Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG: Woe is Me



It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which. If you decide to join us, know that whatever you share will receive the upmost respect and attention. 

Click here to join. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

Our awesome hosts for today are: Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard! 



Sorry, I'm out of sorts. Caught a cold. 

Last month, I  decided to take the plunge and start querying again for my psychological thriller Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries. Received two rejections in one week from American agents, and these were not simultaneous queries. Yes, these agents were nice enough to get back to me in less than 2 days each. One asked for the first 50 pages, the day after I sent a query. The next day he wrote:
Your pages are interesting and well-written, and it is an engaging story.  The pacing is also strong and the story well-executed.  That said, I didn’t feel like I got to know the characters as deeply as I would have liked, and I feel that for trade editors, they will be looking for that stronger connection.

The first day I felt horrible, but my husband reminded me that not everyone will understand the aboriginal issues in Canada. And do I really want to slam them over the head with it?

No. But I don't want to be rejected either. I'm a little embarrassed that after 30 plus years I can still feel so vulnerable. The second agent read the first chapter and didn't want to read anymore.

I counsel young writers about the pitfalls of our profession. I tell them not to take these rejections personally. At IWSG we lend an ear to writers trying to place their first ms with an agent or publisher. I know how the system works. Yet, here I sit feeling ... the same thing we all feel when we receive a rejection. I can't write. Why did I ever think I could. Nobody wants to read me stuff. I'm washed up. Finished. Woe is me. 

I especially like the last one, don't you? Woe is me. 

Seriously, agents and publishers are just people. They're no better or worse than the rest of us. One day I will find a new publisher for my work. It's all about timing, faith, and a whole lot of stubbornness. We can't and shouldn't give up.




55 comments :

  1. I don't think we ever lose our vulnerability. It may not get stronger with time. No one wants or likes to be rejected. When it happens, it stings. But there'll be an agent out there who will feel everything about your story is strong. Hang in there!

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  2. A rejection is just one person's opinion. We don't like it, we just have to move past it.

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  3. Perseverance is key. And yes, after all these years, all of us still feels those things. We learn and move on.

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    1. Thanks for your IWSG post today, Christine, for co-hosting. Your words were well heeded.

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  4. We all go through that bout of self-pity.
    If you believe in your story the way it's written, don't change it. Just keep submitting.

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  5. It's a business decision. blah blah. It still hurts. Keep writing and submitting. You'll hit an acceptance. I am interested in stories like yours. I just read and reviewed Seven Stones by a new author Julie Lee which had similar elements in it.

    Mary at Play off the Page

    IWSG co-host. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I'll check out Julie's book. Thanks for co-hosting.

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  6. I think any writer who has ever tried submitting to agents/publishers will understand this pain totally. I think sometimes the rejection just hits you more than other times. It does me anyway. When it does I allow myself a little 'woe is me' time and then I usually feel strong enough to try again. Perseverance is the key, don't give up. I'm sure it will happen for us both one day soon.

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  7. You are still querying despite rejections and that shows your strength. Keep it up, and I wish you great luck!

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  8. You'll get there. Hope the book is accepted soon, Joylene.

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  9. Agents and publishers have two big problems - they're all individuals with individual tastes and often contradict each other, but they're all trying to recognize the "next big thing" that will be super-marketable and basically sell itself. They're just looking to hop on board someone's best-seller train. Even when they sign a client, over 50% of the time, the book doesn't sell to publishers. It's NOT you, it's them. There aren't any guarantees in this business and you have no control over who accepts or rejects your ms, so write what you love, what you're passionate about, and what makes you proud. Then you'll be living without feeling woeful. (((Hugs)))

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    1. Excellent words, Lexa. Thanks. I appreciate your wisdom.

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  10. I agree with the others - perseverance is key. Also, if an agent rejects you, remember it's just one person's opinion - the next agent you query might love it! As writers, we just have to keep going and keep believing in our own work :). Wishing you the best of luck!

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  11. They are amazing comments, Joylene!! Yes, it's another rejection BUT he/she told you you CAN write and very well indeed too!! Good for you!! Celebrate those positive comments and recognise how close you are to that goal. I had a similar problem with characterisation. I didn't seem to portray the characteristics of the characters well enough for the reader to fully feel what they were feeling - even if I thought I'd done that pretty well :) I did some exercises and had a bit of help from a trusted reader and quickly hit the mark. Honestly, it didn't take a lot of time to rejig a few things to add more depth to the characters. Please don't feel down too long (I know we do and I can feel your despair). You have great talent, you've been told, so plough forwards through the treacle, lapping up all the positives as you go! You will get there and if you get fed up of rejections then consider self-publishing. I am already a fan and want to read your book!! :) :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Nicola. Everything you said I know, yet...

      Thanks.

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  12. Woe is me. I do love that statement. It's so very evocative. Hang in there, this is just two opinions. I've read your books. I know you can writer. It is hard, and we are vulnerable, but learn what you can from the rejections and keep moving forward. You'll get to your destination. Good luck!

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  13. Subbing a manuscript is pure hell for me. Each time I do it, I ask myself why? But then someone takes the story and all is well again for a while. Then I start again. I feel as if I'm running laps and I'll never reach the finish line. Keep at it. That's all any of us can do.

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    1. True, "that's all any of us can do..." Thanks, Lee. I'm waiting for a reply, not assuming the worst, but ready for whatever they say.

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  14. There is a lot of down moments in this profession. It takes a lot of inner strength to keep going no matter how much outside encouragement we get.

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  15. Too right on all accounts. Keep going. It's always a definite "no" if you don't keep trying! Thanks for visiting...

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    1. You're welcome, Lisa. Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. It's subjective. It's business. I agree with Susan. It takes a lot of deep inner strength. Good luck. I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

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  17. Rejection of any kind sucks. Maybe you were rejected because there is a better option for you out there, or the universe knew that publisher would not be the right fit you, so is telling you to keep searching. It is just a matter of time.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. You are right, Juneta. I know it in my water. Years ago I had an agent who told me I was going to be published one day because he knew it in his water. He was right and I'll always be grateful to him. Thanks.

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  18. My heart breaks for you. You're a good writer. I'm in the middle of Dead Witness and I hooked. You have a new life-long fan. Keep on submitting. There's an agent that wants to connect with you.

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  19. Hi Joylene - aboriginal needs ... are still not remembered - that I can relate to. I know Jenny is involved with this side of life in Vancouver Island - can't remember what society .. but after the weekend - if you remind me .. I'll try and look it out.

    Perhaps that route is an option ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I'll try to remember. LOL. Maybe one of us will.

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    2. Found it ... via Google!
      http://aboriginalneighbours.org/emily-hobhouse-presented-jennifer-hobhouse-balme-aboriginal-neighbour-speaker-series/

      I've no idea if relevant ... but may give you other links ...

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  20. In Buddhism, it is said that pain and suffering is caused, in part, by attachment. As writers we're so attached to the idea of people loving our work. After suffering mucho rejections, I'm starting to practice a different outlook. Me loving my work. If someone else loves it, that's fine. If they don't, nothing is lost.

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    1. Excellent advice, Judy. I will practice this immediately. Which is actually easy because I love the characters in Omatiwak. Thanks!

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  21. Yes, woe is me. I understand that. But by not giving up, despite the sting of rejection, brings us a step closer to our dreams. Besides, I try to think of it not so much as rejection but you haven't the ONE yet.

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    1. So true, Lidy! I haven't found the perfect agent yet. That's it.

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  22. Thank you dear Joylene for sharing your story. It must have felt horrible. But remember how many big stories have got rejected and turned into an overnight success with the right people receiving your work. You know it feels like you are finally in the right shop. Like you look for veggies and you are in a veggie shop instead of the meat store. I always look at rejections like that. It helps. I have felt pretty rejected for some reason during the last weeks too. My work with my water stuff does not get further than I would like and my offers to work with people in Estonia have all turned down one by one, even the ones who were supposed to work with me since last year. What is that? I see it as the divine has something better in the works. Which is way better you planned with your mind first place. I guess it is about turning into a jelly fish - going with the currents, surrendering and knowing that the right beach is waiting for us. Just keep your goal in the sight and forget the rest. Also let the writing angels help you to find the right people - you do not need to do everything yourself. Let them work too. Otherwise they are all unemployed boring their ass off. I also want to say that I value your input to my writing and you are a very amazing writer guide. On top of that I enjoy the stories you write and the light in the end of the tunnel you have. The world needs your stories. Keep writing! Warm hugs!

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  23. Stubbornness and determination is key.
    Hoping your cold clears soon and you are feeling better. And best wishes for continued querying.

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    1. Thanks, Lynda. I've still got a runny nose, but at least my head's clear. Amen.

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  24. Hey Joylene,

    Woe is me, I had to send out a search party to find your blog. My email notifications for your blog are no longer showing up. Sigh.

    I shall keep my comment mercifully short. Besides, it's almost three in the morning and I'm going blurry-eyed. You know, that rejection really doesn't relate to the underlying ethos of your writing.

    I have much respect for your resilience, your determination and your example to others on so many levels, my lovely friend.

    Gary

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    1. Thanks, Gary. I know all that, but hearing it still helps.

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  25. Just think about it, not everyone will understand the aboriginal issues in Canada. Your hubby is right.
    This specific story needs to be accepted by a specific agent. Timing is everything.
    Lexa's words are spot on.

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  26. Rejection never gets easier, that's for sure. Good for you for talking about it!

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  27. I've read your books and they are dynamite. The scenes stick in my imagination for days. The characters are real. You have a audience that is hungry for your work. You are an excellent writer and mentor. I'm very sorry for you pain and I'm screaming right along with you, "It ain't fair." And it is what it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
    Remember, you are OK and you are stronger with every breath you take. Hugs and love.

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