Guest Post by Scott Carruba
The Mass of Rejections
I have been doing the #IGWritersOct, which, ironically, is primarily an Instagram thing, but hey, let’s think outside the box. It has been an interesting effort, and today’s prompt is “RIP: Rejection stories”. I have a lot of those.
The first time I ever formally submitted was back in the early 90’s. I was in the throes of basically churning out pages and pages that were deeply derivative of Lovecraft’s work. I will call them weird fiction, but they were really more my finding my own voice within the appreciation of another author.
This was back in the days before the internet, and I was mailing off my submissions to various magazines. I never got published this way, though I came close once. One of them asked me to cut a story down a great deal, and I labored over it, finally getting to the length they wanted only for them to reject it a second time.
I did not submit again until some years later, throwing together a query letter for a novel. I had a copy of the Writer’s Market if I recall correctly, and this thick, hardbound book set me back a decent amount. I put together many letters, SASE’s (how many people today even know what those are?), and the envelopes upon envelopes I licked. I went to the local post office with stacks of sealed-up hopes. I received letters from most of these, and none of them were successful.
I then tried again sometime later with another novel. This one epic, beastly in size (nearly a thousand pages), and I tried sending my queries this time to agents and publishers. As before, I received many replies, mostly all form letters, all rejections.
I let my interest subside. I still wrote, though not as much. It took more than a decade for me to realize I had nearly abandoned a great creative love of my life. I remember driving up to Barnes & Nobles once, and I turned off my car and sat there. I looked at the store, and I thought of all the books in there. None of them were written by me. I felt a wave of depression hit me. My fairly routine desire to go in and find something new to read had fled and all I could think about was my own lack of publication. I left.
Fortunately, I found new inspiration and wrote my current series (still working on the third). I was lucky enough to find a publisher, and now you can find my books out there if you are so inclined. And I hope you are.
Scott Carruba is a creative writer from Houston, Texas, possessed of a Philosophy degree and a unquenchable imagination. He has written pages upon pages of poetry, short stories, and various longer tales. He currently has published Dance of the Butterfly and Sword of the Butterfly.
Photo by: Dương Trần Quốc