When the Answer is No: Rejection at BlogHer

“Writers must have hides of Kevlar.”
Jerry Jay Carroll

I have pondered whether or not I should write this post. But honestly, I feel I owe you all an answer after posting my intention to try to publish Faces of ALI.

So here’s where I get brutally honest.

I encountered the word “no.” It was presented strongly, multiple times, by a person teaching a class. She has legitimate authority as a published author, she’s famous, she’s friends with important people, etc.

I was told anthologies are of no interest to publishers. I was told this in front of many bloggers and influential people. It was pretty much my worst nightmare, come to life. I have always been so afraid of rejection.

The thing is, I don’t care about becoming a famous author. (And I was told that this book would do nothing to establish me as a “name.” NOT MY POINT!!) I don’t care about making money. I would lose money to spread these stories. I don’t care if I don’t get on The Today Show.

I just want to educate people about infertility, loss and adoption. WHY IS THIS SO VERY HARD TO DO?!?

I learned a lot more about news cycles and why mainstream publications write the pieces they do.

I don’t drink martinis and I’m not a stand-up comedian. I’m terrible at packaging an idea into a snappy elevator pitch. Apparently, that’s what the mainstream media and publishing world want.

Mostly, I just feel bad that I’m letting you all down. I’d gotten so much feedback that Faces of ALI was working. And maybe it has. Maybe it will. Maybe someone else will come out with a great idea that will pierce the silence. Feel free to try! Is anyone a stand-up comedienne? Here’s your chance!

I’ll keep trying. Should I keep trying? I really, really care about this. After all of the negative press about self-publishing, it looks like maybe it’s the best option?

I’m really sorry I don’t have better news.

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25 Comments

Filed under Faces of ALI, getting published

25 responses to “When the Answer is No: Rejection at BlogHer

  1. Any reason why you don’t self-publish it?
    Other than that, check out Duotrope for possible markets.

  2. no is hardly the final answer. you’ve only just begun. and while I know you come from a family of writers, honestly books may be a bit overrated these days. they are expensive to produce and don’t sell too well unless they’re about wizards, vampires or sex. or celebrities.

    there are SO many other ways to publish work with the internet, podcasts, self-publishing, etc. hearing ‘no’ from one person isn’t the end of the story.

  3. I am so sorry for the rejection. Keep trying. In the meantime, put it together as an ebook and sell it on your blog. (or investigate amazon – kindle?)That’s something you have control over. (see my blog: I have an audio series “tap into motherhood” – a creative idea I put together to use emotional freedom techniques to help with infertility)

  4. I call bullshit & frankly that answer pisses me off on your behalf. On all our behalfs. I absolutely think Faces of ALI is publishable and there are many routes to publication. JHC if crap like 50 Shades can get published, sure Faces of ALI can too. You know, there are university presses that might be interested or smaller publishing houses. And self-publishing may be the way. Hell, the founder of Lulu.com lives in Raleigh!

    Don’t give up. Please don’t give up. We’ll find away and when it is published, we’ll all write about it on our blogs and the SEO will be amazing. It will be the long tail in action!

    Sorry to write a novel. I just hate to see you crushed.

  5. Oh no. I know nothing about publishing but this just seem very harsh. Look into other ways of getting it out, as mentioned in the comments above. I believe it can work. I hope you have the energy to look into the options.

  6. I’ve read my way through your Faces of ALI and each story is so incredibly moving. Each one is beautifully written and gives a voice to an important story. I’m so sorry that you heard no – rejection is never nice – but that is just one opinion. Please keep writing these stories and pushing to get them out there.

  7. What’s funny about that advice is that I’ve read 4 books about adoption so far — one of them was an anthology (compiled and annotated so it fit together better), and it was lovely. It was great to hear multiple stories, instead of just one.

  8. When my husband was first applying to law school, he mentioned it to people he knew who were currently there or had recently graduated. A startling number of them were dismissive or disingenuously discouraging– “oh, DON’T DO IT, it’s SO HARD. Dude, you’ll regret it.” He took it personally, thinking, “What, it’s a good choice for you but not for me? You think I can’t handle it, that I’m not as smart as you?” And he went anyways. (He just graduated and is starting a new job today!)

    I HATE when people who do something they enjoy discourage others from doing it. How many of them had their work accepted and published on the first try??? Every published or soon-to-be published writer I know (admittedly, just three people) had rejections before acceptances. And seriously– anthologies EXIST. Someone has published them! Someone has bought them! Chicken Soup for the Friggin’ Soul is a coffee table staple. I just hate the idea of some pompous writer, sprinkling knowledge down on the lucky BlogHer attendees, saying to you, “Oh, this thing that I do? Eh, don’t bother, sweetheart, you can’t hang with the big kids.” Like you’re not good enough to join their hallowed halls. Ugh.

    Do it anyways. Publish it. You will. And I will buy it.

  9. Pingback: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is. Or Something. « Mommy Odyssey

  10. This post reminded me of a story I tell my students. Years ago, there were two young graduate students who wanted to do an experiment. They went to their advisor with a plan. He told them not to do it, that there was no point. After some thought, they decided to do the experiment anyway. That experiment changed the way we think about developmental biology and landed those two the Nobel Prize.

    Just because a famous, well-respected author told you “no” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue this. There are many people who are more than happy to tell you their opinion and their experience. The thing is, those same people can be wrong. Even if they’ve tried a similar route, there are going to be elements (usually important ones) that are different. My vote is that you go for it. Worst case scenario is this doesn’t work out (which I highly doubt considering how popular the Faces of ALI series is). But we’ll never know unless you try.

  11. I don’t think you should give up – you might look up Pamela Tsigidinos’ publisher for Silent Sorority – if you haven’t already.

  12. I whole heartedly agree with all the sentiments expressed above! Getting a no from one author, no matter how famous or well connected, isn’t the end of the journey. Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help pitched her book to more than 60 publishers before one of them said yes. There are many options for publication out there.

    Something that just came to mind, and you have probably already considered it… pitch your concept to Resolve. Who knows, they might want to partner with you, or help you get it published. Just a thought

    We are all believing with you. Don’t give up!

  13. That Jerry Jay Carroll is a wise one, eh?

    Clearly your project resonates with people. Here’s what I have to say to you, what was true for me.

    If you feel like your project is asking you to bring it forth, if you feel as if you are manifesting it rather than creating it, if you feel as if it will be born, one way or another, then allow these feelings/knowings to propel you through the doubting voices that are external to you.

    (Not saying ignore them; but just don’t let them be louder than your internal voice.)

    I also found it helpful to focus at times on only the one step in front of me, and not the whole publishing journey. For now, maybe it’s just reworking parts of a proposal. Later you can worry about finding an agent or a publisher. But if you let those later-stage things bring you down now, you won’t keep gestating/nurturing this book that may just have a life of its own.

    I do not feel defeated at. all. by what you heard. Because I see you as the midwife to something that will. be. born. Dammit.

  14. Do NOT listen to the so called expert who said no. Your work is fabulous. Your work will come to print…and I will do whatever I can do to help you.

  15. Mel

    Oh Anthy, set her aside; this has but just begun. I took great notes for you in the pitching to media outlets section, and I think getting one published in mainstream media could be the key to getting a slew of them to be published as a single book.

  16. I think this is one of those things where your passion and drive will make it happen one way or another. You have an audience ready to share your product with the masses and you have alternative options available to you in the publishing world. Don’t let the comment take away your spark!

  17. Well, books are supposed to be becoming passe anyway, aren’t they? ; ) Don’t let one naysayer get you down. Rome wasn’t built in a day, etc. etc.

  18. I believe in you! You’ll find a way to get these stories to a wider audience, whether it’s in book form, ebook, internet, or handing out flyers on the the street! (Okay, maybe not that last one.) Don’t give up!

  19. That was one person’s opinion. Keep doing what you love and what helps so many others and it will come to be! I have faith that it will! It was so amazing meeting you! Sorry if I was so quiet. My mind was completely blown that I was there in the presence of such amazing women, you included. I was just taking it all in and listening to everyone’s stories.

  20. I think I’ve already said this, but your Rejector be damned … if this is something you care about, IT WILL HAPPEN. Not overnight. But what good things do?

    You clearly have a lot of support … and that network is more powerful than one person’s opinion. Just wait and see. 😉

  21. No is obviously the wrong answer! This book will fill a great need among women going through these tough times. Don’t give up! I think it’s a wonderful idea, and you will find a way to make it happen.

  22. So sorry for the disappointment! And yes you should keep trying! There are so many different ways to get your work out there. I’m a writer and am so familiar with rejection because at least in part my work is not mainstream. Just because people said no doesn’t mean you have a bad idea. And besides…look at some of the crap they say yes to…what gets accepted and rejected has nothing to do with quality. Again so sorry for the disappointment…

  23. Glad to see you have so many shouting out to keep going – I know next to nothing about publishing but I will chime in and agree that it was only ONE person telling you “no” even though her “no” was a very heavy one. I have an anthology I love titled “Mama PhD”, essays from academic women parenting at different stages of the journey. The idea to contact Resolve sounds like a good one to me. Whatever you do, keep writing!

  24. Pingback: First Ever Infertility Podcast! | Too Many Fish to Fry

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