I'd hardly begun submitting creative work when I first heard the theme song of Oklahoma Crude, "I Was Born to Reject Rejection." I saw the movie on late-night TV and then on "Film du Jour," the
afternoon films in the Twin Cities. I can still hum the theme song
melody, many years later. Faye Dunaway was trying to work a laggard
oil derrick. The hired man, George C. Scott, helped her grudgingly when
Jack Palance, that great villain, threatened to take her property.
AgentTracker is a site where you can record your rejections and have access to the
websites, the statistics, and the feedback of agents and publishers.
If you only want to see positive information, the people who are
considering your full manuscripts, you can just filter that. But those
round red faces of rejection. After awhile, the tomatoes lose their
Buying used books, I keep a mental list of what I want to read. At the local library sale, one of my scarce finds was Hans
Christian Andersen's The Story of My Life, an 1871 Hurd and
Houghton edition, possibly a First American Edition. Although the book
was sturdy, I'm afraid to read old books. Sometimes they disintegrate
in your hands. When this book sold, I had to have a look before the
buyer paid for it.
Then I had to keep reading until the last hour. Hans Christian
Andersen's life was a fairy tale. The son of a shoemaker, he described
visiting a jail and then an insane asylum as a child. His grandmother
gardened for the asylum, a woman from a well-off family who married a
comic actor. Hans had a thing for puppet theatre and when he began
making clothes for his puppets, his mother decided he should become a
tailor. This boy was off to see everything early and somehow he met
Prince Christian who later become King Christian the Eighth of
Denmark. Hans wanted an education but Prince Christian assumed he
would work in a craft, much to Hans' disappointment.
He took off for Copenhagen as a teenager and literally knocked on the
doors of every famous person in the arts. He sang until his voice
broke and danced until he found a mentor. Then he wrote a tragedy,
only to be told that he should stop writing until he got an education.
Somehow his benefactor obtained funds from royalty for his education.
After publishing his poetry to acclaim amongst the poet friends he'd
collected, he was terribly hurt by the cruel criticism that followed.
Somehow he obtained funds from royalty to travel. He said no one wrote
him, realizing his clownish reputation, and when he returned, he wrote
Wonder Stories for children. The Little Mermaid paved the way. After
that, Hans Christian Anderson continued to consort with royalty and
traveled everywhere, meeting the Grimm Brothers, Mendelssohn, Dickens,
and of course, Jenny Lind.
This guy never stopped. I'd thought that writers were chosen. Hans Christian Andersen was chosen
to reject rejection. Amongst the many insults he garnered was that of
the Grimm Brother who had never heard of him. He was really a
whirlwind fairytale, shoemaker to castle.
It just goes to show that things haven't changed so much. I'm not so good
at knocking on doors and I hardly know how to beg. So I took the
traditional approach in launching my fantasy book, The House in Windward Leaves. I
went to the reviewers and found a few good lists. After submitting to
editors and agents over the years, I found submitting to reviewers a
very pleasant project. It was a risk, asking for reviews from people
who read a lot. But published books are really about readers. Of all
the submissions I've ever done, I enjoyed these review submissions the
most, however they turned out. That became a bit of a spiral, finding
people who wanted to read my book, and wanting to find more.
Writing Amid Used Books is at http://katherinelholmes.blogspot.com/