So it’s a new year with new projects. WriteClub has got started full speed ahead and I’m writing a new novel, or possibly a novella. It’s going to be a busy year – The Soul Consortium is already available for pre-order ready for its 1st July release date, and I should be receiving the updated and edited manuscript ready for me to make final adjustments in the next couple of weeks or so. I’ll let you know how that goes.
In the meantime, if you were following my progress with Gaia’s Engine, you might be curious about what’s been happening with that. Well, the submission went in, Medallion asked to see the full manuscript (which is always a positive sign), but then it was rejected. Was that a gasp? Don’t be shocked – rejection slips follow writers around like shadows. It’s quite uncommon for a publishing house to explain why they rejected a manuscript too, but on this occasion, they were gracious enough to explain, and they’ve given me permission to share this with you…
“Thank you for the opportunity to consider Gaia’s Engine. While your writing is superb, we’ve determined this particular work is not a good fit for Medallion Press. I’ve attached the formal notification for your records.
For your review, the following are some of our concerns:
1. We feel the manuscript should be tightened up, word count reduced, pacing increased.
2. We feel the orbs themselves aren’t graphically haunting enough to carry many scenes. People can certainly relate to them, however, so they are crucial in the beginning of the MS and should be used in moderation throughout. However, the “possessed” humans do quite well capturing the imagination and maintaining suspense and carrying scenes.
3. We are not certain that the references to the specific religious culture alluded to in the MS will appeal to a broad enough audience. For example, will Christians accept that a believer would embrace a fourth deity? Will others understand the significance of certain phrasings and actions specific to niche Christian culture?
4. We felt the events of the small town—the deaths and strange sightings—would have a bigger impact on the outside world. For example, how would national media and the government respond?
We would love to see more submissions from you in the future. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to partner with you to publish The Soul Consortium and The Beasts of Upton Puddle and also to review this manuscript. We wish you the very best with placing Gaia’s Engine.”
So there you go, that was the response. So how should you respond to a rejection? You should respond graciously, especially to a rejection as nice as this. Whilst this might seem like common sense, I have heard and seen examples where the rejected writer has responded badly. I suppose it’s natural – you can pour your life and soul into a manuscript and invest months of time on it, so there’s no question you’re going to feel bad. But place yourself in the editor’s shoes for a moment – what must it be like to tell someone (and they have to do this many times every day) that they weren’t successful?
So what’s the plan now with Gaia’s Engine? The plan is a re-write. But not just yet. Usually, to stop after one submission is unthinkable. Some writers I know send off to hundreds of different places before their work is accepted, and I’d be confident that a publishing house somewhere would take this novel, especially after following Medallion’s advice, but the more I think about the book, the more I can’t help but think the story belongs in the 19th century, with a first person perspective. So I’ll go where my gut tells me. It’s unlikely I’ll do that for at least another three or four years though – I have too many other projects on the go and I’d like to give this one chance to breathe for a while.
Next time I’ll share some plans about what I’m writing next…