Weirdly Excited

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I submitted Stormgate to a large publisher for consideration. This was my first submittal and I was optimistic that Stormgate was in the best shape that I could make it. Even though it was already in good shape, when the call for manuscripts came, I took an extra week and polished it before submitting. I was rewarded with a brief email saying, “Thank you for your submission,” and a queue position of 51.

In the subsequent weeks, I tracked my progress jump from 51 to 33, then to 28, then 21, then 9. On July 3, I was queue position number 8. It was taking this unnamed publisher approximately a business day to review and decide. Given the holiday, I fully expected that I would be waiting at least another week.

Well, I got my response today.

Thank you so much for submitting to [Redacted], and thank you for your patience while we evaluated your story. Unfortunately, “Stormgate” is not quite right for us. I wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere.

Yay! I just got my first rejection! I’m totally going to frame this and put it on the wall!

Is it weird to be excited about this? I mean, ideally, Stormgate would have sold and I could tell people I was a published author. But at the same time, I feel that a rejection letter still means that I can stop saying “aspiring” before saying I’m an author. I have written and now I have submitted. I am confident in my abilities and I will eventually find my audience, whoever they may be.

The good news is that I’ve rebuilt the links to my sample chapters. I removed them upon submittal, for fear that someone might claim I had self-published these already. I’ll be honest, these sample chapters are drafts and I reserve the right to change them any time I want until the book itself has been published. If you’re curious about what I write, now is a good time to go check them out.

But at the same time, this was the worst possible response. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed in this response, but not for the reasons you’re probably considering. I fully expected a rejection, as this is my first submittal, after all. But I had reached a point where there wasn’t much I could do to Stormgate without some outside, professional help. Which means that a canned rejection letter doesn’t give me anything to go on or give me any indication of what this particular publisher didn’t like.

Oh well, this gives me other opportunities to follow.

Opportunity One:
Stormgate, in its current iteration, is a novella of 36,000 or so words. The first opportunity involves searching for and querying literary agents who specialize in fantasy novellas and get some feedback on the current quality of my writing and whether it is marketable.

Opportunity Two:
Before this submittal opportunity came up, I was in the process of drafting a second story arc that would turn Stormgate into a full-sized novel. This story arc is still a distinct possibility, but I admit that I put it aside while waiting for feedback. Now that I am back where I started, I could just as easily continue down this path and see where it takes me.

Opportunity Three:
Set Stormgate aside and keep working on my Dreamscape project. I would come back to Stormgate after finishing my first draft of Dreamscape and can look at it with fresh eyes.

Opportunity Four:
Drink heavily. I still have a bit of expensive scotch left… Just saying: it’s an option.

Okay, so three out of four of those are doable. Heck, two of them are even doable at the same time. No, not the drinking and the writing, although I could see an argument for that… I was thinking options one and three, especially since querying agents, just like querying publishers, is a time-consuming activity.

What do you all think? Are there any opportunities I’m missing out on? What about pitfalls?

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