Wedding Woes

Sending up the Baconsmom bat signal.

Dear Prudence,
While he has a full-time job, my boyfriend considers himself a writer first. He’s had shorter works published and just spent two years on his first novel. He sent the first chapter to numerous publishers only to get rejections or no response at all. He’s just gotten rejected by the one publisher who asked to read the whole novel. Each rejection is painful to him, and the whole thing has left him devastated and questioning his passion. I’m trying to be supportive, but don’t know enough about the industry to offer helpful advice. Given the state of publishing nowadays, I always thought it may be a long shot even though he’s talented. He was just starting on a second novel, but says he’s giving up if this first one doesn’t go anywhere—that it’s not worth the time and effort. What’s the best way for me to support him through this, and is there any advice you’d give to him?

—He’s Losing Hope

Re: Sending up the Baconsmom bat signal.

  • I read somewhere that Piers Anthony sent his first manuscript to every publisher, from A to Z straight through the alphabet, until he found someone who wanted to publish him.

    I've never tried to get any of my writing published, but I've done plenty of research on the subject because one day, I'd like to be.  It's not impossible, but it's certainly difficult, which is why there are more and more authors self-publishing.  If BF's only aim is to get his voice heard, not profit from his work, that might be an avenue to start with.  If he's writing only for the recognition and whatever profits may come... Well, fall down 7 times, get up 8.

    I am sure he is discouraged, but if writing is truly his passion, if I were LW, I would continue to encourage it.  It is worth the time and effort if BF finds the act writing and story-telling fulfilling.  Just because the market doesn't seem to exist now doesn't mean it never will.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    short+sassySP29
  • Rejection is hard on any level, but when you're put down with something you're passionate about it seems to hit harder.

    LW needs to remind her bf that many classics were denied before getting published and he needs to keep going. Maybe start a blog - get the story out there and people interested, that way the publisher knows there is already a following.
    short+sassy
  • I am pretty sure you can self publish through amazon. I have never done it but I have a friend who published a children's book that way. I think 
    charlotte989875cowgirl8238short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • I publish academic writing so a different thing; that said this field is hard. The most common answer you will ever receive is no. Yes it sucks to pour years of work into something and have it rejected, but that's the business. I just had a piece R&R (revise and resubmit, which still is likely to be rejected) that I've been working on for roughly 4 years. 

    I feel for the LW and the BF, but at the same time, this is the deal you sign up for. You research, write, get rejected, make edits, send it out again, keep improving until someone does publish it. You have to have a thick skin. 
    cowgirl8238PrettyGirlLostshort+sassy
  • Maybe he's not a great writer?  Maybe the subject of the novel is unappealing or the plot has issues?

    Writing is an art, and like any art form you need to seek feedback from others so that you can refine and improve.  He should consider going to some workshops, get involved in a writers' group, take some classes, and solicit actual feedback from others.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • This could be another "The Beginning of the End" (Missy Flow) classic! He should totally self-publish. 
    mrsconn23MNNEBride
  • *Barbie* said:
    This could be another "The Beginning of the End" (Missy Flow) classic! He should totally self-publish. 
    SITMFB - @mrsconn23 - if you have TBOTE, PRETTY PLEASE send it to me! We didn't do the secret satan this year and at this rate, i may never get to read it in full. 
  • I'm in the camp of tell him you support whatever direction he wants to go. If he gives it up, don't push him to continue.
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • *Barbie* said:
    *Barbie* said:
    This could be another "The Beginning of the End" (Missy Flow) classic! He should totally self-publish. 
    SITMFB - @mrsconn23 - if you have TBOTE, PRETTY PLEASE send it to me! We didn't do the secret satan this year and at this rate, i may never get to read it in full. 
    I think GBCK has it.  And also, no secret satan has given me the sadz.  We need to reinstate it next year. 
  • I do--and it gave me the saz that I haven't shared it...it does need to make the rounds again
    mrsconn23cowgirl8238
  • I mean this is like not making it onto American Idol basically. Me thinks he needs to drop the Jack kerouac writers facade and just grind. 
    image
    PrettyGirlLostOurWildKingdom
  • I mean this is like not making it onto American Idol basically. Me thinks he needs to drop the Jack kerouac writers facade and just grind. 
    Or take the hint and go solicit feedback to see WHY no one is interested in your novel.  Baconsmom should email him her post, lol.

    When I was taking my studio art courses we had critiques several times a week.  It can be very valuable to get feedback from others, especially our professors who had been arting far longer than we had and kind of knew what they were doing.  Classmate comments were hit or miss for useability ;-)

    Like Baconsmom said, novels are a saturated field and not only are there a ton of writers already out there, but there are a lot of shitty writers out there. . . I can't tell you how any times I read a New York Times Best Seller or Oprah's Book Club hit or "The next Gone Girl" and think, well that was pretty meh- plot was predictable, characters cliche, etc.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
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