerge with a better novel, as a better person, in a better world, with better food and ketchup packets that are as easy to open as it was for me to write this, goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow. Don't wake me.