Testing the Theory

Months ago, I trunked Mocha Nihilism. I had very valid reasons for doing so, half of which was because I simply don’t want a career writing romance, and half because there are some flaws with the story – flaws which I wasn’t sure how to fix, and frankly didn’t think it was worth expending the time and energy to make it right (being that I don’t want to be a romance writer).

Still, when one makes a decision like this, there is always that niggle in the back of your head about whether it was the right choice. So when a publisher I follow put out a call for contemporary romance novellas (what are the chances!) I figured that I had nothing to lose by sending Mocha out into the fray.

I put together my submission package and sent it off – this was a huge rush and got me really excited about the idea of having a novel to send out one day – and then waited patiently. Just two weeks later they requested the full.

At which point I started to freak out.

THAT WASN’T PART OF THE PLAN. The plan was that they would politely reject it, and confirm for me that it was the right choice I had made to trunk it. Yes, well…

Anyway, I got my ass into gear and made the changes I had planned and sent it back quick smart. Yesterday I got a reply.

What do you think it said?? lol

I got a rejection. A lovely rejection which said really positive things about my writing and which completely confirmed my personal thoughts about why I should trunk Mocha.

And I felt relieved. I let out the breath I felt like I had been holding for two weeks and I smiled. I didn’t have to worry about getting pegged as a romance writer, after all. I could get back to work on the kinds of things I really wanted to be writing. And more importantly, most wonderfully – I was right all along, and they had just confirmed that for me.

I know for sure now that I can trust my gut instincts about what is wrong or right with a story. I am not too hard on myself, or too soft. There was far more value, for me, in getting that rejection than in getting an acceptance. I feel really empowered and like I have a new confidence in myself as a writer. It was such a fabulous experience, and I can’t wait to have something that is truly ready to be sent out. Hopefully within the next year I’ll have this novel in shape and be on my merry way. I know that I can do this πŸ™‚ And I love knowing that.


4 thoughts on “Testing the Theory”

  1. While we all struggle with editing from time to time, and self-confidence is goodness, I am having a hard time believing that you can’t fix the parts in the novella you know are broken and resubmit to other novella publishers who play in the small press/e-book market.

    I feel you need to worry less about branding yourself as one genre or another (genres are evil little boxes, as someone once told me) and worry more about putting a project in play by getting it across desks. If you just can’t cross that editing problem, you should vow to set it aside and try to fix it later. Someone already saw some value in it.

    Query widely. Always.

    1. The time/energy outlay to make it work is too high for me, I’m not really interested in doing it. I mean, I HAVE tried, but ultimately they are issues with really important things like character motivation etc, and I have struggled really hard to portray it in a way that anyone gets. So, moving on to the next thing πŸ™‚ Otherwise I’ll spend months and months bashing my head against this issue. The fact that it’s novella length is another mark against it – there are limited avenues for publishing, and right now I don’t have the time/energy to self pub.

      Of course, if you work hard enough at a story you can make it right, but sometimes it’s just not worth it. I think that’s the case here.

  2. Interesting. I certainly understand your reluctance to be branded a romance writer, when that’s not what you plan to keep writing. πŸ˜‰

    I’ve never had the privilege of the kind of feedback you received. Maybe I should drag out that horror novel and start querying it. I might get some valuable criticism.

    Anyway, I’m glad you learned something positive from this experience.

  3. I had a similar experience with one of my shorts. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try and sell it, but the moment it was on submission I was going… Is this really what I want to write? The answer ended up being no. It was an odd moment seeing that rejection notice and feeling relief. Rejection letters can be a very powerful thing.

    I think it’s wonderful though that the publisher’s issues were the same as yours. That’s incredible feedback. Just goes to show how valuable a ‘no’ can be. It can yield so much more information than a simple yes. Good luck with your novel and I hope it continues to go well!

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