Wordsmith– I also write books

What do you do when you have written a book and received a “pat” email of rejection– something like “good luck submitting elsewhere”? To make this a learning experience, thank the editor for reading your submission, and then ask why it was rejected.  You may have submitted to a genre that doesn’t fit your style of writing.  Yesterday I learned just that– my romantic suspense, ONCE REMOVED, was not right for a short novella (20,000 words) for a publisher where I’d published full length books before.  The editor explained that for a “short work”, intense-erotic romance is needed, and a mystery is not needed.  This information is valuable!  Jeez, this is good to know since I love writing romantic suspense, combining a meanful (spicy) love story with a mystery.  Writing is fun when we are inspired.

Here’s the thing about length– although most romantic suspense stories are full length, I am writing a series.  The second of my mountain lake series, HIDDEN AGENDA, picks up where the first ended; the secondary character in ONCE REMOVED is the primary character in HIDDEN AGENDA.

Hey, I’m fine with this rejection. It tells me where my writing belongs.  I would have felt badly if the editor had found fault with sentence structure, clarity, or character motivation.  In that case, I would work on writing itself rather than focusing on marketing– that is, finding the market that fits my genre.


Friends, business is business.  We can’t take rejection too seriously.  It’s not tragic, not major sorrow and chaos.  Book rejection is not high-risk pregnancy, a malignant melanoma, diabetes, or watching someone you love die.  Like good people, good writing prevails.  It may take time for the karmic wheel to take  its sweet time to spin around.  When you are disappointed, work harder and complain less.  Take care of yourself through healthy eating and exercise.  Here are a few things to keep in mine:

1. People have vast reservoirs of tenacity and resilience.  You’re still here. 2. Find yourself a friend, a shrink, a stranger at a bus shelter: It doesn’t matter who, as long as it’s a person isn’t terribly competitive with you. 3. Do something—anything—for somebody else. I promise, it’ll help you feel a little bit better. 4. Do something—anything—for yourself that is constructive such as bathing. 5. If you’re going to rent a movie, shoot for something frothy. 6. Step away from high calorie junk food. Even with your health insurance, your home, and your one true love, you do not want to also lose the ability to tuck in your shirt.
7. Never underestimate the power of a come-back.  8. Let’s face it, if you don’t have anything in your life worth crying over, you probably don’t have much of a life. So crying is definitely allowed, but (and lord knows, this is easier said than done) see if you can’t keep the whining to a minimum. 9. Dwell in possibility. Don’t limit your own imagination. 10. Forget about what you can’t do.  Meet an old friend for lunch, clean your house, plan or plant a garden.

6 thoughts on “Wordsmith– I also write books

  1. Kathleen Rowland

    Mary Alice, I cleaned the house! Last week I was up in Chico, CA visiting our daughter Janice for the purpose of driving her car (that needed repairs) up for her. This is tax season for my husband so naturally the house was a wreck. That was good since I had something to immediately do. I love feeling useful. In a few minutes I’m going swimming– really agressively!!

  2. Janessa Breckenridge

    Kathleen, I really want to read that story, THIRD COUSINS ONCE REMOVED. Love all your books, you have twisted interesting plots as well as characters who live and breath. Good luck with it!

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