*Warning. I am writing this blog through a mouthful of chocolate. Unfortunately it is still too early to hit the wine.*
The email finally dropped into my inbox just after lunch today, a mere 11 months after submission.
Dear Rosered (it didn't begin)
Thank you for submitting ‘The Scandalous Debutante' for our consideration.
Whilst we appreciate the care and attention that has gone into the preparation of your submission, regrettably we feel that your story and characters are not sufficiently developed for publication in any of our publishing programmes.
Recognise it? I did. It is the exact same letter I got two years ago for my embarrassing first submission. I thought I had improved but turns out I have progressed exactly nowhere. What I found so difficult this time was that this was "the one". Rewrite after rewrite, then taken to last year's York Festival of Writing where I received feedback from a M&B editor good enough to make me float for a week afterwards. She loved the hero! She said I have a voice! I took all her comments and guidance on board and rewrote one last time before submitting it. Directly. Because I got a business card and a request to submit directly. More floating. Then a long, long wait.
Throughout the last year I have managed to use the NV and SYTYCW experiences positively because I had those amazing comments to sustain me. Rejecting my Nano or hastily written NV piece was fine, understandable even, but this one, this one they might take (very secret dream). Or if not I would get the crucial personal "keep trying" rejection (publicly admissible dream). But I got a standard R instead. It wasn't worth feedback.
On the dimly bright side I have worked very hard since I submitted eleven long months ago. The bruising, learning experiences of NV, Nano and SYTYCW. The course. Membership of NWS. A completed (and discarded) novel. Crit partners.
So what next? I have a decision to make. I need to submit something for NWS in three months. Do I
a. Carry on with my RIVA (1st draft started, plotted out) and keep submitting to M&B
b. Carry on with my standard R historical (quarter written) and try marketing it elsewhere.
Obviously there is a c. Both of the above option but not before July. And with time to write so very, very hard-won I just can't waste time on a project with no chance of success.
A writing friend has an inspirational list of successful, bestselling writers who were rejected not just once, or twice or even three times but many times before they made it. They did make it. One day I want to see my name added to that list.