Monday, September 17, 2007

The Box under the Bed

We all have one. That box under our bed, the one filled with stuff that has the potential to cause us shame and mega embarrassment. No Lusties, I'm not talking about the sex toys, I'm talking about the OTHER BOX, the one filled with manuscripts that went nowhere, ideas that were rejected by every agent, magazine and editor in the known universe and the often humiliating let downs on the road to our current starring role on Lust Bites. I have to say, I could've written this whole post about me, but in a spirit of sharing, I decided to ask some of the other Lusties if they were prepared to spill their own moments of less than stellar glory. Some of them were, which made me feel a whole lot better about my own checkered past.

Oh, where to start...

"It's kind of an environmental erotic futuristic romance with paranormal elements. The female represents Mother Nature and the three guys represent the elements the Earth needs to survive, kind of like Al Gore meets the pagans and sex solves all the problems of the Universe."
"Hmm...interesting...what else have you got?"
My agent moves swiftly along unimpressed by that particular pitch. At least I didn't write that one. Somehow it's far worse when you've sweated out 100,000 words and then find out there isn't a market for what you wrote.(see 'book of my heart, below)

The amazing Portia Da Costa and I share a secret. We both believed that we could singlehandedly convert Mills & Boon into a far more erotic romance friendly place to be. I gave up after rejection number 5. Apparently, Ms Da Costa has an even bigger secret...2 of hers did get into print! Tell me more, Portia, I want titles!

Ms Madelynne Ellis also confessed to writing a stirring tale called Desperate Measures , "The tale of a woman who is left destitute when her husband is thrown into a debtors prison and decides to make ends meet by cross-dressing as a male highwayman." Apparently it was dismissed on the grounds that highwayman are cliched. Cliched? I for one would've loved to see this book in print.

And back to me...how about the RWA conference where I was supposed to meet an editor at Bantam who was reading the full manuscript of one of my historicals, only to find out that she'd just left the company? Man, was I gutted. Although probably not as much as Ms Kristina Lloyd who wrote a non-erotica novel about adultery and obsession, snagged a major literary agent's interest and scored an interview with a BIG publishing house.

She fretted for days choosing what to wear, sorting out train times, no doubt making herself even more beautiful than she already is, only to find out the day before the meeting that the editor had been sacked! OMG-I feel for you...

Of course, there's also always a danger that you'll write something totally amazing and it gets published and then you realize you're supposed to write several more books in the same vein except you really don't want to. I have a futuristic novel a bit like that. I'm quietly terrified that if it gets published I'll have to commit to writing more and then my brain will start seeping out of my ears again, and that's not only very messy, but not a good thing overall.

Janine Ashbless will understand this feeling quite well."My Machenesque fairy novel "Wildwood" has been accepted for Black Lace. It was going to be the first of a trilogy, but that isn't going to happen...I shall go and do something easier next time...like wrestle a giant squid."

Janine, I'm sure that all our readers would quite happily pay real money to watch you wrestle a giant squid, so keep it in mind. Maybe we could make it an annual Lust Bites tradition along with the muddy rugby players.

I have 3 manuscripts in the box under my bed, all of them probably deserve to stay there, especially the first, Mosaic, the book of my heart, as we call it in the romance community, the one I love until this day. How was I to know that setting a gritty historical romance in the Dark Ages was a complete waste of my time? I LOVED writing that book, I thought I was the best writer ever born. I thought the publishers would be banging down my door to sweep me away to Bestsellerdomland. (That is a real place you know, I checked on Mapquest. Nora Roberts and Stephen King live there,honest.)

But maybe the book of my heart was simply too much. I sent it to every agent in the USA. After the first fifty or so rejections, I'd almost stopped crying into my tea and started writing another book. Suddenly, out of the blue, a New York agent asked to see the full. I sent it off. Three weeks later he sent me a contract. I was totally stunned because by then I'd had so much rejection that a positive response left me bewildered.

I signed the contract, sent it back and heard nothing...
My American pals were all, 'call him, ask him what's going on', but I couldn't do that,
1. I'm British
2. I have severe PTSD (phone traumatic stress disorder) for handling public inquiries for the Inland Revenue (IRS) for 2 years. Eventually I received an email from his wife. He had died, the day after he'd sent me the contract...my steamy erotic historical manuscript was the last thing he ever read.

So perhaps somethings really are better off left under the bed...

The book cover at the top is for my upcoming 'Cheek' book "Roping the Wind" out in the UK in Dec and the US next Feb. It's a stirring tale of a washed up cowboy, an orthopedic surgeon and their shared interest in kinky sex and leather.

Anyone else like to share their tales of publishing woe? We have tissues...

45 comments:

Nikki H said...

OMG, that must be awful to get so close to a publishing deal only for an editor to get sacked or die...

Nothing THAT bad has happened to me, but I did have one erotic romance pique the interest of an epublisher. They emailed me, almost by immediate return. They loved it. Loved the style, voice, characters, etc...However, could I just rewrite a couple of bits that they thought didn't run true.

No problem, says I, eager to get my fiction published for the first time. I set to work and took two weeks to give them EXACTLY what they wanted.

Only once I'd changed it, they suddenly decided that it weakened the rest of the story and now they didn't like it.

"Sorry, but thanks for thinking of us and good luck."

Aargh!!!

Anyway, recent good news is that Scarlet magazine might publish a short story of mine and Total E Bound are excited about a 25K piece I've written.

Fingers crossed, please!

Portia Da Costa said...

First of all, Nikki!!! My fingers and toes and everything are crossed re. your Total-E-Bound submission... They are great to work with. Hope to see you join the TEB family soon! :)

Kate... those two books weren't actually published by Mills&Boon, but in each case by a newly set up imprint who were hoping there would be space in the category romance market for them, but who couldn't break the iron grip, alas...

NO SWEETER CONFLICT was published by Robinson Scarlet under the pseudonym MEGAN PAUL, and FORBIDDEN was published by Heartline, under the same name. Both were well received, in fact NSC got four stars in Romantic Times!!!

Both are still knocking around for sale second hand, as far as I know, so if anyone fancies discovering my full-on romantic side, check 'em out.

I often torture myself with the 'what if' game... ie. what would have happened if I'd persevered with straight romance. Would I a] have been a beloved big name romance writer by now, with mega sales around the world or b] have given up writing altogether, disheartened after 20+ rejections?

We'll never know...

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I never give up on my stories. The manuscript may be flawed, but it's a tool, so I can always start over with the same idea/premise/plot if the tool is flawed.

But, egads, I've never had an editor or agent die on me! [hugs of sympathy]

Portia Da Costa said...

I hate to give up on my stories and novel ideas too, Dayle. Of the five or six M&B ideas, those two later got published in a modified form, and I do hope that one day at least fragments of the others might resurface as parts of other works, even if it's just scenes or settings or bits of ideas. I don't think I've ever had a short story that I haven't managed to find a home for somewhere, even if I've had to change it quite a bit. I just doggedly persist with them until eventually somebody gives in and takes pity.

I've never had an editor die on me, or get sacked... but I have 'killed' at least three imprints by signing with them. In fact I'm the kiss of death. I'm amazed that I didn't murder Black Lace long ago. I think it's only the combined good vibes of all the other talented authors there that have managed to offset the bad karma of me... LOL!

Ally said...

Dear Kate,

My heart goes out to you all. I have yet to submit anything. I have a query, summary and a synopsis. But I have been too terrified of my grammatical errors to send it out yet. That and the fact that, I've written something which seems to terrify everyone... LMAO I may join your club very soon.

I have severe PTSD (phone traumatic stress disorder)

LOL. That goes pretty good with my BP and OCD. Bitchy-Depressed. and Over Confident Dumbass.

Portia, I will join you in your support of our friends, I will cross my eyes and my arms. I will not cross my legs, uhuh you can't make me.

Good luck to all. I will eventually get around to reading something from everyone.

For now, I have 9 minutes of standup comedy I have to write, then perform. Aaaahhhhhh! Hahaha!

H.L. Berry said...

Kate, did you ever wonder whether your steamy historical romance novel might in some way have contributed to your publisher's untimely demise? Maybe it was just that little bit too steamy for him to handle. Or maybe it inspired him to spend the evening making mad, passionate love to his wife, which placed undue stress on his heart. Hey, maybe there's a new story in there somewhere!

Me, I can't maintain concetration long enough to write a novel, so I'll stick with the shorts. It's easier to find them homes, and somehow easier to deal with when they get rejected.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Lovely informative article, Kate, and what a star you are, considering I didn't send you anything until the last minute. Good luck with your subs Nikki h and Ally. As for me, I still have hopes for Desperate Measures. It'll be going off to other publishers as soon as I have a few minutes spare.

Deanna Ashford said...

Wonderful piece Kate, how is it all you lusties can write such amusing posts? I don't think I can be amusing let alone funny if I tried. Mr Ashford says it's because I have no sense of humour - I must have, I live with him don't I!!!

Now to my confession. I've no expiring agents or editors being sacked to tell you about. My story is prety much like that of lots of other aspiring writers.

My very first book was a very, very long sci-fi novel. At the centre of it was a steamy erotic romance. I was told that as it was cross genre and not a serious sci-fi epic that it was unsellable. Romance, sex and sci-fi they said don't mix.

However, now there are loads of e-books around mixing sci-fi and steamy sex aren't there?

Goodness, excuse me, I'm off to rummage under the bed and pull it out. Perhaps I can do what Dayle suggests and use the plot for a new erotic sci-fi novel.

Just Craig said...

I finished my first novel in 1994, a dark erotic work with fantasy elements. Quite frankly, when I sent out the queries and samples, I didn't get any real horror stories I could share.

It was more of a general thing: I could hear the crickets chirping a mile a way.

In deference to the poor agents and editors I submitted to, there were two problems:

1. The market was very small for erotica, and I was an unknown.

2. The book wasn't very well written.

I pulled away from attempting to get published and just focused on "finding myself" as a writer. I started working earnestly on getting published in 2005, but, like Huck, I've chosen to stay with short stories. The investment is lower than months or even years of work on a novel.

I've written three books since the 1994 one, but I seem to have this knack for writing things that don't really have a market, so I don't really pursue trying to sell them right now. Maybe I'll go that route after I've had some more short stories published. Right now, the short story thing has been very satisfying.

The 1994 book is still "Under the bed," where it will remain.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Those are some heart-wrenching stories. Ouch.

I've had one or two minor experiences along those lines in other fields. No erotica-related tales to share—yet. (I'm currently working on my first erotic novel, so check back with me next year for sacked editors and defunct imprints.)

But what confuses me about this post is the implication that writing and squid-wrestling are mutually exclusive. If this is true, it calls my entire routine into question. You know, four hours of writing in the morning, followed by a squid break. Then, if I'm fatigued in the afternoon, the squid will sometimes pitch in with the writing. And we never have to run out for an ink cartridge.

Portia Da Costa said...

Jeremy, do you think your squid would fancy lending a tentacle with the editing of my WIP? :)

Madeline Moore said...

Damn Jeremy, you have an answer for everything. I sure wish I had a squid to squeeze when the ink is low.

Great post, very brave. See how healthy the egos of Lust Bites members are? Actually, this must be a very inspiring post for new writers.

I've no such stories to share. Oh, yes, there's a novel under my bed alright... the title is "Queen Ali of Bella Luga Island". Need I say more? I actually got a grant to work on it but it's insane. Complete, I'm happy to say, but completely insane. Now that I think of it, it was trying to steer me in the direction of erotica, but alas it would be another decade or so before I'd figure out the genre I belong in.

Deanna, I know the feeling. Wayyyyy back when writers worked on typewriters (yes, I was alive back then) I wrote my first feature filmscript, a horror comedy called "Night of the Thing," EVERY producer I ever showed it to did the same thing - called me up laughing wildly into the phone, raving that it was the funniest thing he'd ever read. I'd be excited, thinking this meant he was
interested, but, when he'd finished laughing, he'd gasp out a refusal of the script. You can't mix horror and comedy! Silly me!!

Tell that to...you know what, I'm not even gonna go there. Still have the script and every so often I read it and laugh. It IS funny!

And nikki, GOOD LUCK! Happy to hear how you're doing and will certainly keep my fingers crossed for your good fortune.

Thanks for the post, Kate. I think every writer who reads it today will feel much better.

No disastrous publishing stories here, but I will admit to having a rejection slip from The New Yorker.
Anyone else?

Jeremy Edwards said...

Yes! New Yorker rejection slips. Those are collectible, I assume, now that they send us rejections by email only. As I recall, the old-fashioned rejections were cute little things dressed up in nice, crisp stationery. (Some writers used to take them to bed, I believe.)

Madeline Moore said...

I still have my paper rejection slip from The New Yorker. It was very nicely done, I believe a little hand written comment.

It's so incredible that young writers manage to pen a short story and immediately send it off to the creme le la creme of magazines. Sigh. The folly of youth. Sometimes I almost miss it.

Alison Tyler said...

Kate, what an insightful post! My worst experience was ghost writing. Listening and trying to understand what someone else wanted, and then completely missing the boat.

I worked on two projects for a producer in L.A. who would act out the scene he wanted (it wasn't porn, luckily) by flinging himself around a room as he said, "You see? You see what I mean? The sofa would just fly through the air like this?"

And I'd just nod meekly, duck under the objects whizzing over my head, and sneak back to my apartment to try to figure out how to capture his energy on the page.

I never quite managed.

He didn't die during the projects. But not because of any good thoughts I was sending his way.

Shanna Germain said...

--Would leave a comment, but is off taking her rejection slips to bed. And all this time, I'd just been hanging them on the wall!--

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

I don't have any real horror stories either, although like everyone else, I've got some real horrors of early manuscripts. We're talking Cthulu here!

Although that fantasy with the cross-species romance that no one would touch with a ten-foot pole fifteen years ago might be marketable now--as a paranormal romance. Of course it would need some slightly kinky sex and a romantic resolution, but I'd had to fight myself to keep them out of the first draft so...

*sound of brain buzzing*

Just what I need. Another damn book to try to write!

Special to Deanna: You definitely have a sense of humor. I've gone drinking with you, and I can say this for a fact!

Special to Jeremy: If your giant squid spawns, I can always use some extra "hands" around here. Does it do housework?

Kate Pearce said...

Fingers crossed for you nikki h!

Kate Pearce said...

Portia, I bet the prices for those beauties are going to sky rocket now that everyone knows you wrote them!
And personally I'm glad you chose to write just what you do!

Kate Pearce said...

Dayle, I try and rework most of mine but I have one old Regency which is sooo bad, I abandoned it half way through revisions, even though I had publisher interested

Kate Pearce said...

Ally-submit that manuscript! It's fun really!

h.i. berry-um it did cross my mind whether my 'talents' had contributed-and of course, dear Mr. Kate Pearce had a field day telling everyone that that was exactly what happened :)

Kate Pearce said...

just craig

"The book wasn't very well written. (how brave of you to say that)

I pulled away from attempting to get published and just focused on "finding myself" as a writer.

And that is great advice! Don't chase the market, make your own!

Kate Pearce said...

Deanna and Madelynne,

Get under those beds right now and pull out those works of genius!

Kate Pearce said...

Jeremy, If I had a squid, he'd be doing the housework and have one tentacle permanently refilling the ink cartridges in my printer.
Looking forward to your tales of publishing!

Kate Pearce said...

I've never tried the 'New Yorker'I don't think I'm quite literary enough-(as you can probably already tell).
Two things I forgot to add:

-I really did pitch that Al Gore enviro-erotica story to my agent

-I once got a rejection 2 years after I sent a 1 page story called "Custard' to a literary magazine. The rejection was written on a piece of paper approximately 2 inches wide, ripped from a bit of old used envelope. It said "Loved Custard, can't fit it in, sorry, x"
It took me 15 minutes to work out what he was talking about as I'd forgotten all about the story and the submission!

Alison-I can just see you ducking those couches-hilarious!

jothemama said...

I LOVE the story of the contract and dead publisher, fabulously awful - I'm so sorry!

And I was only just the other day thinking of wrting the highway woman story - I actually wrote it when I was about ten, based on an ad - I think for soap of soem sort! I know better know, but there's a market of one or two of us out there. I was so disappointed by that film with Robert Carlisle, SOmeone and Someone - not erotic enough, for one.

Jeremy Edwards said...

♥ custard, can't fit it in

Didn't I see that on a bumper sticker?

Madeline Moore said...

Oh, I forgot about 'Incense of Love.' It was my first try at a genre novel, I tried to write for Harlequin. Of course, I wasn't content to write a simple romance, no, my story involved a jewel heist as well.

It was turned down. I'm thinking of reworking it, though, for the present erotica novel - only now it would be called 'Incest of Love.' It's all in the details, right?

Kate Pearce said...

♥ custard, can't fit it in

Jeremy Edwards said...

Didn't I see that on a bumper sticker?

-maybe on one of Alison's T-shirts???




Madeline Moore said...

Oh, I forgot about 'Incense of Love.'

I'm sorry, Madeline, that title made tea come out of my nose...I think I almost prefer the incest version

kristina lloyd said...

Porn kills! I knew it.

Nice post, Kate. I have loads of stuff I've never found a home for and/or have given up on. I don't think it matters. And I don't think writing is a waste if it doesn't get published. The end result isn't necessarily the most important thing. If you're a writer, you have to enjoy the process of writing, and you'll always gain and learn from it.

Yes, it's fantastic if someone validates you by buying your work. But if they don't, then fuck 'em, the stupid, misguided, braindead, fucking fuckwits cos they don't know jack shit and who the fuck are they to pass fucking judgement? Fucking wankers.

And keep writing.

Has anyone else's blogger turned German? Mine says stuff like - Sie können HTML-Tags verwenden.

Kate Pearce said...

Porn kills...but in a kind way
'snort' :)
T-shirt anyone?

"But if they don't, then fuck 'em, the stupid, misguided, braindead, fucking fuckwits cos they don't know jack shit and who the fuck are they to pass fucking judgement? Fucking wankers."

How strange, Kristina, that's almost exactly what I say!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Has anyone else's blogger turned German? Mine says stuff like - Sie können HTML-Tags verwenden.

Well, Kristina . . . remember last week, when you insisted on customizing all your stuff with that Rammstein template . . .

Ally said...

Madelynne and Kate,
Thankyou both for your encouragement and many others as well. I actually just got off the phone with an editor who has agreed on a fair price to help me out with proofreading and editing for grammer. Yaaaa...

Jeremy,
LMAO. And we never have to run out for an ink cartridge
At least you seem to be getting it to squirt. Good for you! ;)

You can't mix horror and comedy! Silly me!
You can now. Watch the Scary Movie parodies, there are even sci-fi comedies now.
I find it interesting how trends change over the years.

kristina lloyd said...

Gott in himmel, Jeremy! Of course, the Rammstein template!

This explains so much. All week I've been saying Ich liebe Dich, and what I'm actually trying to say is ...

No, let's leave it there, shall we?

Deanna Ashford said...

Thanks for that Theresa, drinking does help. From now on I'll have to spend my life with a half drunk glass of wine in my hand. Boy that's going to be expensive - it'll mean trips to France to bring it back by the crate full.
Who knows I may come up the the newest comedy script on TV or a new erotic genre - sex and comedy intermixed.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

I actually have quite a few short stories and maybe a big chunk of a novel in my "box". However,unlike you brave lusties, I've never sent any of it out. Maybe I had a premonition that it wouldn't sell or that in any case I wouldn't make much for my efforts. But then of course there's the glory to consider, although I'd have to publish under a pseudonym. Must say though, I was tempted by Rachel Kramer Bussel's call for submissions, not that I'm the submissive sort.

t'Sade said...

Now here is a topic I can truly appreciate. :) Sadly, I've also suffered through it. I only have two, really.

I wrote a story, Blinded by the Bear. I was part of a group editing thing for erotica and one of the ladies on the mailing list was also a publisher. She liked it, once I made a few changes, and I got a lovely little contract. Two months later, I got a not-so lovely letter saying they were going out of business. I believe that was eroticsf.com. Well, a year or so pass and I get a letter from her again, as she is starting up a new business. Happy that she thought of me, I got another lovely little contract and my story got shoved out to a bunch of review places. Then... a few months later, a check for under $2 and a letter saying she was going out of business.

At the same time, somewhere in 99, I wrote my first novel, The Mummy's Girl. It was a BDSM fantasy about an Aztec-style mummy and the girl he fell in love with. She died and kept getting reincarnated while he did the entire "I'm a horny mummy" thing. It was my first novel, the first time I ever finished something and said "damn, I actually finished!" I sent it out to a couple of places. The first two answered rather quickly with "lovely writing, but um, we don't like that whole naked bondage and whipping" that the first chapter had. Fair enough. The third place, Unbound Books, said "sure, send it." I think I vibrated most of the day before I sent my manuscript in. And waited... and waited. They had readings every six months but I didn't poke them until month eleven. A week later, I had a contract. A month later, I got my proof. A month after that, I got to see my my book at Amazon.com (it was also on bn.com, but pulled in a few months). That is when the troubles started. *sigh* Orders were late, like 30 days late. Lots of screwups. I once called them and told them I got three emails for orders that were 30+ days late, they finally shipped out enough to fulfill their orders on Amazon. I got one check for $21 and that was it for FIVE years. I found out last year, they went out of business and never bothered telling me. I learned from the lady who bought out the company's assets.

I'm apparently a publisher-killer. *pout*

So, the link from Amazon doesn't really get you any books, just no one is around to tell them that it changed. I actually started last week on the process of republishing Mummy's Girl (and my second novel, Dolcett Girls) on lulu.com and maybe get rid of the 30 author copies I have on my shelf.

Madeline Moore said...

Kristina, at risk of making you snort your tea again, I should mention that 'Incense of Love' was penned by Desiree Embers. Oh how I luved that pen name. I would be Dez Embers right now if I'd had my way, but Felix rightly advised me not to suggest it to Black Lace as my pseudonym.

I say rightly because my short stories had been published by Madeline de Chambrey and I wanted to keep using the name, but the outgoing BL editor suggested I come up with a name 'less silly'. Madeline Moore was that name.

I wonder what Kerri would've thought of Deziree Embers?

Dez did have a column once, called 'Permanent Wave' but by once I mean, published one time, as the magazine I was contracted to do a column for simply stole its articles and pictures from other mags, and I thought that was asking for trouble...

Madeline Moore said...

Oops, sorry, I meant, Kate, I hope you don't snort your tea (I'm just starting on my morning coffee now so I'm a bit dense.) Although, I hastily add, that is not to suggest that I want Kristina to snort her tea, because I don't...not unless snorting tea is fun? Oh bother, I'll be quiet now.

t'Sade said...

I love hearing about bylines and pen names. How people come up with them is just as fascinating as the stories they write. :) Some of them, I didn't even realize were bylines, like Ann Maxwell (I *love* Firedancer) while others just scream penname (t'Sade *cough*).

Somehow, I don't catch most pennames. I remember going through my mother's library and pulling out two murder mysteries by two different authors, talking about how I liked one, but the other didn't seem to be as good and her telling me they were the same person. Stunned me, actually, that a byline seems that different.

Kate Pearce said...

t'sade
ouch!! and double ouch!
Don't you hate it when publishers fold on you like that? Good for you for keeping going despite all that trauma!
btw-I LOVE Ann Maxwell 'Fire Dancer' series! I scoured the second hand bookstores to find all 3 of the series but she never finished it-sob

Madeline
Desiree Embers???
God I love it...

If it makes any of you feel better, I just got a rejection today via my agent that mentioned the words 'writing not strong enough and cliched'
I'm still in denial
give me more chocolate and gin

t'Sade said...

Kate:

Yeah. One day, I decided to look for her and found her site, including her justification for never finishing the series. Apparently, she had lots of fans, but she switched publishers and didn't feel right working on a series from an old publisher.

Frankly, if people liked my book and wanted a sequel, I'd be writing it almost instantly. Or at least in the next five years. :)

I still use images from Fire Dancer in my RPG games. And in some of my novels (I love the molten tracery along the skin).

Madeline Moore said...

Geez Kate, pretty weird to get a rejection slip at the very moment that your piece on rejection is up on Lust Bites.

'writing not strong enough and cliched' WTF ???!!!

That's just plain ugly, Kate. Why, I'm getting mad/depressed just HEARING about it. I think it's unnecessarily cruel, frankly. A critique can be useful, of course, but this reads like a thoughtless, pusilanimous statement issued by one of those failed writers who vents by punishing real writers...

Um, this didn't come from our God, did it? If it did, cancel the above...

yours in solidarity,
Dez

t'Sade said...

I hate rejections like that. I've gotten a spate of them, including one that was a 3" strip of paper that started with "Dear Artist/Researcher/Author:"

Author was circled.

On the other hand, once they reject it, it seems like they don't want to touch it anymore. :( I've gotten to sending a query letter back asking for feedback or reasons (not that they answer any of them yet). It is really hard to improve if all they say is "sucks".

Kate Pearce said...

Thanks for the support Madeline!, to be fair that did go to my agent and I do have the option to not actually get the real rejection letters but just the vague details. I prefer the whole things usually, and to be honest, this one just slid right off my shoulders. I'm pretty busy at the moment anyway :)