Today I got my first rejection letter--of sorts. I had sent a message to an admired member of a forum I frequent, asking her to review my book. Of course, I did it with the hope that she'd honestly like it and have good things to say about my maiden effort. With her "stamp of approval", the other members on the site might say, "Ah, that looks interesting. If she likes it, it's probably pretty decent." Huzzah me, right? Unfortunately, this is what she sent me:
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I can't give it a good review. There is a lot wrong with it still and a bad review would hurt your blossoming career. I do not want to do that to you. I know how hard you've worked. Might I suggest getting a really good editor to give it a go over? The bones are there they are just buried under some issues that someone with an eye for literary detail can sort out fairly easily. I'm more than happy to reread it after it has been re-edited either by you or someone with a little more experience in that department. At which point I'd be happy to give an honest review.Ouch! I have no idea what mistakes are in my book--whether grammar, punctuation, style, or plot--but I thought I went over it pretty well and did all the editing? Does that mean that my writing itself is the mistake, or did I miss something? Pretty stinging for the first rejection. Hard to hear from someone like that that my first attempt at being a novelist fell a bit flat. So how did I handle it? Surprisingly, I handled it pretty well.
Thanks for being honest and telling me that it needs work. I totally understand that it may not be your thing, and that there are parts of it that aren't as good as they could be.I'd have to say that I handled this rejection better than I handled the last one--someone telling me that the entire prologue was written in a style that so annoyed them that they couldn't even read past the first half. That doesn't make the rejection any less tough, but I think I'm getting thicker skin. It's always hard to get that first "No", but now I have, and I'm ready to move on to the next ones. Here's hoping that they're few and far between!