Should rejection of a piece of writing arrive mere hours after submission, or after months of waiting?
I submitted the same novel to two publishers, one in the UK and one in Canada. The UK publisher is a new enterprise, the Canadian one a press that has been going for years. The UK publisher rejected and notified within a day. I’m still waiting for the Canadian publisher. It’s been 79 days.
I think a month or three of waiting is preferable to a rejection by return e-mail. The latter suggests to me that only the query letter has been read and perhaps not all of that. I purchased a query letter assessment from Writers Digest and the doctored version is the one I send.
Noah Lukeman, in The First Five Pages, states that agents and editors are looking for reasons to reject, beginning with the presentation and will only read those first five pages. If they can’t find anything there, they will move on to page 99 or read other random selections.
His book details the reasons for rejection and proposes solutions. Each chapter ends with exercises to address the problems.
So what should I do?
Take the first chapter to my critique group? Done.
Ask writing teachers to assess it? Done.
Revise and rewrite? Done.
Ask a beta-reader’s opinion? Done.
I’ve considered posting the first chapter online at Wattpad and inviting comments, but hesitate because some publishers won’t look at anything that has been published in part by others, even oneself.
Should I decide that the manuscript belongs in a drawer? Perhaps, but not yet. I have a few weeks until I want to start serious revision of my work-in-progress, and I think that I will spend them revising A Child for the Taking. Noah Lukeman’s book will be my guide this time.