Rejections are part of the deal. Everyone who discusses pro or semi-pro writing says this (and if they don’t, they’re selling something). If you submit, you’re going to get rejected, and it’s probably going to happen repeatedly. It happens for any number of reasons: the piece isn’t a good fit, it’s just not to the editor’s taste, it’s good but it’s competing with other pieces that are better, or–and this sucks but for a lot of the time and for a lot of people it’s unfortunately true–what you submitted just wasn’t as spectacular as you thought it was when you banged it out.
If you’re going to keep submitting, rejections are something that has to be prepared for and dealt with, as much as either of these things is possible. Everyone’s coping mechanisms are different, but here are the things that I find work best for me when I’m facing the classic “Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, we have decided not to accept…” response.
1. Let yourself be upset. No one likes getting these things. What it amounts to is “sorry, you weren’t good enough for us” and that is never a nice thing to hear, no matter how gently phrased. And rejection slips tend to not be gently phrased. They’re usually not harsh, but with the sheer number of them that editors have to send out, they don’t have the time or the energy to be responsible for tender author feelings. It stings. That’s okay. Allow some time to let it sting. That said, don’t wallow in it. Allow some time, but be strict in the amount of time allowed. Once it’s up, let it go.
“Upload”, a short work of F/F erotic cyberpunk, to Circlet Press’s Queerpunk anthology. Don’t know yet when exactly the release date will be, but they said sometime in the next three months, so will naturally update when there’s more to say.
Not going to do an essay-thinger this week, since somehow I seem to have gotten sucked into editing two separate things (one shortly to be published, one not yet submitted), starting another short story, and there’s also still the novel I’m co-writing. And none of this is technically my day job, which also needs my attention. So in the interests of not being a bad grad student, I’m instead offering this excerpt of the thing I’m polishing for publication: my erotic m/m fantasy novelette Hieros, which I just got back from my editor. The story in question concerns two young friends who find themselves thrown together in a mysterious ritual, which has the potential to change their relationship forever.
Hieros will be released in (hopefully) the next few weeks, by Liquid Silver Books.
NSFW bit under the cut.
At some point I’ll have something in here besides these things. A lot of projects are on a kind of hold right now, where things are happening, but nothing concrete enough for me to talk about it explicitly. One anthology I have a story in is waiting on a release, my novelette Hieros is being put through the editing process, and I’m waiting to hear back about a number of things. And I’m working on a number of others.
But in the meantime, here’s something true: I’m afraid to stop writing.
It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time I just wrote whenever I felt like it, which wasn’t always often. There was a longish period where it pretty much didn’t happen at all, and back then it didn’t especially trouble me. But now I’m afraid to stop. I keep up with my minimum daily wordcounts, I set time aside for writing (usually in the morning these days; not quite sure how that happened), and a lot of it is motivated by a work ethic that I try to cultivate, and a lot of it is motivated by deadlines, but I think a significant portion of it is actually about fear.
I use a pseudonym. I thought about it some before I decided to do it, but not that long–to some degree I’ve been using one for years, a nickname that I kind of adopted and prefer when it comes to my life online, and my pen name grew out of a mixture of that and a name that my father supposedly wanted to give me, though I’m still not sure how much of the latter was a joke.
I’m not alone in this by any means, especially when it comes to those of us who write erotica. I’m in graduate school, I hope very much to publish scholarly work and I felt it was important, if I was going to be publishing erotic fiction as well, to at least draw a kind of line in the sand–I am establishing that there’s this me and then there’s this other me, and they do different things, and in some ways they’re almost different personae. I have no real issue regarding whether or not people in my academic life discover the stuff I write and publish, but it’s important to me that that line in the sand be there regardless, because the differentiation is important to me personally. It’s not about some idea of professionalism, and it’s certainly not about shame–I’m honestly not completely sure of the deeper reasons why. It simply feels right to me.