I’ve put up “Short Ghost Stories: The Man with the Axe in his Back” on Smashwords! I tried to set up a pre-order but it seems the function is sorta broken… either way, the book will be copy-edited by July 15th, and published after that! I will be posting 50% of the pages up here from August to November, and starting a new series after that!
- This is part of an on-going blog series called “Being a Professional Manga Artist in the West“. The Table of Contents is here.
Dealing with Rejection from a Publisher
Of course, getting rejected is always extremely upsetting. No matter how many times it’s happened (or how many times you’ve gotten accepted before), it’s always difficult when someone (anyone) rejects what you’ve poured your heart and soul into. How you deal with a publisher rejection, however, is entirely dependent on what you think you’re getting, if you got accepted by that publisher. In other words, what you think you’re getting out of a publishing deal directly affects how well (or how badly) you handle a publisher’s rejection.
Few people ask themselves why they submit to a publisher. Most people submit, because that’s what you do, apparently, if you want a book on a bookshelf in a bookstore. Okay. I might as well tell you that this is no longer true, but I assume you’re reading this because you want to get published by a publisher, regardless of the situation. Which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get published (it’s normal to want that, actually).
Anyway, here are some ways to think of a publishing deal:
- A business deal – Fairly straight-forward. You can self-publish and get 70% of the retail price, or you can get a publisher and hope that they push your book enough for you to reach a wider audience (and thus get you more sales than self-publishing). I can tell you that getting published does not guarantee sales or a wide audience, so it’s up to you to decide which one will earn you more money in the long run.
- Prestige by association with the various vanguards of literary culture – People in this category know what they want: adulation from people who have been anointed as the arbiters of good taste. They’re not interested in money, only praise from the right people. Again, these people know what will make them happy, and they have a goal in mind they want to achieve. They also know which publishers to submit to as well.
- A validation, whether personal or professional – People in this category are the most insecure. They’re not like prestige-seekers, who want to be positively reviewed by the New York Times, but they’re not like the business-deal types either, because often they’re clueless about money. In fact, they seek some sort of nebulous, ill-defined form of validation from the publishing industry as a whole – which makes these sorts of writers the most emotionally vulnerable when it comes to getting rejected by a publisher.
If you’re reading this post for advice on “How to deal with being rejected by a publisher”, then you probably belong to category 3 (or category 2. It’s almost never the category 1 folks, who are all self-publishing these days).
My bit of advice is this: Have perspective. As I said before, publishing is a business, and while it’s driven by culture and love of books, stories and the written word, it is also largely driven by money. Every time you ask yourself about whether it was that badly-drawn leg from pg135, or whether it’s too niche (or not niche enough), or perhaps your inking is kinda wonky – tell yourself that it’s probably not that.
You can get rejected by a publisher for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with you or the quality of your work. The publisher could have already bought a book that’s very similar to yours. The editor might just dislike that particular genre. It could be they don’t like your art style. Or the editor loves your idea, but the sales and marketing people don’t know how to sell your work. These days, you’re just as likely to get rejected because they don’t think they can make enough money off you.
Also, just because ten publishers rejected your work, it doesn’t mean that the next fifty will. Luck, market trends and who’s reading your proposal has a lot more to do with it than you might think. (Also, what sales and marketing thinks)
Next Wednesday, I talk about agents!