It hurts. It does. No matter your expectations, it stings to not be chosen, to be rejected, but it's important to keep things in perspective.
I recently, and a little impulsively, attempted to wrangle some marketing support from Amazon by being published in the Kindle Scout program. If you're not familiar with the program, all the information you need to know is here. I looked at the titles enrolled in the program beforehand. I looked at past winners. I knew right away that my title was different and not the usual sort of thing they published, but I rationalized that this would make my title stand out from the crowd and be noticed.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. It's the price, I've realized, I have to pay for writing work that is different and difficult to classify.
But it's okay. I've been rejected before. Many times. There was a time when I was writing a lot of short stories that I used to receive a rejection in my inbox almost every day. Back then, when that happened, I'd take the story and immediately submit it to another publication and then wait for the next nearly inevitable rejection. After awhile, however, I began to break through, and when one of those acceptances came, it was an amazing feeling.
These days, I tend to concentrate my writing efforts on longer works. I'm not much of a short story writer. My brain likes big concepts and vast landscapes...
...And there it is, just now my inbox flashed up a new email and it seems my latest horror novel submission has been rejected by a publisher. (No joke!) Ouch. Bad day...
But it's not. Not really. I'm writing. I'm publishing. I'm living the life, playing the game. I never would have made it as far as I have if I hadn't learned how to handle rejection.
Failure is one of the key components to success. All those who find success, first find failure. Most fail many more times than they succeed.
So I try not to take it too hard. It's important, I find, to remember that rejection in publishing does not necessarily mean that one's work is bad. Well, sometimes it does. If you've ever read slush, you know there's a lot of shit out there and I used to write a lot of shit stories myself (still do), but I also know that I am one of one's who has put the time and effort into his development and I have learned how to judge my own work with a critical eye. When I receive a rejection, I take another look at my work and, if needed, edit and re-write before submitting again. But I've also reached the point where most of the rejections I receive are from presenting my work to the wrong audience or to the wrong market. I get a lot of "it's just not right for us" rejection letters.
Which is, I believe, what has happened to THE GODGAME. I've written something really crazy. It's difficult to classify, which makes it a tough sell to publishers unsure how to market it. I call it "dark fantasy," but it has elements of science fiction, a bit of a steampunk vibe, and a complex storyline. I'm very proud of this work and I believe, in the hands of the right audience, it could be very successful.
So, I press on. The self-publishing project continues as planned. My hope is that through the Kindle Scout campaign I have found some supporters for my work and some new readers. Updates will be coming very soon. I have a couple more things to reveal, like the cover art for MARROW'S LEGACY and THE BLOOD OF TALOS, and, as promised, my marketing plan and perhaps some giveaways too.
Onward we march! I promise it will be worth it.