Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My First Taste of Rejection

Monday night I signed into my email account and low and behold I sat glaring at an email from an agent. I wanted to check it immediately--but I was too scared. I feared it might be a "no". I didn't know what to do so I left it there. I chickened out and left the email unopened in my inbox. I thought it safer to assume it was a "no" rather open it and confirm it. Besides, how many people actually get a yes on their first query letter? Not many I imagined so I thought it a safe assumption that mine was a "no" as well. I checked my Facebook account. I walked away. But a few minutes later, I had to know. So I reopened my email account and clicked the email open before my brain had a chance to register exactly what it was I was doing.

I read "We are sorry...."--rejection letter. Not just any rejection letter. A FORM rejection letter. The rejection stung enough but after sitting and thinking about it for a little bit I realized I have no way of knowing what they didn't like. I just got a standard "we don't want you" which isn't to say I blame the agency. They are busy but it just leaves me to wonder whether it was my query or my idea. With a form rejection letter, I have no clue. It could be that I just didn't sell my book well enough in the query letter or it could be that the book isn't good enough or good right now. I don't know.

So I'll tell you what I'm doing, on the advice of some very good people I follow on Twitter. I am:

-remembering that it only takes one "yes" per @KarenMusings (so I'm resubmitting my query to other agents and giving them the chance to say "yes" :)
-recognizing that it does get easier per @BookEmDonna (I just need to do it more often)
-and carrying on and improving my craft per @LStrongin (I love writing and luckily the only way to get better at writing is to write so I'm focusing on that instead of the rejection).

Not that the first rejection doesn't sting the most but this is all very good advice and I'm choosing to follow it--dealing with the rejection one sting at a time. It's kind of like what they say about beekeepers. Some of them get stung so much they become immune to it. Here's to hoping I get immune to the sting of query rejection letters.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson: A Review

By Stieg Larsson
Copyright 2010
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Cost $27.95

I read and enjoyed The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest but not in the same way I enjoyed Larsson's other two novels.

In this novel, we find Lisbeth Salander hospitalized following injuries she suffered at the hands of her father. But in typical Salander fashion, her father suffered equally from the damage she inflicted upon him. The novel continues where the second novel left off---with Salander accused of multiple murders. This novel however follows Lisbeth Salander as her guilt or innocence is proven and she tries to regain her life---pre-guardianship, pre-psychiatric evaluations, and pre-Zalachenko.

One thing this novel has working for it is that it is familiar. Salander is still silent but deadly. Blomkvist still sticks his nose into his stories well beyond that of a reporter. It even continues to ring of Larsson and his penchant for detail--right down to the type of sandwich his characters eat and when.

What works against this novel, and is completely different from the others, is the beginning. It opens with too much background information. The beginning of the novel consists of either a flashback in time or a description of events that occurred in the second novel. If you've already read the other two novels, like me, then the beginning tends to drag. If you haven't read the other two novels then the information will seem unnecessary in order to enjoy the book (per a friend of mine). I found myself waiting for the book to catch up to present day and take me on the adventure I knew lay in store.

And thankfully it did....eventually. And when it did, it became the page turner that made the first two novels bestsellers. Overall, I would definitely recommend the book but buyer beware you will need a dose of patience to reap the benefits of a good read.
I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Happy Reading!

I'd love to hear what you think. Have you read it? What did you think? Am I on point or completely off in space somewhere? Of course, I mean with the review. I already know I'm off in space with everything else.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Do You Compare?

Upon hearing this question, the writers out there are either thinking "I can't help but to compare another writer's success or style to that of my own" OR "absolutely NOT". But I'm not talking about comparing whether one writer got an agent or not, how fast an agent was acquired or how many query rejection letters one writer got compared to another. I'm speaking purely as a reader.

I find that when I read two young adult novels back to back, I instantly compare. And one doesn't live up to the other. Dare I say it....but I enjoy one of the books less than if I had read a crime fiction novel in between the two young adult novels. It's almost as if one of the novels isn't getting a fair shake or review. Subconsciously, I think the main character of this novel drips of likable sarcasm while this one falls flat. When in reality, they are both great, strong female characters---just different. Or it could be the story line. The list of comparisons goes on.

After I discovered my bias I decided I would never read the same genre back to back. That has thus solved my problem. But I want to take a poll.

Do you read books in the same genre back to back? Does it affect how you feel about either novel? Or can you form an opinion of both novels completely separate from each other?