Without a doubt, a rejection is the most soul-crushing blow that can be dealt to a writer, its sting far worse than bookstore returns or one star reviews. Quite often they’re also bewildering; you read the submission guidelines, crafted a piece especially for said guidelines, and stayed within word count and on theme, yet they still said no. What gives?
There are myriad reasons why a publisher chooses to reject a particular piece, and many of them have nothing to do with the writer or what’s been written. For instance, when I read submissions for a mid-sized press, one particular imprint had eight slots for the coming year…and we got over one thousand submissions. You don’t even need math skills to understand that I sent A LOT of rejection emails. Publishers are companies that rely on revenue, and once those initial eight slots were filled we just did not have the capital to take on more work, no matter how awesome it was. Was it discouraging, to both us and the writers? Yes, it was. It was also an opportunity for the writers to expand their reach and keep submitting, and for us as a publisher to surpass our sales goals so we could take on more stories. Remember, publishers WANT great stories.
Here are a few other reasons your work might be rejected:
- Your project is too similar to something recently published – Let’s say you’ve written an awesome retelling of Snow White. We (the publisher) love it, but we just acquired a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood (insert theme of your choice here). Unless we want to be known as the fairy tale retelling press, odds are we’re not going to publish two retellings in one year.
- Your project is too long for the genre – My first novel was 177,000 words. Yup, it was a crap ton of words long, and the only reason I got away with that (by the skin of my teeth, mind you) was because it was an epic fantasy. Certain genres have generally accepted word counts, and epic fantasy is one of the few that can swing the occasional door stopper. Many other genres don’t stray above the 80k mark, so if you’re fielding a lot of rejections you might want to take a second look at your total word count.
- You live in a different country from the publisher – You know what they say, location, location, location! All kidding aside, when the writer is on one country and the publisher is domiciled in another, contract negotiations can get tricky. Many publishers circumvent the issue altogether and only sign those from their native country.
There you have it, a few of the million reasons why your work might get rejected. These points aren’t meant to discourage you, but to encourage you to keep writing, hone your craft, and keep on submitting. The world needs nothing as much as great stories, including yours.
Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.
After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.
In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.
As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.
Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?