Monday, June 1

...we wish you all the best...

    I received a rejection on a project the other day. I was disappointed. The letter was nice in a form letter kind of way, though it gave me nothing to work with. No criticism either constructive or otherwise. But it was, you know, okay. Except for one thing.     
          The letter was an email, of course, because that’s what we all use now, and that’s fine—I don’t think things stung any less when they were on paper as opposed to the monitor screen. But what cropped up in the “from” on my email was Generic, Publisher’s Name.
          Generic? Really? The definition of generic, “characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific” is harmless enough; nevertheless, I felt more insulted than I could remember ever being by a rejection letter—of which I have had many. Because what generic means to me isn’t really innocuous at all.
          It means without color, like the black-and-white boxes of generic groceries used to be. Maybe what was inside was okay, if you could get past the uninteresting exterior.
         
It means cheap. Any time I can, I get generic prescription drugs because they
almost always work as well for me. Even if they don’t, I try to live with it because—yeah, they’re cheap. Cheap is okay with me sometimes. And sometimes it’s not.

          It means allthesame. I know that’s not a word, but it’s the brush critics have been painting romantic fiction with ever since I can remember.
          It means “I can’t be bothered.” Makes me flinch just to think that, but I do.      
    It is, for me, another nail in traditional publishing’s coffin. Not that it’s going away—at least, I don’t believe it is—but I don’t think its overall direction is up. Or forward. I think they’re holding on by threads much more tenuous than they were a few years ago and I don’t think they’re helping either themselves or the rest of us with where they’re heading.
          As I read back over this, I think I feel sorrier for myself than is attractive, and I’ll be over it soon. But I don’t think I’ll be over the word generic ever. Because I’m not generic and neither are you. Neither is our work. So there.
          Have a great week.

20 comments:

  1. ugh, rejection always stings, but this stings a little worse, I think. Chin up, Liz, you'll find a home for that project.

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    1. Thanks, Kristi. Sometimes it feels as though there is a conspiracy out there to keep our confidence level down. :-)

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  2. How tacky! Chances are they didn't even read what you sent. I'm not a fan of indie published books. I find a good one in about every dozen I try. But, some publishers are making it hard to argue.

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    1. Yes, they are, aren't they? Playing devil's advocate, I don't actually think the publishers know what's right around the corner any more than we do these days.

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  3. Rejections are always hard. After twenty years in the business, it never feels any better (like a punch in the gut). But I get over it faster now. I wouldn't want to be an editor these days. The business is dominated by the sales department and all anybody wants are what is already popular.

    But don't despair. What is "generic" for one publisher is perfect for another. And there are a lot of small presses out there today who do a good job. So hang in there and keep going.

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    1. I will, but I did get my whine in on today's post. :-) Thanks, Mary.

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  4. Wow...that's truly crummy! And Liz, I would have exactly the same reaction to that, so don't feel like you overreacted. And I think you're right, traditional publishing is having a tough time and I hate that, too. Hang in there--know why? Because you are a great writer! Bises, baby!

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  5. Form rejections are the worst. Brush this one off and keep going! :)

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    1. They are, and I keep wondering when I will be, what, published enough? to no longer receive them. Apparently not yet! Thanks, Chrys.

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  6. Hi, Liz: I'm so sorry about the generic. Maybe it is best to say sayonara to them and go to the next who might be someone who really cares. Hugs.

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    1. I probably will not try anything with them again. I don't know all that much about anyone anymore, having been with the same publishers for a long time, but it doesn't sound as though they want to know anything about me, either. :-)

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  7. I've worked for companies that manufactured store label and generic foods, so I know that often, "off labels" are as good or better than name brands. So, where I'm going with this: what looks like a bad deal isn't. You are now free to find a hidden treasure of a publisher, one who will nourish you and treat you like a name brand.

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  8. Ouch! That's worse than any of my many rejection letters.

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    1. Well, that's good! I've had many that were worse and less kind than this one was--I just took exception to "generic."

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  9. So sorry, Liz. Pout a bit and kick a few walls. But remind yourself they don't know what they're talking about. As Nan said, you are a great writer.

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    1. Thanks, Roben. I appreciate all the support. I don't get depressed about it anymore--at least not very--but some things do still just bite!

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  10. Ugh! Sorry, Liz. You certainly didn't deserve that generic comment.

    But, I think Ashantay's onto something. And that she could join our Pollyanna club with an outlook like that :)

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    1. I think you're right, Margie. Welcome to our club, Ashantay!

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