Friday, August 20, 2010

Balancing Subjective Opinions!

I am on my first round of editor submission and a few rejections have hit the inbox.  Unlike my query rejections, I am finding that editors give substantial and thought-provoking reasons for passing on your manuscript.  There is no blanket rejection language such as "I did not connect with the voice" or the rather vague "it is simply not right for us."

Now, being obsessed with spread sheets and anything else organizational-based, I have taken these few rejections and outlined the reasons, seeking a common thread with which to re-evaluate my ms.  There in lies my problem – there is not common thread. 

The right side of my brain fully understands that the decision to take on a manuscript is completely, 100% a subjective decision – either the book resonates with you or it does not.  But the left side wants to hack it up and piece it back together in an attempt to address the issues above.  Besides the fact that I am pretty sure my agent would kill me, I am not sure it can be done.

Each editor had a wholly different reason for saying no.   What one editor saw as a major flaw the other had no problem with.  Can you address all the  issues in one sweeping edit or do you end up with three different versions of the same book each trying to address the very subjective opinion of one editor?  At what point are you writing your story to please one person?   And then do you run the risk of contaminating the underlying theme of the book an a futile attempt to add-in scenes, dialogue, and content to rectify an issue that only one editor sees as a problem?

Arghhhhhh . . . I haven’t felt this confused about my MS since my days in Query Hell!


  1. That is very confusing! It just further proves that writing is subjective. What one person likes, another doesn't. It's a capricious business, trying to get published!

    Follow your heart. You know your MS better than anyone. Trust yourself and your writing.

    Meanwhile, see my blog post today! ( It's stats about 14 famous writers and their rejection numbers. It might boost your spirits a little bit and inspire you to work through your confusion today!

    Good luck, Trisha!

  2. The nice thing about being on submission is the kind, encouraging ways your agent couches those rejections.

    You've got a cheerleader on your side who believes in your work. Let that bolster you!!

    Still, I so relate to the agony...

  3. I like what my agent said, unless you start getting the SAME or SIMILAR feedback from 2 or 3 editors, you usually don't worry about doing a revision. Especially if they didn't ask for one. So unless your agent is asking you to do a revision, I think you just take it for what it's worth: an opinion. Hope you get great news soon!

  4. I wish I had some excellent advice for you, but I am at a loss. I know it's a subjective field, but I understand the frustration. Good luck!

  5. You have already figured out the most important thing: it only takes one editor who falls in love with your book to make it a published reality. Sometimes the subjective quality of the industry is so frustrating but when you find that editor who loves it, this will all be worth it. Keep plugging away!!!

  6. Trish, I love that you're chronicling these events as they happen. You are ahead of me in the publishing game and I love that I get to see the future (so to speak) with what to expect. Your journey gives me a peek at what may lie ahead.
    And it's all so maddening!
    But I'm sure you'll reach your goal soon. Best of luck!!!!!!

  7. It does seem confusing. It just seems so unnatural to re-write to meet the needs of someone else entirely. A few adjustments here and there are one thing, but to have to rework a huge amount and change the book...I just don't know where my heart would be for that.

    You will succeed with what it is that you are looking for, it just takes time. Best wishes.

  8. Wow, that actually sounds a lot more scary that querying agents! But a lot more exciting too, because you at least you know a professional (your agent) is backing you all the way! Don't freak out, it'll be ok.