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Exits and Entrances

As I countdown to the release of To Love An Irishman on March 17th, I reflect on my past rejections. One in particular comes to mind from Harlequin. Believe it or not, that was the first place I queried my first novel. They helped me without realizing it.

Well, like anyone who has achieved success despite their failures, I only aimed to the sky and fell among the stars. Believe me, it sounded better than it came out. When I sent the well-researched query letter, a synopsis, and a partial for The Phantom of Fonthill Abbey to the big name publisher, I felt confidence seeping through my being. I knew that if I didn't try as hard as I can the first time around, then if there was another time, it wouldn't be as rewarding.

Needless to say, they rejected the story saying "Although the plot sounded promising from the synopsis, the story itself was rather slow to get going." I agreed that I am a very descriptive person, and I use detail like mist around my characters. After all, my new brand is 'Beautiful landscapes, passionate love, and regrets of the past.' I absolutely have to live up to it, right?

They mentioned my heroine, Elizabeth, "was a little hard to engage with because she seemed so very young and naive." I loved a woman going into a situation without knowledge of how her actions could affect her world. Now my heroines are too smart for their own good. In which, I love completely!

Then they included 4 tips "to bear in mind for your next submission":
1) Ensure that your story and conflict are character-driven.
2) Focus on the internal emotional conflict of your characters.
3) Use secondary characters to add richness and depth to your central romance but don't let them take over!
4) Read current books from the Historical Romance series as these provide the best guide to what our readers want.

The final words. "As a whole, we don't suggest that you attempt to revise this story. We would advise that you start again on a new story, bearing in mind the points made above."

To tell the truth, not all rejections are bad. Some offer great advice like mine and others will actually empower you to succeed even more. I didn't revise this story, instead I wrote another and another....

Do you have any rejection stories to share? Feel free to tell us in a comment below.

Happy writing!
-Diva J.

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Alexa said...

I got a rejection like that a few years ago on my first contemporary. I'd been writing suspense for so long it took A LOT for me to try contemporary. Te editor's comments were right on the money, though, and I'm so very thankful for them!

Diva J. said...

Alexa, genre changing does take a lot to get used to. Especially if you're used to writing one thing.

Rejections can be empowering or detrimental, but I'm glad they've helped you along the way. Those are the best kind.

-Diva J.

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