This Rejection

Back in April, I submitted a poetry collection to a publisher I admire during an open-reading period and started the waiting process for a response. They said they’d be in touch at the end of the summer and, true to their word, they sent me what seems to be a form letter today letting me know they’re not interested in purchasing the manuscript.

In this business, that’s just how that goes. Every rejection from a publisher is a bit of progress. “Does this manuscript fit this one publisher?” we ask and then, weeks or months later, we get an answer. Now I know. So it goes.

The question now is “What’s next?”

The answer is “I dunno.”

I could submit the book someplace else but I don’t really know that many modern poetry publishers and making the time to research that probably isn’t in the cards for a few months.

I could publish the book myself for the dozen-or-so humans who want to read it but that would mean (a) that the poems inside probably wouldn’t be eligible for first appearances in literary magazines, (b) that the poems probably wouldn’t be eligible for awards later because they haven’t been vetted by an editor (or other gate-kept, FWIW), and (c) that I would probably lose money on the time spent designing and formatting the book for ten or twelve sales.

So, these poems probably go back into a drawer for six or twelve months until I forget about then and then remember they’re in there, revise them into better works, add some new poems to the mix, and maybe try again someday. Some of them are pretty okay but poetry’s a rough market and it’s hard for me to justify working more on that book right now—and it needs work.

To all of you who read or volunteered to read those poems: Thank you! It’s time for them to sleep for a while but maybe someday they’ll come out and play again.

“First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not … Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent … Finally, don’t worry about imagination. You have all the imagination you need … Persist.”
from “Furor Scribendi” by Octavia Butler (via blackwomensaid)

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My first widely available comics story hits the shelves in August as a part of Jim Zub’s stellar “Tavern Tales Through Time” issue of his exemplary Skullkickers comic! Go and tell your local comic shop that you want this issue — and every trade of Skullkickers — because this series is taking all of us readers on a remarkable and hilarious adventure you don’t want to miss.