The Rejection Window Part III: Toxic Positivity

One of the big reasons why I stayed in fiction writing as long as I did was the encouragement from my fellow creatives. Little did I know back in the early 2010’s that enthusiasm for my creations amongst fellow authors would not necessarily correlate to same-level enthusiasm among general public readers. If it had, “Vampire Syndrome” would have made it to the multiplexes, or at least Netflix.

From beginning to end, I had always received strong encouragement from my fellow creatives to keep writing. Even if I never made a dime from the books, and failed to get any reviews ever from general public “non-author” readers for years on end, there was a uniform, unwavering chorus of “keep writing”.
And I was asking myself why they keep doing this.

I found the answer on my Facebook wall. An author friend of mine complained that she had tallied up over six hundred rejections, and wanted to quit.
Of course, she received several hundred comments all following the standard “creatives’ party line” to the effect of “keep on querying, don’t give up.”
Why? So she can hit the lofty “thousand rejections” milestone? Or press on even further for an eventual Guinness book world record? 😈

(Highly relevant blockquote from my previous post):

How many authors today are willing to get rejected (or ignored) hundreds of times?

Only the crazy ones, I’d guess.

Naturally, I had to step in and give my two cents:
Obviously, the Big Five do not want what you’re writing. This in no way impunes you or the quality of your work, this is just the reality that your work does not meet the Big Five’s narrow formulae for what books they think will be “successful”. Keep on self-publishing and don’t waste any more time with further querying, or you will soon literally run out of people to reject your work. The phrase ‘beating a dead horse’ entered the cultural lexicon for a reason, and it’s fitting here.”

People who actually care about you will not give you sugar-coated advice when they know better otherwise. They will tell the truth as they see it, even when it seems blunt and/or harsh, because their wishes for you to be your best, and do your best, are sincere.

So why would a couple hundred other authors keep encouraging her to query, even after six hundred rejections, when I’m certain they’re all aware of the harsh realities of the publishing industry?

Toxic Positivity.

Also known as “avoidance coping”.

Relentless focus on positivity isn’t just ineffective.
Research has shown that it’s actually harmful.

Such as encouraging someone already frustrated over six hundred rejections to accumulate a few hundred more rejections “for her collection.”

Encouragement is normally a wonderful thing, but there are times when we all better off when we buckle down, ask the difficult questions, deal with the difficult answers, and let the deceased horses rest in peace.

Scary Musings on the Future

Ah, the 2010’s, the decade where it all fell apart. 😈

As this nightmare decade draws to a close, I sit back on the sidelines and contemplate where the creative world is now, how it became that way, and what will be in the future.
We all know damn well that “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” would not get published now, in fact they almost weren’t published back in the day.
Twilight Was Rejected Fourteen Times Before Being Accepted

How Many Times Was Harry Potter Rejected By Publishers?
The Answer:

Twelve times or twenty-two times, but this doesn’t help you understand the present-day publishing climate.

The internet and the self-publishing industry have changed since the mid-1990s when Harry Potter was published. Rowling sent her submissions in as hardcopy and you would need to multiply twenty-two by at least a factor of four to get a reasonable comparison.

How many authors today are willing to get rejected (or ignored) hundreds of times?

Only the crazy ones, I’d guess.

“The Hunger Games” might still make it to print today, but it sure as hell would not be a movie trilogy in this Marvel day and age.

So now that the “movie-from-book” Golden Goose is cooked, what happens when the Marvel movie arcs runs their course, as is eventually inevitable?

Not my circus, not my white elephants… 😈

Skeleton Writer

The day I quit writing

On June 13, 2019, I finally put my writing “career”, such as it was, to bed.
Once I finally cast off the writing demon, my life and position in the universe magically re-aligned itself.

Seriously, it felt just like this:


Like when you give up country music; you get your dog back, your truck back, your wife back, and your farm back. 😈

The world doesn’t need more authors, it needs more readers. Especially readers who will actually leave reviews.

Modest Genius or Psychic: Hats Off to Hoff

Back in the heady days of 2010 and 2011 when I was busy creating “Vampire Syndrome”, one of the fellow members of my critique group was a young woman by the name of Michelle Hoff. She was in the process of creating her magnum comedy opus, “Banged By The Flash“.

Both of us finished our respective works in 2012, and released them to the world.

I went through a strange and intensive multi-year, multi-stage labyrinth of moving up to a small press, and even being signed to a television development deal, before finally ending back up at ground zero and concluding my “writing” life.

Michelle, by contrast, released her e-book on Amazon, and quit writing immediately afterward.

I didn’t understand her reasons for doing so at the time, but I do now. Not just that, I really admire her for doing this, as well.

I, like 99.9999999999999% of all authors out there, was trying to make a cultural impact. To change the world, or at least some of my readers, for the better.

Michelle, by contrast, wanted nothing more than to write her novel and be done with it. Most likely a “bucket list” proposition, which I would infer from her Amazon author page photo of her trip to Costa Rica a year later. I myself fulfilled a bucket list dream by driving my 1960 Plymouth station wagon on a 3,000+ mile road trip from Denver to northern Washington state (and back) in 2012. Which cost more than first-class airfare, but a first-class road trip life experience is far more precious and much less common than the “easy” way of flying on a commercial aircraft. Now, piloting a light aircraft yourself down to Costa Rica, that would be more analogous to my road trip.

There are two ways I can interpret Michelle’s writing a sole novel just to complete it. Either she is the humblest and wisest author on the face of the Earth, with no other goal but to create one book, “do it right” with the input of a professional critique group, and be done with it, with no further expectations of “how it will do” or “what more can I create?”

She can say, “I wrote a professional-quality novel, vetted by a professional critique group, and you can still buy it on Amazon.”
Which is far more than 99.9999999999999% of all the people saying they have a “great idea for a novel” will ever do.

That, or she was a psychic who could see how the publishing industry and authors’ statures would decline after 2012, and wrote her sole opus while the getting was still relatively good. 😈

Either way, now that I’m finally back to ground zero and normal life, I salute the woman who didn’t take seven years to get back to this, as I did.

I know they say “Don’t quit your day job”, but…

There comes a time when you should just sit on top of the world and watch the wheels go round and round.

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Happy New Year, everyone!

Hi everyone, I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year!
Onward and upward for 2016 we go 🙂98_062712

Too many Twitter followers & how to avoid this problem

As of this posting, I have 1,018 Twitter followers.
Which is just about perfect.
I don’t want to have too many Twitter followers, and neither should you.
😈
Why, you ask?
One major Tweeter said it’s everyone’s dream to have 100,000 followers.
I could add, “100k real followers you don’t have to follow back”, but I think you’ve figured that part out already.
The reason why 1,018 followers is “perfect”?
Twitter is the Wild, Wild West of social media.
Unregulated feed, anything goes.
“Anything” includes the widespread selling of bot “Twitter followers”, unchecked by Twitter.
“Buy 10k followers” ads permeate every user’s feed.
The Powers Of Twitter 1071 edit
Here is where the big problem arises.
If you should happen to hit 10k real (non-purchased) followers, and you are not a “household-name” grade celebrity, everyone will think you bought your way to that number.
Not only has “Buy 10k followers” negated any importance the number of Twitter followers may have once had, any non-celebrity with over 10k followers is automatically suspect of buying them. Which is why you shouldn’t!
I hope to stay under 10k followers for a long, long time.
Unless I get a movie TV deal… 😉