The Language in Rejection Letters

I’ve completed a third campaign of querying agents and I sort of got into it, in a masochistic way. Initially, I fired off a salvo of 13 submissions, including a couple to newly promoted agents who are looking to add to their roster of clients. To my great surprise, one answered within 48 hours, which … Continue reading The Language in Rejection Letters

Impostor Me….

Impostor Syndrome haunts writers.

I was reminded of it by a brilliant cartoon in today’s newsletter from Hyperallergic.

I smiled at the punchline in the final box.

Once again, I’m feeling like an impostor, as I stumble around learning how to use Twitter and Instagram. I keep wondering: “What am I doing here? Will anything I post make a difference to anything?”

But, that’s part and parcel of being a writer. The world of writing and publishing thrives on creating doubt. Subscribe to one hundred newsletters from writing gurus and soon you’ll be inundated with advice on what you’re doing wrong…and, if you simply pay £450 for a weekend residential course, all of your errors will be chased away.

What a writer desires is some form of validation. Things get so uncertain, that we analyse the language used in rejection letters for solace!

I come alive when I write more of my WIP, which is how I know I’m real and not an impostor. Tweeting and posting on social media is restrictive and repetitive, as I tailor my words to have an effect—which makes me feel like a con man—get the punters’ confidence and maybe they’ll buy my books!

Impostor me…sort of.

How about you?

How Was Your Writing Year?

My master plan for 2019 hinged around a return to self-publishing, which I’d first done on Smashwords in 2013. I experimented with new digital publisher Draft2Digital at the start of the year but decided to sign with Amazon KDP Select, despite my doubts about the way that Jeff Bezos runs his corporation.

As a final flourish at getting published by a traditional publisher, I decided to query a dozen of the most likely looking agents. This list grew to 88 agents, of whom only 45 deigned to reply with form letters of rejection.

I turned to improving my online presence by adding to a blog about writing, reading and publishing (based on Litopia posts) and starting a website devoted to my Cornish Detective crime series. The cyber gods decided to poo on me, as I was locked out of these two WordPress blogs through no fault of my own, then Linux ejected me based on too many backups of the operating system…my fault, through ignorance.

I started to feel paranoid, nervous about operating anything electrical. Even flipping a light switch had me holding my breath…then, two light bulbs failed within seconds of each other!:rolleyes: I went from paranoid to feeling doomed, but, fortunately becoming officially old meant my national state pension kicked in, so fresh funds enabled me to buy a new laptop. Which was faulty:(, though Argos and eBay were so efficient at refunding me that I bought another one from them!

Firing on all cylinders again, I began writing my sixth crime novel Kissing & Killing. Still uneasy from my technical gremlins, I wrote in disconnected slabs, which five months later are finally coalescing.

With my spiffy new laptop, I was two days from self-publishing the first four Cornish Detective titles on KDP Select, when Hodder & Stoughton asked for a full manuscript of Book 5 for consideration as part of their The Future Bookshelf publishing opportunity. While pleased, it stalled my KDP Select plans, as I didn’t feel it was wise to go it alone with a traditional publisher sniffing around.

I haven’t been on tenterhooks waiting for them to respond. And, true to form with literary agents and publishers, they haven’t!

I’ve carried on writing the WIP, which makes me feel a bit like Doctor Frankenstein constructing another monster that no one wants.

Finding the BooksOffice opportunity today is the most encouraging development in publishing I’ve seen for many a year.

Writing feels like swimming an ocean with no destination in sight, while successful authors and uncommunicative agents and publishers sail past in brightly lit luxury liners.

How was your year?

What plans do you have for 2020?

What Literary Agents Should Tell You….

While exploring the Galley Beggar Press website, I came across this wise advice from one of Galley Beggar’s founders Sam Jordison: “I also want to give a few words of encouragement. Submitting a book takes guts. I know it can feel like cutting your own heart out and serving it up so other people can … Continue reading What Literary Agents Should Tell You….

How Do Literary Agents Think?

Thirty rejections into my latest campaign of querying, I’m not feeling dejected at all, more puzzled by the phraseology that agents use in their form letters. I’m in the process of composing lyrics for a blues song from these phrases…things such as: * ‘I didn’t feel passionately enough to take the novel further.’ * ‘We … Continue reading How Do Literary Agents Think?