Words of Encouragement

I’ve probably spent too many recent blog posts bitching about elements within the writing/publishing business. And believe me, I have plenty of other complaints I could air. But I don’t want this to turn into a grouse session. Having said that, this will sound like another scathing criticism. But it isn’t. This was perfectly professional. I just thought it was funny.

Rejection letters. Every writer has seen plenty. I’ve been around long enough to have received them when they were actual letters, in the mail, with addresses and stamps and everything. Now it’s all email, but it’s the same difference. No more submitting manuscripts with a SASE (that’s self-addressed, stamped envelope for the young’ns). Of course, with the ease and inexpense of email, there’s no excuse for failing to get back to someone who’s submitted a solicited story. Form letters are still the norm, but now they can be copied and pasted in mere moments. Anyone in the business who can’t be bothered to at least do that much to turn down a professional inquiry or manuscript is, in turn, no professional.

I have a story I’ve tried repeatedly to find a home for—stubbornly. It’s one of a handful I have that doesn’t thematically fit in with the two or three collections of shorts planned for somewhere down the road, so its best chance to see the light of day any time soon would be for me to sell it to somebody else’s anthology. It’s come close to a sale multiple times, making it to the final round of consideration on a couple of different books, only to be dropped before the finish line because there was simply no room left.

It happens. No biggie.

And it happened yet again, recently. Still no biggie.

The rejection email was standard but sweet. I’m sure everyone got the same one, but what amused me was a certain across-the-board presumption in it. It read, in part, “Please keep on writing, revising, and submitting to the very best markets you can find. It can be an arduous journey, but a fulfilling and rewarding one as well. And with each new story you write, you’re honing your craft. No effort at your writing desk is ever wasted.”

Words of encouragement. For a noob.

Me, I’ve been doing this professionally for thirty years. Maybe I should be flattered to be lumped in with hungry young writers full of energy and delusions. But I’m not. I’m old and broken and jaded.

A rejection email that reads, “No thanks,” is sufficient for me.

I guess that doesn’t seem as cordial, but it’s enough, and it lets both of us get on with our day. More importantly, it lets me know I’m free to peddle that story to the next publisher looking for something that fits a niche of a niche of an unpopular sub-sub-sub genre.

The story I’m talking about is unironically titled, “Wait Your Turn.” And it has, indeed, been waiting for a very long time now. Patiently.

I was going to wrap it up there, but screw it. I’m out of patience. “Wait Your Turn” is now up on my Patreon page at one of the lower tier levels. It is, after all, a horror story, and Halloween is coming up fast.

Incidentally, my Patreon page has been a bit of an embarrassment since the whales migrated south for the winter. Those high rollers made a big splash for a couple of months, but the party is over. Now I’m looking for more low-level backers just to get the number of subscribers up. A plan is formulating to richly reward those who chip in at only a buck a month. It’s just a matter of finishing a new wave of material—time, as always, permitting.

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