Bouncing back

“…memorable, hilarious moments…”

“…lively and interesting…”

As you can see, if I ever get this novel of mine to print, I’ll have some excellent jacket blurbs. Unfortunately, the above are from publisher rejections. They’re Canadian publishers; that’s why they’re so nice.

The most recent rejection came last week. Whadya gonna do? Writers mistakenly believe that publishers are sitting at empty desks waiting for this very manuscript to arrive by email. It ain’t so. Even with all your brilliance, you remain Joe X, obscure author.

I briefly let this latest rejection get me down, and performed a search query that essentially asked, “When should I give up?” I came across this good bit of advice that reminds first-time novelists that their manuscript, truth be told, probably isn’t that good.

BUT don’t let that get you down. Learn from the exercise of writing and rejection and get back to doing what you love to do — not clamoring for attention from agents and publishers but writing. Write your next novel. It’s bound to be better.

I’ve started doing that. Sort of. I began but realized I’m not quite ready. The idea needs to stew more. It needs to ripen. And now I’m hungry.

Bouncing back from rejection is something we all have to do sooner or later. Some things, of course, are harder to bounce back from than others. Thank God you’re not this guy. Or, good lord, this guy!

Like writing, politics is all about that shot in the dark and the looming possibility of rejection. As a candidate, you pump up everyone’s expectations, though, in the end, we’re all just flawed humans who really need to pee.

Here’s my first piece of the fall for CBC Radio’s “Breakaway,” in which I throw my sorry hat in the ring. Vote for me. I’m lively and interesting.

P.S. Some-Notes-on-Your-Manuscript


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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35 Responses to Bouncing back

  1. Are you sure that no one has filmed you peeing into an unusual vessel? You went to college. Think, Ross, think!

  2. vsvevg says:

    Oh, if only I were Canadian!

  3. pointlessboob says:

    “AAAAHHHHHHHH…!” (That was the sound of me entering your comments area.)
    I truly hope you don’t give up on getting your novel published. I just read the excerpt you posted (the first four pages), and thought it was fabulous (and very funny). I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Are you also considering the self-publishing route? Maybe putting it out as an eBook?

    “AAAAHHHHHHHH…!” (ttfn.)

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Everything’s on the table. I’m looking at collaborating with a local publisher, pseudo-self-publishing, I guess, but with more clout, at least as a regional entity. It’s complicated.
      But thank you for reading and for your comment. It’s heartening. Seriously.

  4. Paul says:

    I couldn’t see the sound file, so I followed the link to Breakaway. There were a lot of sounds files there and it was set to sort by latest, ad your file wasn’t there. So I hit “sort by most popular” and “PING” there you were right at the top Ross. You have the most popular piece on the show.

    Now maybe your club leaves some to be desired, or perhaps you desire to leaves your club, or perhaps your club desires that you leave – Ha! But your reputation is obviously pretty impressive amongst the proletariat, – number one at Breakaway.. That can certainly be leveraged to help in the whole book thingy.

    Best of luck. 😀

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Ha. That’s been there for a while. I think their site is broken.
      I expect today’s piece will be posted later today if you want to come back.

      • Paul says:

        Ah Ha! That would explain why your piece said your club held older pieces – it would also explain the apparent disconnect between the breakaway piece and your post. I was chalking it up to your genius being so far ahead of me that I couldn’t see the link. 😀

  5. Karen says:

    Do you think you might be submitting to the wrong publishers? The whole submission/publication process is so complex it makes me curl up into the fetal position on the living room floor. Certain publishers are looking for certain stories, and what they’re looking for this week is not what they’re looking for next week, yada yada yada, I know you know all this already, so I’ll shut up.

    I can’t decide if I would feel worse if I got a “I liked it, but . . .” rejection rather than a “This is not for us” which is what some editor told me back that one time I was brave enough to submit a short story to a real, live magazine (remember those?) back in college.

    Have you tried agents? I know literary agents aren’t a Canadian thing (I think I read that somewhere), but maybe you should explore the American market. A Canadian author might even seem a bit exotic down here, less run of the mill, and catch someone’s attention.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      It is complex, and I think Canada has some unique things going on. Toronto is the centre of national publishing, home to the big houses, so good luck there. Elsewhere, a lot of publishers seem interested in regional writers only — Manitoba publishers, Manitoba writers, etc. So I live in Quebec, which is 80% French, so strike one. Montreal is the Toronto of Quebec; I live outside Montreal. Strike two. I do have a regional readership here but not enough to appeal to the few English publishers in Montreal.

      I’ve had outright rejections too, or the “we’ll only contact you if we like it” radio silence, which is a kind of torture. One of those was an agent. They’re just as hard to find, it seems.

      Anyway, I’ll keep plugging away. What do I have to lose?

      Thanks, Karen, for the encouragement.

  6. Trent Lewin says:

    I’d vote for you… and I still want a copy of your book, but I have a slight logistical problem that is easier to explain over e-mail.

    With respect to above, get an agent. You’re hilarious and genuine, rare combination. Agents pre-screen for the publishing houses. I think your stuff is broad enough that you should consider a NYC agent or something… lots of them there, just have to find the right one. It’s not like they ever want to meet you anyway, so I don’t think geography is that much of an impediment. I don’t say this often in blogland, but you should be published. I know that for a fact, and I am wicked smart. Anyway, my point is that you should shoot high.

    Well, I’m going to go pee in a cup now.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Thanks, Trent. (Everybody reading this go wash your hands IMMEDIATELY!)

    • rossmurray1 says:

      P.S. I queried one Canadian agent and never heard back. My novel isn’t capital-C Canadian (tundra, isolation, identity, moose) but it is Canadian because I am. I doubt it would fly in the U.S. market. I mean, how many Americans have read Leacock, and he was brilliant, but definitely Canadian. Does that make sense?
      The book does have beavers.

      • Karen says:

        Why would we read Leacock when we have Twain? 😉

        I’m an American, I read the excerpt, I loved it. I think there is so much more to this (getting published) than writing well, or being entertaining, or persevering. If you follow publishing trends at all (and I don’t recommend it), you’ll know there’s a real push for “diversity” while there’s simultaneously a desire for the “next Hunger Games” or the “next Gone Girl.” They want different (they really don’t), and they also want the same (and by “the same” I mean some sure-fire blockbuster that they can “franchise”–they’re looking for books they can sell movie and merchandising rights to).

        I guess I’ll stop with the scare quotes now.

        Anyway, lots and lots and lots of Canadian authors have had success in the US (Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro off the top of my head are two that I’m most familiar with).

        I don’t know if trying in the US will bring you any more success, but there are so many more of us, so many more agents, so many more publishers (and I know what you’re thinking: so many more people to reject you!) that it might improve your odds ever so slightly.

        I’m not a cheerleader type person so I’m not being all rah-rah, “Go Ross!” in your face, but I do admire you throwing your stuff out there. And I’m not discounting the possibility that you raised in your post: this stuff you’ve thrown out there maybe isn’t up to snuff and maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

        • rossmurray1 says:

          Why? That’s like asking why listen to Neil Young when you could listen to Bob Dylan? They’re both brilliant.

          Also brilliant: Atwood, Munro et al. I just have a hopefully entertaining, humourous story to tell. There are thousands like me, so, yes, luck.
          And thanks for the cheerleading. Honestly, this isn’t a plea for pity. I was only looking for a way to segue into my radio piece. Ha!

  7. I, too, would deeply regret peeing in a mug and being caught.

    I don’t know how you do it, pal. I have a spine made of jelly. The rejection would knock me flat on my ass. But what can you do? Stop writing? I’d like to see you try.

  8. Elyse says:

    Don’t Jump! And please do explain to that no-longer-a-politician that THAT is not what anybody means when they tell you to pee in a cup.

  9. Ned's Blog says:

    Please tell me you’re running for the U.S. Presidency. You can stay at our house if you need an American address. I’ll even learn to poutine.

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