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Sherry & Leo
Rejected by HM&B
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Thursday, July 13, 2006
Today I received my first rejection letter. HM&B didn't want Leo & Sherry's story. What's more, they so didn't want it that all they afforded me was the standard rejection letter without so much as a name on it.

I can't say I'm surprised; I was never entirely happy with the story. As I've said before (but some of you may not have been around back then), it started life as a 'Modern' but changed to a 'Tender' about half way through. That meant a considerable amount of re-writing, but even when it was finished, the story never really felt right - it just felt as though it was neither one thing or another. But I figured that since I'd written it, sending it off couldn't do any harm. So I did. And here I am, less than two weeks later, thinking "well at least that means I don't have to hang around before I can submit the next one."

I'm really surprised at the speed of their turn around. Everybody said it'd be at least three months before I heard anything but 10 days? Does that mean that somebody read the first page and thought "rubbish", printed off a rejection letter and sent it straight back? Probably.

But looking on the bright side, a standard rejection is the worse possible result so things can either stay the same or improve - they can't get worse!

And as I've always said, life goes on.

Today's link is "Rejection Collection" - the writer's and artist's on-line source for misery, commiseration and sob stories. After reading some of the stories of editors responding to submissions with letters telling the author that his or her work stunk and basically to give up writing, my rejection letter sounded positively... well, positive!


Technorati Tags: Rejection Letters, Mills and Boon, Romance
Posted by Sharon J on 1:27 PM   

Blogger Karen Erickson said...

Sorry Sharon. ;( Rejections hurt.

At least now you know and can move on. Let it spur you on to write something fabulous! I've got the faith. ;)

6:28 PM   

Blogger Elsa said...

I so like your attitude! That's the spirit! And life does go on... and it's so good to know that it only can get better :)) And with that attitude - it will!

7:59 PM   

Blogger Trish said...

Huge ((())) Sharon...

But it may just be that it didn't fit into their current plans for the line. That's all. A lot of it is timing these days.

And now you get to shop it around.... Every story has a home at the right time and place.... or with a bit of a rewrite. And every story is part of the learning curve we all have to take.

You'll get there hun!

8:00 PM   

Blogger Eva said...

I have so many rejection letters I could probably paper one wall of a powder room (leaving three walls for future projects).

I know it's disappointing. Their loss. Keep slugging away.

10:51 PM   

Blogger Julie S said...

Wow Sharon. In my opinion, a first rejection letter is a HUGE rite of passage. I'm actually looking forward to mine! (that's what I like to tell myself anyway...)

It's funny that you said you were never entirely happy with the story. Gut instinct is important in this business. That's why I keep revising my WIP. When you know, you know!

12:43 AM   

Blogger Kate Walker said...

My commiserations Sharon - a rejection always stings - but I don't know any authors without any. I know I have my own collection!

But i know you'll have the courage and the determination to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again!

Have you considered the RNA's New Writers' Scheme - one of the best ways possible to get a professional critique and I'm not just saying that because I read for it!

Good luck with the next - you are going to write a next one aren't you?

9:48 AM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Thanks for the support, all. Knowing there's such a great bunch of writers out there who all care about each other makes it so much easier, doesn't it?

Karen. Believe it or not, it didn't hurt. Maybe I have an exceptionally hard skin or something, I don't know, but things like this have never bothered me much. I just see them as being a part of life's learning curve. If everything went smoothly through life, what would we really learn from it? Thanks for having faith in me, though :-)

Elsa. I'm absolutely certain it'll get better. Sooner or later :)

Trish. I'm sure you're right about timing. My daughter asked me whether I'm going to see if I can find an alternative home for it but no... I'm not happy with the story so I'll just mark that one up to experience.

Eva. I didn't realise you had any rejection letters. I'm definitely keeping mine, although won't be papering the loo wall with them ;-)

Julie. Rite of passage? Hmmm... that's a good way of looking at it. I'll bear that one in mind :)

Kate. I've considered it, but it's simply too expensive for my tight budget to cope with. I know it's all a matter of priorty but I just can't justify spending £90 at the moment.

10:40 AM   

Blogger Debi said...

I think Julie S is spot on!

Please don't be pissed off cos it's me saying this and you might think 'OK for her ...' but I think this is fantastic news! Really! It's like the first step along a road, the length of which you have no idea. The one thing you DO know is that it's one step closer to the point you're heading for when instead of a rejection it's ... PARTY TIME!

5:11 PM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Debi! How could I possibly be pissed off at you?

As I've said, life wouldn't be worth much if everything went smoothly because we'd never learn anything. I'm no less happy today than I was yesterday or the day before. I might be in a right old mood tomorrow but it won't be because of the rejection letter. On the other hand, I might be in a fantastic mood, and that won't be because of it, either.

Life goes on - we live and we learn, and that's exactly how it should be :)

5:28 PM   

Blogger Minx said...

Yep, Debi's on!

File the slips and move on - it's not personal. I like sprouts but not everyone does!!

8:24 PM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Sprouts? Yuk!

I do see what you mean though and agree, a lot of whether or not a book sells is undoubtedly down to whether or not the 'reader' happened to like it or not. Had somebody else picked it up, they may well have felt differently about it. Mind you, in this particular instance, I do doubt it. But who's worrying? Not me! It takes a hell of a lot more than that to get me down.

8:39 PM   

Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

(((Sharon))) I'm so sorry about the rejection. You already have a positive attitude, but here's a reminder for any time you're tempted to waiver:

1. You've actually written a full HMB novel, which means you know you can write! (In the past I only submitted two partials, so I still don't even know that I can write a whole one).

2. You've learnt so much from the process of writing this book, and nothing has gone to waste. There may be bits from Leo & Sherry's story that you can one day reuse in another.

3. You didn't make the biggest mistake ever (like I did). Instead of hanging around waiting for HMB's response you immediately started writing the next. (After my 2nd rejection I let real-life get in the way, and used the rejection as a reason to give up).

4. You are a writer; rejection letters prove it!

I know it's no consolation, but in one of the 'How-to' books I read many years ago (sorry, I can't remember which one - it may have been Mary Wibberley or Jean Saunders) it said that it is rare to achieve publication with a first manuscript, and that we should look at our rejections as our apprenticeship.

From the short time I've known you, I can tell you have what it takes to make it - perseverance. You've already proved in so many ways that you're a fighter and I know that you'll never let a rejection letter stop you.

Onwards and upwards - you're on your way!

9:37 PM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Sue. I'm sure there will be days when I lose my motivation and it's then it'll be good to be able to look back on words like yours and remind myself that all is not lost. Thanks :-)

11:08 PM   

Blogger Cherry Rolfe said...

Nothing is ever lost. (((((()))))))

11:37 PM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Only ever mislaid, Cherry? In this house that's usually under a layer of dust or behind an old crisp bag.

11:41 PM   

Anonymous Kate Hardy said...

Rejections sting, so good on you for taking such a positive attitude. You said yourself that you weren't that happy with it - so you've probably already learned what you'll do differently for your next one.

You mentioned that the RNA NWS is out of your budget - have you thought about getting a critique partner via e-Harlequin? Someone who's focused on the same line so knows what they're talking about BUT also has that little bit of distance so they can give you an honest appraisal. Just a thought.

Keep going. Persistence is one of the most important assets when it comes to publishing.

9:05 AM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Thanks for the support, Kate. I've thought about asking one of the girls from the NWG read the one I'm working on. I've just critiqued hers so I'm sure she'd be happy to do the same for me.

If there's one thing that's certain it's that unless something drastic happens, I shan't be giving up. I love writing too much to not write.

11:42 AM   

Anonymous Richard said...

Sharon J wrote " I just can't justify spending £90 at the moment"

Unless £90's got pointy toes and 3" heels

11:51 AM   

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon, found your post and couldn't resist linking from my own blog, Actually, I think you should be quite pleased that it was a standard "Dear Jane." In my mind, that means you're on the right trajectory to being published!

7:41 PM   

Blogger JM Burns said...

Hi Sharon,
Found your post and couldn't resist linking from my own blog, Actually, I think you should be quite pleased that it was a standard "Dear Jane." In my mind, that means you're on the right trajectory to being published!

7:42 PM   

Anonymous Julie Cohen said...

Sorry to hear about the rejection. I've got 'em, too. And I'm going to join the others in offering you congratulations on achieving this rite of passage as a writer! You can't win unless you keep on submitting and rejections, as much as they suck, are a badge of honour.

9:27 PM   

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Tina P. Schwartz, and I am an author from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, USA. I am writing a book on Writing & Publishing for teens that comes out in 2007, and is due to my editor in two weeks. (I'm going to be in Ireland then for eight days.) I LOVED your post about rejection, and would love to quote you in the book. If you are interested, please contact me via e-mail, or better yet, go to my website and on the "Questionnaire" page, the very end of it has a permission slip you can copy and paste and e-mail to me. You can go to to do so, and/or e-mail me directly at "". I'd love to hear from you asap. I think you're going out of town, but am not sure when that was posted, I'll have to go back and reread. Best wishes on your writing, and HANG IN THERE!! It's just a numbers game, and the law of averages brings you one step closer to an acceptance (with the rejection letter you received); so I say, "Go celebrate!" Best wishes and "happy writing to you". -- Tina P. Schwartz

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