Close but no cigar

I received an e-mail the other day with mixed emotions. It was a rejection letter from a publishing house. My manuscript was in the “close but not quite there” category; the publisher just did not have the manpower or the finances to publish more titles. She then ┬ásaid, “let me quickly add that we did enjoy previewing it.”

I am used to rejection slips and have said in the past that rejection slips are positive things, not negative. We as writers can learn from them. They push us forward.

In the era of very few book and chapbook publishers, even fewer publishers that read manuscripts for free, and so many of those publishers looking at a specific market, the rejection slip can slip past you as positive. I was disappointed in that this particular publishing house publishes more titles a year than many, despite the admission that they wished they could publish more. And a book-length poem as manuscript that employs many different forms of poetry has a hard enough time finding a home.

Yet, I WAS almost there. I was close. This is encouraging news. I just have to tighten the bolts. I was thankful the rejection e-mail didn’t say, “You gotta be kiddin’ me!”

In short, a rejected poem is one thing; a rejecting manuscript is quite another. I have to push on, try and figure out what the manuscript is lacking. What can turn a “close” into an acceptance?

I think I need readers. Readers that don’t charge. After all, I make no money — and my wife makes Indian rupees. $20.00 is almost a full day’s budget for a family of four.

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