One of the things I love about this blog is the conversations it starts. Jodie Griffin, one of my Carina Press stable-mates (whinnies) said she thought I should touch on not giving up on editing, too. I invited her to guest post and here she is!
Yesterday, Jeffe posted a great blog about over-editing a book. Today, I want to talk about the other side of that.
Don’t give up too easily.
Let me take this to a personal level. Forbidden Fantasies, my first Carina Press title and my first published story ever, was rejected by Spice Briefs. Form rejection, no suggestions as to why, nothing. I put it aside and worked on some other projects, but it was never far out of my mind.
I submitted two other stories to different Harlequin lines, both of which were rejected. At this point, I was seriously questioning my writing skills and wondering if the stress of raising a family, working a full-time job, and trying to get published was worth it. But Forbidden Fantasies wouldn’t let me go, and I started to fiddle with it again.
I deleted a lot. I added new stuff. And then I let it sit. I was considering some other publishers, but just wasn’t sure if I was brave enough to try again, and then Harlequin ran a Carina Press pitch contest. I submitted my two-paragraph blurb and was chosen as one of five to pitch my story to Angela James. I was crazy nervous, but Angela was wonderful. When I finished my pitch, she asked to see the full manuscript. I was elated and terrified at the same time. My fabulous critique partners helped me make sure it was as clean as could be, and I sent it in.
You’d think the story about not giving up would end here, since Forbidden Fantasies was published in March, but you’d be wrong. Because rather than a sale, I got a revise and resubmit request. In a way, a rejection, but the best possible kind of rejection. We like it, but it needs work. If you’re willing to try to fix it, we’re willing to look at it again.
I felt like I’d won the lottery. Deborah Nemeth, my editor, had incredible ideas on ways to strengthen and expand the story. I took my time, played around with it, got advice from my crit partners, and (holding the longest breath I’ve ever held) sent it back in again.
And this time, I got an offer. The editing and revising didn’t end there by any stretch, but now it was being guided by Deb, a wonderful editor who understood what I was trying to say and helped me make sure I was getting that across.
Forbidden Desires will be my second story with Carina Press, and it’s coming out in November. And guess what? It was also rejected by Spice Briefs, same as the first story. Form rejection, no explanation, nothing to tell me why. To submit it to Carina Press, I changed it from first person to third person, and used everything I’d learned from the editing process with Forbidden Fantasies to make it stronger. It sold without a revise and resubmit, but I would’ve been fine with that, too.
I loved Jeffe’s don’t over-edit advice, and I really agree with it. But there’s definitely a fine line between that and giving up. I’d hate to see someone give up after their first rejection. If you truly believe in your story, you owe it to yourself to try more than once. It’s a chance I’m glad I took.
About Jodie Griffin:
Jodie writes naughty tales about nice girls & the men who love them. She loves chocolate, happily-ever-afters, and alliterative titles, and could seriously use more hours in every day. You can find Jodie on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and at www.jodiegriffin.com.