Monday, December 9, 2013

Dealing With Rejection, Home World and a Giveaway

Note: The winner of this giveaway is Sharon B. Congratulations! Thanks all for entering.
I’m happy that Thoughts in Progress is a stop on the WOW Blog Tour for Bonnie Milani and her sci-fi love story, HOME WORLD.

Bonnie is joining us today to talk about dealing with rejection. She is also offering a giveaway of her book. Please see the end of the post for those details.

      HOME WORLD is a fast paced well written story about the power and the price of love. This story takes place amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Waikiki. Jezekiah Van Buren thinks he has found a way to restore Earth – HOME WORLD, to the other worlds of the human commonwealth. His goal is to restore his home to her lost glory.
      Ingenious even by the standards of the genetically enhanced Great Family Van Buren, Jezekiah has achieved the impossible:  he has arranged a treaty that will convert Earth's ancient enemies, the Lupans, to her most powerful allies. Not only will the treaty terms make Earth rich again, it will let him escape the Ring that condemns him to be Earth's next ruler. Best of all, the treaty leaves him free to marry Keiko Yakamoto, the Samurai-trained woman he loves. Everything’s set. All Jezekiah has to do is convince his xenophobic sister to accept the Lupan's alpha warlord in marriage.
      Before, that is, the assassin she's put on his tail succeeds in killing him. Or the interstellar crime ring called Ho Tong succeed in raising another rebellion. Or before his ruling relatives on competing worlds manage to execute him for treason. But Jezekiah was bred for politics and trained to rule. He’s got it all under control. Until his Lupan warlord-partner reaches Earth. And suddenly these two most powerful men find themselves in love with the same woman. A woman who just may be the most deadly assassin of them all.

The 400-page HOME WORLD (ISBN: 10: 978-1927559246) is published by Promontory Press. It’s available as a print and e-Book at Amazon. The Twitter hashtag is #HWorld.

Now here’s Bonnie to talk about ‘how do you deal with rejection’.

Rejection. That has to be the most feared word in the writer’s vocabulary. The very fear of having a story rejected is enough to stop many an aspiring writer from even submitting a perfectly good story. Left uncontested the fear of rejection becomes paralyzing: it’s SO easy to be so afraid of hearing that despite all the sweat, blood, and tears you poured into your story, it still just isn’t good enough. Alas, there’s only one way through this particular barrier, and that’s damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

There simply isn’t any way to bypass the fear of rejection. You simply have to confront it and bull your way through. Trust me on this one. I know whereof I speak: I’m an insurance broker. You want rejection? Try cold-calling: if you’re very good and very determined, you get a 1% response rate. That means 99 out of every hundred people you call hang up on you. If you’re lucky. If you’re not, they tell you what they think of you first. Now THAT’s rejection up front and personal – often very personal.

However, there are a number of upsides to enduring that kind of rejection. First thing you learn is: DON’T COLD CALL! Just don’t. It’s sort of like the old Rodney Dangerfield line:

      Dangerfield: ‘Doctah, it hurts when I do this!’ He lifts an arm.
      Doctor: ‘So don’t do that!’

The second thing you learn is to do your homework. Figure out who your most likely prospects are. For a writer, that means scouring resources like Writer’s Market: what magazines buy your kind of stories? What agents are looking for your kind of book? 

home-world-cover-final_smallOnce you’ve got your basic market outlined, start winnowing: what are the word length parameters those editors set? Are there any genre sub-sets they’re particularly seeking? Any genres they loathe? What are the submission guidelines? Find them. Read them. FOLLOW them. Doing your homework gives you the best chance of earning that wonderful ‘we want your story’ letter or call.

The thing to remember is that even a best chance is still only a chance. Editors everywhere are underpaid, understaffed, and overworked. Most editors run slush piles that are taller than themselves. Agents are worse. (And less responsive to boot!) So you have to keep in mind that the fact you got another rejection slip may mean nothing more than that the editor or reader had a migraine the day she picked it up and NOTHING got accepted that day. 

There’s only one word for that situation: NEXT! Just file the rejection slip and move on. More than anything else, keep your focus on the fact that it’s your story being rejected, not you. This is essential, because sooner or later you’re going to run into the kind of rejection letter I once got from (if I recall correctly) Asimov’s magazine. Roughly, it went something like this:

      ‘If you’re getting this letter it’s because we’ve rejected your story. Maybe we rejected it because you don’t know how to write a sentence. In this case, learn grammar before resubmitting. Or maybe we rejected it because you don’t know how to write a story. Or maybe your language and story were both grammatically correct. In that case we rejected it because it simply isn’t good enough’.

Try reading that one through without reaching for the tissue box! But the beauty of that kind of sadistic response is that it ought to make you mad. Mad enough to SHOW that editor you CAN do it. You CAN write a knock-your-socks off good story. And you know what? Once you reach that point – you’ll do it. 

So hang in there! Line your walls (or wallpaper) with your rejection slips! Because eventually, you’ll start adding ‘acceptance’ letters. You just have to get past the rejection wall to reach ‘em.

Bonnie, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight look at how to deal with rejection. Getting past that first rejection has to be difficult, but just keep thinking about what the reward will be in the end.

For those not familiar with Bonnie, here’s a bit of background on her.

Bonnie vividly recalls the book that helped her decide she could out-write another writer: it was a junior reader's biography of Sir William Harvey, the 17th century English physician credited (in the West) with discovering how blood circulates. After about 30 pages of telling herself "I can write better than that!" she grabbed a crayon that just happened to be blue and started editing. She was all of seven years old at the time. Unfortunately for her juvenile bottom it was a library book. 

She followed the dream through college and after grad school, freelancing feature articles for newspapers along the East Coast. Bonnie even wrote a cover story for Science Digest! Alas life and grown up responsibilities caught up with her and by her late twenties she put writing away with so many other dreams while she followed a ‘career track’. After losing her entire family, she realized story telling just a want but a need and a gift God gave her. So here she is, a self-declared “middle-aged pudge” working on getting back into a writer’s kind of real life! 

For more on Bonnie and her writing, visit the HOME WORLD website or contact Bonnie by email at:


This giveaway is for a print copy (U.S. residents only) or e-Book (International) of HOME WORLD.

To enter, just send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win Home World.” Residents of the U.S. can select either a print copy of the book or an e-Book. Your message should include your name and mailing address for the print copy or the email address you’d like the e-Book sent to. If you are an international visitor entering the giveaway, please include your name and the email address you’d like the e-Book sent to in your message. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a copy of HOME WORLD is 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to stop by today. If you’re a writer, have you had to deal with rejection slips? If you’re a reader, what advice would you give writers struggling to have their first book printed?


  1. Love the cover on the book. I believe you have to write because you love writing and view rejection as just one person's opinion. Independent publishing has opened new doors for those who might have otherwise given up with the publishing process. I've found publishers and agents alike to mostly be arrogant and full of self importance. One told me that I couldn't write a book set in England if I lived in Texas and another suggested I kill off the main character in the second chapter!

  2. I've found handling rejection not nearly as difficult as handling no response. I can easily dismiss a form rejection as just one person's opinion. But with no response, I come away thinking: is my work so awful that I don't even warrant a decline?

    Best of luck with HOME WORLD, Bonnie!

    VR Barkowski

    1. OMG, that is SO true! There's nothing worse than just being ignored. Of course, that only inspires me to start noodging!

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Bonnie.

    Bonnie - Thanks for your thoughts about rejection. The fact is, you have to have a thick skin as an author. And you have to learn not to take rejection personally. That's hard of course because our writing is a part of us. But it's important to remember that rejection of one's writing doesn't mean personal rejection.

  4. Thank you so much Mason Canyon for being part of this WOW! Women on Writing blog tour and thank you to Bonnie for this post. The biggest thank you goes to you reader though - Thank you Ann, VR, and Margot - and good luck in the giveaway!


  5. Wow, what a great bunch of women! THANK YOU SO MUCH, Mason Canyon, for giving me the chance to share my ideas with such wonderful ladies.
    Hugs, y'all -
    Bonnie Milani


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.