Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rejection and the Economy

Yesterday I received a form email rejection that made me pause. Usually, a form rejection includes something to the effect of, "We weren't excited enough about your story idea," etc., etc. But this one said something different.

It referenced the poor economy as a reason for the rejection, stating that they must be extremely selective in what projects they pursue because of the poor economic conditions in the world today.

I guess that makes sense and I can see where they're coming from. But I wonder if it's really necessary to put it in the rejection. If a story idea is really good, does it matter if the economy is bad or not?

What do you think?

25 comments:

  1. I know what they are talking about. My agent was very clear to me that the market had completely changed. Even just a year ago, you could have a not quite ready MS be picked up and be edited vigorously by an editor. But with the marketplace being bad, the editors are being extremely tight on acquisitions and if a MS looks like it needs more work, they will err on the side of not acquiring it. Keep in mind with all the layoffs that have happened, all the editors are overworked. My agent sent back my revision a few months back and said he would not send it out cause it was not ready and I needed to go back to the drawing board. I am hearing from several other agented authors that their agents have advised them to hire a good freelance editor to help get their MS in perfect shape. My agent advised the same thing.

    So yeah, the market is definitely affecting the publishing community and us writers is a major way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with you. Maybe they think that by mentioning the economy a rejected writer won't take the rejection quite so personally.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel so much better now. I got a similar rejection myself today. Lovely words about my writing followed by a section about the difficult market at the moment. I'm unpublished and I should imagine taking on an unpublished author is a gamble at the best of times but in a recession, who's going to gamble?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hugs on the rejection. A good story should be a good story and therefore published. However, publishers are being very, very cautious at the moment. Scary stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ell, thanks for chiming in. It's good to hear it from an industry-insider on what's going on. Yeah, I knew the economy had affected the publishing world, but never thought they would put it in a rejection letter as a reason for a rejection. New times we're living in!

    Debs - That's my thought, too. And I admit, it made me feel a LITTLE better. ;-)

    Hi Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by! Agreed - in a recession, people are playing close to the vest everywhere - not a lot of gambling going on. I just figure that this, too, shall pass.

    Shirley - I'm hoping that someone will think it's a good story and publish it, recession or not! Gotta think positive, right? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry about the rejection. I have heard some similar things as well regarding cutting back. Hopefully the economy will swing back the other way soon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's interesting to hear. I'm not sure how economy plays into everything. I'm hoping that a good story will sell whether it's tight or not. We'll see!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Amy! Thanks for stopping by. I'm hoping the economy will get better soon, too. It's really scary right now for everyone, I think. I wonder if self-publishers have seen an increase in orders since publishers are cutting back?

    Jody - I'm hoping the same - that a good story will sell regardless of the economy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I could see the economy affecting the business, but my opinion is that they should leave it out of the rejection letters. It really doesn't speak much to the manuscript at hand; I'd rather see a one sentence specific.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think telling an author they are rejected due to the economy is a cop out on their part.

    I am sorry about your rejection, though, no matter the reason.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Joanne - I agree. I'd much rather see a sentence as to the writing rather than the economy. ;-)

    Amy - I tend to agree with you on this. I was surprised to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would not like seeing that as the reason--we are all dealing with enough economy issues. Tell me my story is awful or not good enough and I can deal with that:)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Terri - Very well put. I think I would much rather know if my story was good or bad, too. That is a lot more helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  14. either it is getting harder or I'm getting worse because my rate of agents asking for more has gone way down n the last year.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hmm, I've thought a lot about this and I tend to think that if something is really good, the economy shouldn't matter. During the Great Depression, folks were still willing to pay 5 cents (or whatever it was!) for a can of COke. People will still purchase "relief" items. The entertainment industry proves this. I think books are one of those comfort items folks will spend money on if it is a good story.

    ReplyDelete
  16. They may just be using it as a different form rejection. They must realise how the same old same old can get bored and tired, so it might just give them a bit of variety. If they're rejecting as many as they claim they reject, I think in a lot of cases it will just be another form.

    Saying that, though, there is also a possibility that they're telling the truth. And if they've got no money, then they've got no money, whether it's a good story or not.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Travis - Interesting. I don't think you're getting worse - if anything, I think you're improving your craft. So I think the economic times may definitely have something to do with the rejections.

    Heidi, I completely agree. If the story is good, then it should find a home somewhere. :-)

    Diane - Could be that they're using it in such a way - but to me, it tends to be more of an excuse to not look at your work. I dunno. I feel a bit torn on this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  18. From what I hear from folks in the industry, the economy is making a difference. Many editors have been laid off; publishing houses have had their budgets cut. There's less money to acquire, less money for promotion. If an editor brings on a project that doesn't pencil out, that could be the end of his/her job at that house. What I've heard is that, as a result, editors aren't taking many chances. This doesn't just affect debut authors; it's affecting previously published folks, too. If our previous sales aren't good enough, chances are our next books won't get picked up. (Whether or not the book itself was any good doesn't matter as much as those sales figures.)

    It's a nail-biting time for everyone. So in regard to citing the economy as a reason for rejection, it may well be sincere.

    That said, I agree that it's always more helpful to get personalized feedback on the story itself. Unfortunately, form rejections are the norm.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Christine - Oh, I have no doubt that the economy is making a difference in the publishing biz, too. I subscribe to Publisher's Lunch and have seen some of the massive job losses in the industry.

    I guess I just question whether it's a good idea to put it in a rejection letter. I'm still not sure.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Maybe they are just trying to be as honest and up front as they can be? Me and my agent parted company because of the economic downturn (my timing has always sucked lol). Sad but true. And of course you want feedback on your baby. Just keep those submissions out there and, frankly, forget the Rs unless they contain useful information.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Toni - That could certainly be true. I was just astonished to see the economy as one of the reasons for the rejection. A new thing for me!

    ReplyDelete
  22. So sorry to hear about the rejection. An R is tough whatever the reasons. I know what you mean about wondering whether the current economic climate should have even been mentioned. It sort of feels like they've jumped on the bandwagon and used it as an excuse and not a reason. Sending hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congratulations on the car, the birthday (happy b-day!), the leisure time, and yes, the rejection.

    I know rejections suck but I promise you, you'll look back on this one and be grateful. Yes, the economy sucks but I agree with you, if the book's great, it's worth it. Perhaps this specific person/company wasn't the right fit for your vision. When that someone comes along, you'll know and they will too and this rejection and any others will have been stepping stones to get you where you're supposed to be. Hang in there. Your time is coming.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sue - Strangely enough, I haven't been too heartbroken by the rejections. I figure it will happen in God's time, not mine, though that is hard to remember!

    Hi L.T! Thanks for the kind words. I'm just going to keep plugging away. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hang onto the manuscript. Someday the economy will be strong again.

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear from you!

It's Time

I've had this blog for over 10 years. But I'm finding that I go to it less and less. Maybe it's the death of blogging that broug...