A rejection that didn’t hurt.
I was talking to an editor who had to turn down an idea I have for a book, but he was so nice about it, it was hard for me to remember he was saying “no.” That was such a pleasant change from the rejections that would send me reeling…
“How dare they not LOVE my book?”
“My life is ruined.”
“It’s a conspiracy. I know it is.”
Sounds a little paranoid, I know, but for a long time the only thing I had to attest to my credibility as a writer was my basic insecurity.
Writers are insecure for a lot of reasons. Some of us were born that way, but for others, it’s accumulated over the years like a fringe “unbenefit.”
Not only do we have to deal with the possibility, and reality, of rejection on a continuing basis, we also work in a professional vacuum. We don’t get to discuss the latest Idol reject at the water cooler or get some direct feedback on the day-to-day accomplishments of our job. Nobody here to pat me on the back except my cat, and he’d rather sleep in front of my monitor.
Sometimes this isolation is so intense, I feel like I’m in the middle of a desert, and one kind word about my work can be as refreshing as a drop of nectar.
We all know that we write because we think we have something to say, hopefully, something important and meaningful. Even when we get discouraged, we seem to still be drawn to the keyboard – if the cat will let us – to impart some new words of wisdom. But if that was all there was to it, we wouldn’t care if our words ever saw print. And I have yet to meet a writer who didn’t care. It’s good to want to say all those nice things, but the whole process would undeniably be meaningless if no one was ever going to read what we write.
The added bonus comes when someone reads the work and thinks it’s good. Or better yet, great, wonderful, fantastic and terrific. Family members don’t count since they may be more than a little prejudiced, especially if they think dinner may hang in the balance. So, I am always thrilled when I get a note from a reader who enjoyed one of my books and took the time to let me know.
Those notes have prompted me to let other authors know that I’ve enjoyed their stories. I’ve also come to be more diligent in writing reviews on my blog, as well as on Amazon and Goodreads. That is my way of paying it forward. We are together in this wacky world of writing, with all of it’s peaks and valleys, and mutual support goes a long way.
It is also a good way to promote each other. Share about that last great read you enjoyed. Post all over social media, and those authors will, in turn, share about your books. This kind of author-to-author support is priceless.
Maryann Miller is an award-winning author of numerous books, screenplays, and stage plays. She started her professional career as a journalist, writing columns, feature stories, and short fiction for regional and national publications. Now she writes primarily mysteries, including the critically-acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series that features two women homicide detectives. Think “Lethal Weapon” set in Dallas with female leads. The first two books in the series, Open Season and Stalking Season have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal. Stalking Season was chosen for the John E. Weaver Excellence in Reading award for Police Procedural Mysteries. Her mystery, Doubletake, was honored as the Best Mystery for 2015 by the Texas Association of Authors.
Among the other awards Miller has received for her writing are the Page Edwards Short Story Award, the New York Library Best Books for Teens Award, first place in the screenwriting competition at the Houston Writer’s Conference, placing as a semi-finalist at Sundance, and placing as a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Competition. She was named The Trails Country Treasure in 2011 by the Winnsboro Center for the Arts, and Woman of the Year in 2014 by the Winnsboro Area Chamber of Commerce. Her mystery, Doubletake, was honored as the Best Mystery for 2015 by the Texas Association of Authors.