The rejections for my latest novel The Shining Ones are starting to roll in. The first came from Gollancz and I wasn’t that surprised, so the title of this post is a bit misleading. As writers we’re supposed to be cut up by rejections, but I couldn’t muster the energy to care. Perhaps I’ve got used to it, or my skin is getting thicker, but the context probably explains it.
Gollancz is perhaps the leading publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. Normally they don’t accept unsolicited submissions, but every once in a while, they open their doors to anyone willing to try. And therein lies the problem. According to this tweet, they received around 600 submissions in January:
When you submit to an open door unagented submission process like this, you’re basically sending your novel straight to the slush pile. It will be read, but not by an editor. Most likely, my chapters were read and rejected by an unpaid intern ticking boxes on a checklist. I have no idea what the criteria were or what Gollancz were looking for (or not looking for), so it’s impossible to know why The Shining Ones was rejected. It’s not personal, even if it is subjective.
Just take a deep breath and soldier on.
I also submitted the book to Angry Robot. Apparently, they received 1,118 submissions! I haven’t heard anything yet and no news is good news, as they say, but I’m not holding my breath. Same conditions apply.
So what’s next? Over the coming months I’ll be submitting the book to agents and the plan is to do it in batches: Submit – wait 2 months – submit the next batch – wait 2 months – submit the next… and so on. I can take on board any feedback I get and tweak the submissions as I work down my list of agents. It all depends on the response, if any.
I’ll be writing more about the process of finding an agent and what I learn along the way, so watch this space for news, tips and advice. But first, I need to tell you more about the book itself so that’s up next…