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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Countdown: 14: Submission and Rejection

In 8th grade, my English teacher, Ms. Ada Wax, submitted my name for a young writer's regional conference. I was accepted, and I headed off to the conference with great excitement and anticipation. (This is, by the way, the only writer's conference I've ever been to. How ironic is that?) I met several other young writers and got the address of a publishing house that specialized in publishing books written by young people.

I could hardly wait. I got home, printed out my novel, and mailed it off. I remember how nervous I was, standing in line at the post office. I wanted my mother to come in and stand by me. But she had to take my brother to a soccer game.

I can't remember how long it took to get a response. But I got one. They returned my manuscript with a nice, detailed letter from the editor. He pointed out things he didn't like and invited me to revise and resubmit. I was pumped. I spent the rest of 8th grade and the beginning of 9th grade revising. By now I had mastered typing, which made it easier. My cousins teased me over Thanksgiving because they thought I couldn't tear myself away from my video games. Goofs. I was writing. My dad sat with me on vacation and helped me dissect the novel, chapter by chapter.

I was ready. It was good now. (For then. Ha ha. Seriously, when this is all finished and my publisher says I can, I'll post the first chapter. Then and Now. So you can laugh with me.) I just knew they were going to accept it. I mailed it off, more confident this time, and sat back to wait.

I never heard anything back from them. I waited for months. Nothing. In hindsight, I should've contacted them to see if they'd ever received my manuscript. But I didn't. I got discouraged. I put the whole thing aside and forgot about it. For ten years.

7 comments:

M. Gray said...

I was a 'guest speaker' at Young Women's this week and talked about Creating. These girls were about fifteen and to give them an idea of something they could create at their young age, I told them I knew a girl who wrote her book (that is now getting published) at the age of thirteen! Their eyes got wide! Your story made their day. :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

wow! that's awesome! that makes me feel good!

Stephanie Faris said...

I read a quote today about authors giving up, not realizing how close they were. I've been rejected many times over the years but I think that quote was very telling. We can't give up because we never know when success is just around the corner.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

That's so true! It could be the next submission, and you don't know it!

Karen Gowen said...

Which step will be compromise lol?

Charity Brown said...

I hope when your book publishes someone reads it and recognizes it from 10 years ago! That would be funny! :)

PV Lundqvist said...

Near success is more fatal than rejection. My first novel was embraced by an editor, she told me to not give to anyone else, all she had to do was bring it to her editorial meeting.

Two weeks later I got a curt rejection. Took me years to build up after that near miss.

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