Friday, December 23, 2011

Rejection? What Rejection?

Rejection is something that we photographers come cross on a regular basis - some would say far too regulary. And in all sorts of different guises. 

You may come across rejection when contributing to a stock agency that fails your submission due to technical errors or another that declines your submission simply because they have too many images of the Eiffel Tower, or just because they don't think it's a good enough photograph. 

Or, perhaps you're a student on a photography course getting grades that are lower than you would like or expect?

Or maybe, like me on this occasion, you were submitting proposals to book publishers in the hope of getting a contract for a new book. 

Well, whatever the reason that you may be feeling rejected the correct response is to keep at it. Take on board the feedback you may get (if any) and use it to further your dream. Looking for sympathy doesn't usually help, nor does attacking a doll fashioned in the image of the rejecter with a long pin. The only thing that really helps is that you get back in the proverbial saddle and try again - IF you think that the project is still worth trying for, and adjust your approach to suit the buyer, if you think it needs it. 

I recently spent 3 months changing the proposal for a book project, which was constantly being reviewed and changed by the potential publisher. The proposal began life as 1600 words and ended up as 8000 words (none of which will actually be in the book itself) and it was reviewed by 5 different people on a panel that the publisher set up. I got the contract last week, and the publisher expects that the book will be one of their better sellers, when it is published next year.

As a final bit of positivism; here is an email that I received, today, from a publisher in London. It refers to a book proposal I sent them in April 2011. The positive bit is in my reply, below it.

Dear Stephen Power,

Thank you for sending your proposal for
Traditional Notes, which was read with interest.

Unfortunately, after some consideration, our editors have decided that it is not suitable for our current list.

You will appreciate that we cannot publish every interesting proposal we receive. We would like to thank you for considering ******** when sending your proposal, and we hope that this disappointing response will not deter you from seeking publication elsewhere.

I apologise for the length delay in responding to your proposal.
 


My Reply

Hi *******
Thank you very much for your interesting email. My book "Traditional Notes: A Celebration of Irish Music and Musicians" was published by the Liffey Press (Dublin) in November 2011. It was launched at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick on 16th November. 

Sales are quite buoyant, at the moment, and it has received several very good reviews in the national and international Press - as recently as yesterday, with an excellent review in the Irish Post newspaper (published in London).

I am sorry that ********** was not able to publish it, but I have to say that some things work out for the best, as I am very happy with the publisher that I did find, quite soon after submitting my proposal to you. Please see the link below my signature for full details of the book.

I am currently working on new proposals, and I would be interested to know if you might like to see them.

Best wishes,

Stephen Power