By Elaine Faber
Some years ago, I typed and mailed multiple query letters for my novels to traditional publishers. Some were returned with rejection letters, some actually with three to six handwritten words, e.g. Sorry! – Not interested! – You’ve got to be kidding! Many didn’t reply at all. Perhaps they just steamed the stamp off my self-addressed, return envelope to save and use again.
As time progressed, publishing houses preferred query by e-mail. No more opening envelopes, steaming off stamps or licking envelopes to return snide rejection slips for them. Now, my auto-rejection notices came by return e-mail.
Eventually, I found a couple of editors at small presses who requested the entire manuscript. One editor told me it contained too much romance, another, not enough romance. One editor loved the story, and suggested if I removed all the exclamation points and fragmented sentences, she’d reconsider. Another suggested I have it professionally edited. After I made all the suggested changes, paid to have it professionally edited and resubmitted the manuscript, none of the editors offered a publishing contract.
As I traveled this Road to Rejection, all those rebuffs forced me to re-examine my goals, re-evaluate my skills, and devote time, investment, and energy to improve my craft. Three different teachers taught me more about writing craft than I ever thought was possible to know. Surprise! You ‘don’t know what you don’t know.’ Which is to say, the early version of my novel probably wasn’t worthy of publishing in the first place. I revised, edited, re-edited, cut the story line in half, and fleshed out the characters and plot.
Looking back, I’ve come to believe that the Road to Rejection is not necessarily a pothole-riddled, mud-filled, weed-infested sticker-path meant to trip up and discourage new writers, (though it certainly does). Rather, it is a road of lesson-learning, character building and knowledge-testing meant to wean out the weak, ill-equipped writers, (of which there are many).
The Road to Rejection forces the committed writer to polish her skills and master what you ‘don’t know what you don’t know.’ This can be done by accepting critiques from knowledgeable writers, studying with individual teachers, and reading scores of books on the subject.
Your first novel is published? Congratulations. You’ve vanquished the Road to Rejection. You now begin to market your baby. Fame and fortune must be right around the corner.
Wait! There’s another signpost up ahead? It’s called the Road to Frustration.
Synopsis of The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain by Elaine Faber
I intended The Spirit Woman of Lockeer Mountain, a story about a woman who drives a sewer truck, to be a humorous cozy mystery with funny circumstances. Overflowing toilets─ septic tank mishaps ─ a haunted bathroom fixture warehouse. Perhaps she’d unwittingly locate a rural marijuana farm.
Then an owl smacked into Lou’s window and the characters took over the story and completely changed its direction. Nate’s sister disappeared three months prior, following a minor MVA, but mysterious sightings of a woman and a mountain lion are reported. Nate’s constant obsession that his sister is amnesic, living wild in the woods with a mountain lion, is taking a toll on his budding relationship with Lou. Is the woman Nate’s sister, or is she the Native American Spirit Woman come to life, to help solve the town’s troubles?
There are troubles aplenty. Without input from the town, the government announced plans to build a mysterious medical facility nearby, along with a 100-unit housing tract, and a Wallynet big box store. Lockleer Mountain merchants are in an uproar, sure that such actions will alter the quaintness of town and destroy their small businesses. They intend to stop the government at any cost.
Then, a tragedy reveals that someone is selling illegal drugs to the local teenagers. Nate and Sheriff Peabody are challenged with a life and death decision when the reservation’s chief, White Cloud, threatens to take matters into his own hands. Can Nate and the sheriff resolve the troubling issues, or must the Spirit Woman and her feline companion help bring peace to the troubled town?
Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove with her husband and four feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Cat Writers Association, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines, have won multiple awards in various contests, and are in at least 16 anthologies. She leads a local writer’s critique group.
Elaine’s ‘Mrs. Odboddy mystery series’ has won annual awards with Northern California Publishers and Authors. Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, and All Things Cat, an anthology of cat stories, won Cat Writers’ Association 2018 and 2019 Certificates of Excellence.
Elaine enjoys sharing highlights of her novels and her writing experience at author venues. She is currently working on two fiction novels to be published in 2021 and 2022.
More About Elaine’s books and where to find them:
Black Cat Mysteries: With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Black Cat helps solve mysteries and crimes. Partially narrated by Black Cat, much of the story comes from a cat’s often humorous and poignant point of view.
Mrs. Odboddy Mystery/Adventures: Elderly, eccentric Mrs. Odboddy fights WWII from the home front. She believes war-time conspiracies and spies abound in her home town. Follow her antics in these hysterical, historical novels as a self-appointed hometown warrior exposes malcontents, dissidents and Nazi spies…even when she’s wrong.
The Spirit Woman Mystery/Paranormal/Adventures
The Native Americans believe the legendary Spirit Woman ‘protects the community.’ When Govt. demands create social unrest in a small mountain town, and drugs threaten the lives of their youth, the Spirit Woman and her mountain lion companion come to their aid.
Black Cat’s Legacy http://tinyurl.com/lrvevgm
Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer http://tinyurl.com/q3qrgyu
Black Cat and the Accidental Angel http://tinyurl.com/y4eohe5n
Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary
NCPA Cover and Interior Design Silver award 2019 http://tinyurl.com/vgyp89s
All Things Cat (anthology of short stories) http://tinyurl.com/y9p9htak
Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot NCPA 1st Fiction 2017 http://tinyurl.com/hdbvzsv
Mrs. Odboddy – Undercover Courier NCPA 3rd Cover and Design 2018 http://tinyurl/com/jn5bzwb
Mrs. Odboddy – And Then There Was a Tiger NCPA 2nd Fiction 2019 http://tinyurl.com/yx72fcpx
The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain http://tinyrul.com/y7rp7f3x