Fastest Rejection Ever

Within 24 hours of emailing ULTRA to Marjacq, I got a rejection email/slip/letter…call it what you like, it was still shocking.  Must have been an auto-response.  All emails to their “subs” address just get the same rejection because they know they couldn’t be arsed with anything new.  All that work they would have to do, selling a new writer to a publisher, the marketing, etc etc.  I mean, who would want to bother with all that; it’s no wonder they just say no.

I think perhaps I should keep my entire list of F-words to myself as I am in a state that can only be called incensed…..which is only marginally better than the glums I had all afternoon.

In the meantime, my novels like grapes are being left on the vine and are beginning to wither.  The fruit of my creation is dust before it has been consumed.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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12 Responses to Fastest Rejection Ever

  1. Hi, Stephanie – I’ve been giving this serious thought but had the consideration that Ultra was commercial enough to interest an agent or publisher. Perhaps I was wrong…!

    • Well, Ultra may indeed be that commercial. I just suggest KDP because it’s worked for a lot of us.

      Three years ago I work a cozy mystery and got an agent. (Things weren’t so tight then.) The book was turned down by all the Big Six publishers in 2 weeks. My next book, considered more commercial by my agent, was considered for much long before getting turned down. So I was left at the altar twice! (LOL)

      Anyway, I will spare you the details, but in March 2011 I used KDP to publish the cozy. Three more books followed. And last month I did well enough to start writing full time. (You can email me if you want the full story.)

      There is one myth about publishing through KDP that I want to make sure you don’t believe. It does NOT mean no publisher or agent will ever touch you again. My friend Shea MacLeod just signed a traditional contract because her indie sales got her noticed.

      • I’d love to hear your story – Kindle is starting to appeal more and more, though I’m still wary. I actually thought that if a book did well on Kindle, an agent would jump at you, not never touch you again, so fortunately I don’t know about that myth! It sounds like you’re doing really well which is good to hear…


  2. yellowlancer says:

    There is life after withered grapes – sultanas 🙂
    Don’t give up, hang in there and believe in yourself and your work – tomorrow.
    Today – use all your f-words, stamp your feet, eat chocolate (lots)
    Good luck 🙂

  3. Terry Tyler says:

    I came to look at your blog after reading one of your reviews on Amazon, then finding all the others interesting, too!

    I’ve got two novels on KDP, another one later this week, cross fingers. I tried the traditional publishing route first – with the first one, “You Wish”, I had the whole manuscript requested by the first agent I tried – try Eve White, if she has a Sci-Fi dept; although the entire manuscript was rejected in the end, I got a long reply from them to tell me exactly why. Not just a nicely worded rejection letter.

    I know a fair few published authors, all of whom are saying that agents/;publishers are so reluctant to take on anything new these days, unless it’s a masterpiece. All they want are celebrity books, those “my parents shut me in an attic and abused me” tales, and established authors. I don’t know how true this is; it’s just what I’ve heard. 20% of book sales are ebooks these days – allegedly. Maybe give it a go? I’m now selling books – if I hadn’t done this, the only people who would have read them would be my mates, and a few agents’ readers.

    i could bang on for hours about the way the publishing industry is changing, but I won’t because other people who know a hell of a lot more about it than I do, have said it all already.

    Good luck, anyway, whatever you decide to do. x

    • Thanks for your interesting comment! It’s really difficult to know what to do – with agents’ perpetual reluctance and closed publishers, it seems useless to go on hoping and trying….yet still I baulk at the electronic route. There’s still a part of me, the nineteen-year-old hiding away, that wants to be discovered and raved about as the New Writing Genius. After thirty years, you’d have thought that I’d have woken up!! I feel that before I even try to publish through Kindle, I need to get my name known…..I think this is called promotion! Or advertising! Aaargh, the sort of thing you rather hope your agent would do for you because, as a writer, naturally we are rather shy! Hence this blog and Twitter et al. I think I should probably also get a website going, though right now my time is being taken up editing!
      How much promoting did you do to get your novel sold on KDP (is that Kindle?)?


      • Terry Tyler says:

        Hello again!

        Right – advice from someone who has SOME experience of all this. Yes, KDP is Amazon Kindle! I don’t really think you can get your name known until you put the books out there – because there are thousands and thousands of people ‘at it’, and the proof of the book is in the reading. I think that 19 year old/writing genius thing is in most of us! But promoting your work is a practical business, alas. Yes, I bloody hate it, too, it doesn’t sit easily with me at all, but I’ve found my way to do it with some success.

        This is what I would do! Get your books on to Amazon first. Then you have something to promote. The formatting for Kindle is hard – unless you’re good at that sort of thing, or know someone else who is, get someone to do it for you. An unprofessionally presented book will do you no favours. I’ve found Twitter to be the best place to promote them, but you need to use it most days, and interact with people, or you’re just another name. Don’t just use it for blatant book promotion – again, unless people have ‘talked’ to you a bit and know a bit about you, they’re not going to be interested in looking at your stuff.

        Sign up with Goodreads – that bit is easy, and fun! You can put your books on there, join the groups, I’m new to that site, and it’s a lovely one; there’s no hard selling, just loads of people who are really interested in books. Tip – start an ‘author’ profile – I didn’t get it at first and just made a normal profile (a reader one), then I saw that my books had already been added by someone else (don’t know who, one of their librarians), and I had to claim them and merge Terry the author and Terry the reader.

        Don’t just blindly follow anyone on Twitter – you can only follow 2000 until you have about 1800 followers, so be discriminating.

        So first steps – go onto the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing site and see how it works. I’m on Twitter (TerryTyler4) – follow me and I’ll give you any help I can, though I don’t know it all by any means. But I can direct you to people who do. You need to follow Melissa Foster, as she has various sites that help ‘indie’ authors. There might be a few Melissa Fosters – she’s the one with long dark curly hair and a big smiley face!

        In answer to your last question, yes, you have to do a LOT of promoting. But it’s worth it! When you start getting your first good reviews it’s wonderful!

        I’ll talk to you again about the promoting stuff if you decide to go this way – i really think it’s the way forward, and the way to actually become a writer, instead of someone who has written a lot of books that hardly anyone’s read!

        I hope you decide to go this way, and best of luck!

        Terry x

      • This is really helpful! Thanks! Will get going as soon as I’ve done my editing (which is very time and energy consuming.) But LOTS to think about!!! Will keep in contact. S

  4. Hey! Here’s a bit more for you — Terry covered many of the basics. First, read this blog post:

    I also recommend that you tool around David Gaughran’s site and soak up his wisdom. The interesting thing is (and David would be the FIRST to tell you this) his success story is modest compared to some others. Genre authors seem to be riding this wave more successfully than writers of literary fiction.

    Here’s what I have found works for *many* of us, but not all. (For example, I won’t mention Twitter because it’s done nothing for me. But for Terry it worked. YMMV)

    1. Get your manuscript professionally edited. If you are a crazy headstrong daredevil, you can consider only dong copy-editing. But I don’t recommend it. I can direct you to some good freelance editors or you can explore a Facebook group called Indie Writers Unite to find one. Copy-editing starts at around $200, full-service editing can be up to $1000.

    2. Get a professional cover artist to do the cover. This will usually cost up to $200 and it is worth every penny.

    3. If you are a techie, a Google search will tell you how to format your own books. If you are not, like me, PAY a formatter, you will never regret it. This usually costs between $30-50.

    4. Change the title of your blog to your name, or something recognizable re: your writing, and shift your blogging focus to something your readers (not writer friends) will find interesting. David Gaughran has THE “one indie writer’s journey” site. The rest of us need not apply, and other indie writers make terrible fans.

    5. Offer your book as a Createspace paperback (this is NOT vanity publishing, it’s POD) and sign up as a Goodreads author. Then do a GR giveaway.

    I have rambled enough but again, email me at stephDOTabbott1ATgmailDOTcom if you need more specifically. I really hope you give it a go.

    • Terry Tyler says:

      Stephanie has certainly filled in some blanks – and for me, thanks! – I hadn’t heard of Indie Writers Unite! It’s so interesting how it’s different for everyone. I don’t know how much difference it makes with us being on different continents – all I can say, Susannah, is that without Twitter I would have got nowhere.

      I’ve just had a quote for formatting (I get mine done by a friend, but we ran into trouble so I put some feelers out just in case) and was quoted £80 (maybe cheaper in US, Stephanie!), but it HAS to be done properly, so worth finding someone decent – I know this guy’s work is.

      I hadn’t heard of David Gaughran either!! So I’ll be looking at that blog post too, thanks! The other one I’d recommend generally is Scott Bury. Oh, and The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe by Jeff Bennington. It was reading that, that helped me with my free promotion and finally got me ‘out there’

      I couldn’t agree more about the focus of the blog! Oh dear – a Twitter friend of mine writes on a weekly basis (used to be daily, I had to subtly try to make her stop) about her ‘journey’ (puke) with her 2nd book – she’s not a best-selling author, she’s only got one book out, so who cares? Notably, she gets very few comments on it. And never, ever blog about writing tips until you’re a best-seller – I’ve seen a few of these!

      I’m getting quite excited about this now… ditto, is my email

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