Thursday, April 17, 2014

LROD Gets A Big Award

Letter I received just now*:

Congratulations! Your website, Literary Rejections on Display, has been selected as a 101 Best Website for Writers as honored by Writer's Digest magazine. Your site has been listed in our May/June 2014 issue.

Attached to this email is the official Writer's Digest 101 Best Website for Writers award logo for 2014 you can post on your site. We hope that you wear this badge with pride and honor the prestige that is carried by being part of the few who make the 101 list.

Congratulations again on being a best website for writers of 2014!

*I'm going to have to come out very soon, micers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

They *Were* Being Dense

Dear Miss Plath,
I’m sorry we decided against these poems. We like the second section of AMNESIAC very much, but cannot see any relation between it and the first section. Perhaps we’re being dense. But would you think over the possibility of printing the second section alone under the title? If you would care to resubmit it that way, we’d be happy to consider it again.
Thank you for sending these poems to us, and we hope to see others.
Sincerely,
Howard Moss

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blog Hop Toward Coming Out

Dear Mice: It's true that here at LROD we have maintained a certain artifice. My anonymity as "Writer, Rejected" is now about to expire. Here is the first step in the process: participation in a blog hop, which will lead back to a writer I know and to non-anonymous me. Here are the questions I am charged with answering as part of the festivities:
1)  What am I working on?  I am currently proofing the galleys of my novel, which is due out in November 2014. I am also toying with the third draft of a non-fiction memoir. Toying is not the right word for something that already has 3 complete drafts. But it needs a different voice, or restructuring, or something, so I am considering scrapping it and starting over entirely. After that, if I decide that my novel is part of a trilogy, I am going to start writing the second book, for which I have some drafts.  If not, I'm going to pack it in and become a full-time reader when I'm not writing for a paid assignment.
2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre? This is an interesting question.  Obviously, I have suffered a great many rejections, as evidenced by this blog.  Therefore, I am tempted to think that my work is either a) bad, b) irrelevant, or c) unlike other works of literary fiction and truly original. I would love to go with c. But who really knows? I would venture to say that this is a matter of concern best left to someone who isn't the writer.
3)  Why do I write what I do? For me, writing comes from a deep place. After my first book of short stories was published, my shrink-at-the-time thought that my unconscious was trying to tell my conscious self something through the writing. (You can imagine how comfortable that session was.) With my novel, one of the protagonists is a kid who has a shadow self in the form of a mysterious missing child. (The shadow self's name is an anagram of the protagonist's name.) Certain events in my life are hard to look at directly, unflinchingly. I am in favor of denial, in a way, but there's a part of my unconscious that sees it all, records it, and is ruthless about knowing what happened. This is the part that carries a gun, a dirty matted thing like the shadow-self in my novel. So, I write to find out what that ferocious unconscious, weapon-bearing self knows--the part I mostly try to keep separate (locked in a box with a key) in order to live. 
4)  How does my writing process work: I write all the time, and I move from writing one thing to the other pretty easily. I write for a living on assignment and with tight, sometimes torturous deadlines; I write blog posts and twitter feeds; I used to write short stories (I have an unpublished collection) and essays (ditto). And the novel was a 15-year exercise in trying to get it right, to find out what I really didn't and really did want to know about what's true. Writing is truly, pretty much, the only thing I am good at. Though I can also cook a little bit.
The writer who invited me to this blog (homo) hop:  Michael Barakiva, author of the forthcoming One Man Guy (FSG, May 2014).  Pre-order your copy here.
Also go check out the author's:
Now is the part where I pick three writers I know and point you to their pages. If you would like to volunteer to be one of the said writers, send me an email at writerrejected [at] aol [dot] com, and you can get some free publicity, for what it's worth, yeah?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Musing on Rejection After Acceptance

Don't be fooled. Just because one nice publisher recognizes the merit of your project and chooses to publish it, doesn't mean others will feel the same.  It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of optimism, but it is not recommended. I can only imagine how devastating it must be to get bad reviews. It certainly isn't very nice when the accepted manuscript continues to get rejected elsewhere. But such is life. Here's the latest:
Dear WR: Thank you for submitting [Title of Novel] for the 2014 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, founded by Barbara Kingsolver. After a careful review of more than 150 qualifying manuscripts, we have selected this year's 10 finalists. We have now moved on to the next phase of judging.

We are sorry that your novel was not among the finalists. With this letter, we release you from any further obligation to this year's competition, you should feel free to submit the manuscript elsewhere. If you plan to revise your novel significantly, we invite you to resubmit it for a future prize cycle.

Thank you again for your interest in this prize and best wishes for your work in the future.

Best regards,
Arielle Anema
Literary Awards Associate
PEN American Center
Awards@pen.org
I hadn't really felt under any obligation to not submit my manuscript elsewhere (obv.). But I have been released  from it nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Blurb's Day

This may seem like April Fool's joke, but it's not. Someone pretty hefty among the literati is going to read my novel and maybe blurb it. This happened through a friend, who picked up the phone and asked, who is also sending an advanced reading copy to the person, who has a very large readership, like Oprah-sized (no body jokes, please; we love O at every size). It may not happen, of course. But today it makes me happy to think that it might.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

They're Heeere!

Advanced reading copies are here. And just like poltergeist, it's all very unreal and a little scary. If you're a press person, or a lit blogger, or just a curious bird, and you want a copy to review, read, or carry around, or if you want to be the one to reveal WR's identity on your platform (if anyone at this point really cares), just drop me a line old-school at writerrejected [at] aol [dot] com. Pub date is November, 2014. I'll give you an exclusive on whatever part of the story you want. Or not. I have no idea if anyone out there is still with me. Prob should have moved on to other technologies: twitter and whatnot. The person I live with (aka my spouse) tells me that blogs are dead. And I thought I was on the cutting edge trumpeting in 80 posts the death of fiction. Oh well, I am behind the times because it took 15 years to publish my novel. What can you do?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hang on to Your Hat, Terrified Self

News flash: Advanced reading copies have arrived at the publisher's, and a few are probably by now in a box winging their way to me. Also, copies are being shipped to the kind literatti who have agreed to blurb my book. And are off to a really great media list.  And have been sent for humble submission to the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize judges at the Center for Fiction. Anyway. Wow. In a way, it's happening so fast.  But also in a "15-years-later" kind of way. I was thinking about not putting a photo on the back because I am weirded out by the fact that I am so much older than I thought I'd be when I finally pushed out this second book. What picture could ever represent all those years? But friends and spouse convinced me that I would be sorry to not have some representation of me at this moment to go out there with the thing.  I am sure they are right.  I would probably regret it. The whole photograph thing was a nightmare, but I think I landed on a photo that at the very least looks like me--if you squint and stand back and rub it with Vaseline. We'll see. Also, I really have the urge to slow time down, realizing that this will never happen again. Never will there be a day where I get an email announcing with glee that the advanced reading copies of my first novel are ready. I love my publisher. She is an amazing person, who does so much for literary publishing, and barely makes any money, and says things like, "I just think this should be a book in the world," and ends her email with "Here we go!"