Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

A form rejection December 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:24 pm

That’s what I got from the Presents contest.

Thank you for submitting your first chapter to The Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009. The winners have now been notified and we’re sorry to say that your entry was not successful.

You may be wondering if you should revise your story?  On the whole, we’d advise against this, but instead recommend that you start afresh with something completely new.  Of course, we understand that you’ll want to know the reasons why your chapter didn’t make it into our shortlist, but unfortunately we can’t give individual feedback to every entrant. However you may want to take a look at the most common mistakes we saw in this year’s competition entries, which you can find here: http://www.iheartpresents.com/2009/11/contest-update-feedback-from-the-editors/

 We appreciate your interest in Harlequin Mills & Boon and wish you all success with your future writing.

 Yours sincerely,

  Editorial Department

It wasn’t completely a surprise, though obviously not what I’d hoped for.  I thought this story was a lot better than my entry last time, which did get some personal feedback. To be honest, I though there was a better chance I’d get asked to send more than that I would get the R.

I was wrong.

I’m a bizarre mix of devastated and relieved.

Devastated that they apparently didn’t find anything at all to like in my story. That totally impersonal form rejection, a massive contrast to the personalised ones  they are also sending out.

Relieved that it was  a blessedly fast response. Relieved that I can work on the new story I’ve started plotting and character development for (I actually found myself thinking, “Hope I don’t get a full request on Luk and Emma, I really want to write this story,” this morning on the train- must have known something!). Relieved because at last I can take off this Presents straitjacket and try writing what I want to write instead of what I should write. Don’t get me wrong. There are some fabulous Presents writers I’m going to keep on loving to read. I just know I won’t be one of them. And straitjacket isn’t the right word. More like holding my breath permanently to kid myself I can fit into those two-sizes-too-small skinny designer jeans, when I just want to get back into my flowery dresses and relax.

I know Presents is not the line for me to keep targeting. I’m not right for it and it’s not right for me. I had to pretty much gut my story to “Presentise” it. Out went the secondary characters. Out went the subplots. Alphaing up my hero did not come naturally to me, he wanted to be kind and nice to the heroine!

I don’t feel I’ve failed. I said this to a friend who also had the form R-“It’s only quitting it you quit writing. It’s called learning, if after giving it your best shot you decide you fit better somewhere else.” I think that’s true for me too.

I’m not sorry I tried again. I’ve learned a lot in the process I might never have learned otherwise. But boy, does it feel good to say I will never again write anything aimed at Presents!

My plan is to write my remote area nurse story for JanNo, which will probably be aimed at Superromance. Then while that first draft is sitting I’m going to go back and write the version of Luk and Emma I want to write.

To all the contest entrants today who got an email, whether the form rejection or something more personal, keep on writing. Believe in yourself and your talent, and you will find your “place”, wherever that is.


65 Responses to “A form rejection”

  1. Maya Says:


    I’m gutted for you. As you said, you had personalised feedback from last year’s comp, so a form rejection is devastating. But, you seem to have a future plan which includes my two favourite mantras – “move on” and “keep writing”. I wish you all the best with your new stories. Following your blog, I know you’re prolific, so I don’t doubt you’ll be a published author one day. Kindest regards,


  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Maya! I’m less upset by this than I thought I’d be. Yes, I had a brief period of feeling that awful hollow pain, but it passed surprisingly fast. I wanted an answer on whether I should keep targeting Presents, and I got it! The next story is already there, characters wanting their story to be heard.

    Though I think there’s an element of learning to write to fit a line and shaping one’s writing in that direction, there’s also an element of naturally being a good fit, having the right voice, having characetrs who work within the series requirements. I had my poor hero doing contortions to fit what I thought he needed to be!

    My new story aimed at Superromance may miss the target too, but the writing will be fun and I’ll learn more again.

    How about you, any feedback yet?

  3. Jackie Says:

    That’s a great attitude Jane. And no, you haven’t failed. What you said about learning is so true; this is just another lesson. Finding where you fit is one of the hardest parts of this process. As Maya says, keep writing. It’s the one thing YOU can control.

  4. Robyn Says:

    “Believe in yourself and your talent.” Yes, I’m borrowing your own words to others! Because they apply to you too. We believe in you, Jane. Super sounds like a comfortable fit for your natural style of writing and that’s a terrific start. I’m so glad that you’re already planning ahead; what a great attitude.


  5. Hugs. And snap. I’ve been getting rejections so long they don’t even hurt any longer – not even a bit. It’s expected and after a quick shrug of the shoulder I go to the next story. Tough as old boots? Or deluded? Probably a bit of both.

    It’s great to see you’re keeping busy – best way to deal with it. As Jackie says, you have a great attitude.


  6. waitingforthecall Says:

    You know, I was posting on your blog just the same time you posted on mine? Spooky or what?
    Sorry you got the same email. That sucks. Big hugs and loads of alochol for us all, I think. I thought I would have a vat of wine, but one glass was enough.
    I’m surprised how little upset I am by it, far less than last time.

  7. What an uplifting post!! Commiserations on the R but good on you for taking the opportunity to reassess your writing goals. Good luck on the remote nurse story – it sounds great! I’m also aiming for Supers (as well as MH).

  8. waitingforthecall Says:

    Oh, that’s great! We must talk Supers sometime!

  9. Maisey Says:

    Jane, you rock. Your chapter was good. Your writing is good. Be free and write what you want.

  10. Minka's Tail Says:

    You know what? I’m a little bit annoyed. The person who won the big American prize has published about 19 books in several different languages, under 2 pseudonyms. While they never said this was an amateur contest, I still feel this is not exactly fair. Susanna Carr, I imagine, has a literary agent and editors. She probably did not need to enter a contest open to the general public, that was subtly marketed as “someone’s big chance.” Why bother entering these things if the awards go to people who have major publishing contracts already? At least the two English winners are breakthrough artists.

  11. Jane Holland Says:

    I agree. It’s perfectly legitimate to see this in terms of relief and pragmatism – if Presents doesn’t suit you as a line, would you really want to be drawn into writing for it over the course of the next year or longer?

    I had exactly the same dilemma; although I did start off as a pre-teen reading those terse Alpha heroes and feel perfectly comfortable with their more rugged qualities, I’m not sure the Presents line as it currently stands is right for my voice. Frankly, I’m more at home in the longer, ever so slightly more leisurely Historicals.

    At any rate, I’m hoping HMB will agree with that and request a Full after I send off this partial!!

    So, disappointment not to get feedback, but it’s all good experience, isn’t it?

  12. Lori Says:

    Feeling your misery and optimism on the other side of the pond. I got the same rejection letter but, I won’t throw out my story, I am going to adapt it for Blaze and Desire. Why? Because I can’t write wimpy heriones and I think that was my downfall in this contest, My herione held her own with the hero and did not back down. Sometimes the presents Heriones seem a little “Mary Sue” to me. In fact one of my friends who read it said it reminded her of Carly Phillips, I’ll take that as a compliment!

  13. waitingforthecall Says:

    Lori, sorry to hear of your R. I only know one person who had encouraging feedback. I’m not sure your kick-ass heroine was necessarily an issue. I feel they are looking for stronger heroines who can give as good as they get. Maisey was told in her first revision letter that her heroine gave in too soon, to give her more feistiness. Not knowing your chapter I can’t really comment, but perhaps it was more the underlying premise creating their conflict that needed bringing out more. Why was she so determined to fight him? Maybe you wrote well but it just wasn’t a premise they felt was right for Presents (think that was part of my problem). Good luck with your story and fingers crossed it works for another line!

  14. waitingforthecall Says:

    This is a tough one, MInka’s Tail. It feels like there was a mismatch between what the editors saw the contest as- a chance to find the best voices new to Presents- and the way it was marketed as a contest for aspiring writers. Some of the promotions for it did specifically say for unpublished writers, but the rules were- not currently published by Harlequin. Interpreting the rules differently won’t change the outcome for the majority of entrants who received form rejections. We can submit again though! I hope the reaction doesn’t stop Harlequin running another comp. I do hope the message on who can enter is communicated clearly so everyone comes to it with the same expectations next time.

  15. Jo Says:

    Big hugs, Jane, but you have so got the right attitude. Keep writing on and you’ll get there 🙂

  16. Lorraine Says:

    I feel the same Jane, I really thought I’d upped my game this year so getting the form response was a bit of a body blow. We’ve just got to dust ourselves off and keep going. It’s nice to have a bit of company in the dusting off process – I know of some really good writers who got the form so that doesn’t make me feel so bad about it.

    Take care.

  17. Maya Blake Says:

    Sorry Jane, I went to bed straight after posting. No, I haven’t had any feedback yet. I check my mail every five minutes but so far, nothing. I sent my entry twice because I didn’t put my contact details on the first submission. I get this weird feeling I may have been disqualified. Oh well, we’ll see come Friday night! Wishing you fleet fingers on your Superromance story!


  18. Hey Jane. Snap! I got exactly the same form R as you, and like you am not letting it put me off. My entry for the new writers scheme this year got critiqued as a possible presents, and was told there were lots of problems, too many characters (although they like them) the wrong place (west of ireland village, rather than monaco), millionaire hero who didn’t look like a hero (no shiny shoes) etc. Theres too much to change, and its all the stuff I like, so I’m going to work on the stuff that makes the story flat (not good enough conflict) and sub to a different publisher in the new year. Never give up is my motto, and I’m glad its yours too!

  19. Jane —
    I do think you need to look at the sheer number of people who entered this year as opposed to last year. I have no idea of the percentage of requests for fulls/compliments but even if they did the same number, over all the percentage receiving them would be down.

    The most important thing is that you decide where your voice best fits. What themes do you like writing about? How? What sort of heroes? Where will you be able to write 40 books without being bored or frustrated? It can be very hard to change lines.

    Personally, I have always avoided contests figuring the odds lengthened on those lines. I can remember when I first started some huge Intrigue contest and another Blaze one. I figured that while others were trying to write for those I’d try and write for another line.

  20. Minka's Tail Says:

    Thanks for your response. I guess my complaint is, authors of that success level (Carr, and to a lesser extent, Marr) doesn’t have to enter a contest. They could have just said, “Oh, this author wants to come over to our publishing house; great, let’s give her agent a call,” but made the best unknown the contest winner. It’s not an either/or proposition. They could have gotten the famous authors they wanted AND discovered a new talent. Also, Susanna Carr did have something published by Harlequin (an e-book or Spice Brief, I believe). It’s on her website.

    Incidentally, what were they looking for, do you think? In Presents, the boyfriend has to be completely rich and aggressive (preferably foreign), and the girlfriend has to be somewhat poor, shy and/or pathetic? And all their conversation has to be about facts? (One of the books I read had the lovers talking about how to do a photo shoot for a food magazine, different types of chef’s hats, and types of volcanoes. It was interesting, but not like real conversation.) They don’t come right out and say what they’re looking for on their website. How are Superromances and Blazes different? (well, Blazes have more graphic sex scenes, for sure ;))

  21. Romy Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your R, but as everyone else here has said, you have an incredibly healthy attitude. Good luck with rewriting this story, and I really hope it finds a home very soon on the desk of an editor who falls in love with it.

  22. Eileen Says:

    Minka, it sounds like you’re a fan of romances but not of Presents Romances. The editors do “come out and say” what they want for the line on the website … and blog, and forums, and podcasts … but all of that is just the bare bones — call it the “theorhetical version” of what they want — to really understand what they’re looking for you have to have read LOTS of their recent releases: the “practical” application of the theory. What I’m saying is that if you don’t *love* the Presents hero and heroine then maybe you should be targeting another line or publisher. Following Jane’s blog I’ve noticed that her friends who’ve recently gotten the Call from Presents are women who would tell you flat out that Presents are their favorite books. Ever. I don’t really feel that way about Presents and I think it showed in my entry. Anyway, I think it takes time and thought to realize what you love the best and why you love it, and that’s even before you get around to writing it!

  23. Amy Strnad Says:

    Jane, I’m sorry about the R. They hurt. And I know how it feels to get that blinding clarity about your writing. For two years I targeted Medicals because everyone told me I should. (I work in a hospital). I struggled, I fumed, I cursed, and I kept thinking it was so difficult because, well . . . writing IS difficult. But I didn’t realize that it was a WHOLE LOT MORE DIFFICULT because I was trying very hard to squeeze my round self into that very square hole. Medicals are not a fit for my voice. Period. And trying to twist my characters, my story, into something that was presentable to that line was like torture.

    And I kept thinking, everyone says you can’t give up! You have to keep trying! Which are VERY true words, as long as you are also being true to who YOU are as a writer.

    Sorry to ramble. But your story really resonated with me.

    Best of luck!!


  24. Ferdous Says:

    Hi Jane, so sorry about the R. It sounds like you’ve moved on, very rightly so, which is an inspiration to me and others. Its great that you really know where your writing fits so keep on writing, sooner or later your time will come.

    Best of luck and do keep blogging, I really enjoy yours. As a newbie it really encourages me to know that there are other people and I’m not the only one!

    take care

  25. Pamela Says:

    Hi Jane,

    So sorry for your form R. I’m in the same boat and feel quite gutted because I wanted a little feedback at least. But I love Presents, and am determined to get there.
    Can you share a little, you don’t have to mention names, what kind of personal feedback the person you were talking about received? Having heard of only Rs and more Rs, I think I just want the thrill of knowing someone received something other than the blasted R.

  26. Maisey Says:


    That’s true of me anyway! I picked the line I wanted to write for based on what I liked to read. I connect with it, and that helps me understand it better. It makes plots a lot easier to come up with too!

    Minka, when you decide what line you’d like to write for, if you want to keep pursuing category, I really do recommend reading as many current releases as you can get your hands on. They have the general guidelines for each line posted on eharlequin, but I think reading the current releases is definitely the way to go.

    Best of luck to you!

  27. waitingforthecall Says:

    Oops, sorry I missed your comment this morning Jane! I got up to quite a few comments, and came home from work to a whole lot more. So for anyone who’s waited a while for their post to appear (first post goes through moderation) or for a reply, I’m sorry. Not that I imagine anyone is holding their breath waiting!

    Your love of Alphas will be able to shine in Historicals, Jane. I’m thinking of all those delicious Georgette Heyer heroes- some very Alpha traits there!

    It’s definitely all good experience. I don’t regret having a go for one minute. Learning what’s not right for me is one step closer to finding what is right. The difficulty for a reader who reads across all the lines and well outside them too.

    I’m soory you got the R here. I hope you get some lovely feedback on the Historical your are about to sub.

  28. waitingforthecall Says:

    Jo, we all will get there. Stopping ourselves is the only thing that will stop us.
    I’ve lost track of who has heard yet and who hasn’t. Any news for you?
    Anyone with good news, please share!

  29. waitingforthecall Says:

    It does help knowing we are not alone, Lorraine! Though paradoxically, I want to hear more people getting positive feedback.

    I was puzzled by what feels like going backwards. But remember, Maisey and Gill got the same form R last comp. I think Michelle S is right (when is she ever wrong!) when she says a contest may be the very worst way to sub to a line.

    No-one who feels Presents is their first love should give up subbing to the line as a result of the comp. Gill and Maisey are proof of that!

  30. waitingforthecall Says:

    Fingers crossed for good feedback, Maya!

  31. waitingforthecall Says:

    Sally, your story sounds like something I would like to read! I hope you find the right editor and publisher for it.

  32. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks Michelle! You always give such wise advice. I’m sure you are correct about contests. I think because I do enjoy reading Presents and my buddies are trageting the line I felt I should go for that too, and the contests have been an added impetus. I’ve learned a load about writing through working on my entry story, and even better, I am feeling clearer on my future direction.
    Does it sound too Pollyanna to be true to say I am glad I got this R? It truly doesn’t even sting a tiny bit now! I’m just hoping for more of the writers I know to get good news. but only one feedback request I know of so far, apart from Jilly’s fabulous win.

  33. Steph Says:

    Sorry to hear about your R, Jane. The blow seems even harder given the personalised one you got previously. But don’t take it to heart, I think your mind’s already made up.

    Go and write that story the way you want it to look. I’ve tried following publishers’ lines and found myself restricted in what I wanted to write. Yes, you have to fit in somewhere, but then there are different lines to try out. Don’t let it curb your story. Fingers crossed!

  34. waitingforthecall Says:

    LOL, Minka’s Tail, I think you’ve been reading the wrong Presents!
    You may find a few that fit that stereotype, but there’s a lot more to the line than that!
    I know the book you are referring to, that’s very much that writer’s style- I loved it and recommended it here (I’m guessing it’s Kate Hardy’s Surrender to The Playboy Sheikh). Her stories are actually Modern Heat, which comes out as a sub-series in the UK. The stories there tend to be less emotionally intense and conflicted than the standard Presents (LOL, probably why I like them!), and she possibly writes the stories with the lightest conflict in the line.
    The best way to find out more of what Presents are is to read more of them. Annie West is one of my faves, or Trish Morey. Try the newest writers, as they will show what fresh voices the editors are looking for- often established writers can break the rules because they have an established reader base. Lynn Raye Harris, Tina Duncan, and Sabrina Phillips are the most recently published authors.
    The editors podcast over at eHarlequin is good too.
    Superromance is what they call a Home and Family line. It’s longer, more true to life, with more secondary character involvement and subplot. The hero and heroine are part of a wider community, often children. Presents is more secret babies or pregnacies, but rarely older children. There can be more external conflict keeping characters apart too, though there still needs to be internal conflict and emotional growth too.
    I haven’t read many Blaze so can’t comment too much, except to say that my take on that is that in Blaze, the heroine has sex first then realises she’s in love, where in all the other lines she needs to be in love first to have sex.

  35. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey Romy, you enter? Any feedback?

  36. waitingforthecall Says:

    I agree totally, Eileen. I think that’s so true- if a writer doesn’t love the line, they won’t write well for it. A very good writer might be able to fake it for a book or two, but it will show. Readers deserve better than a writer who cynically writes a book she looks down on, just because it will sell.
    It’s all about going where the energy is. I said to someone earlier, if there were stacks of all the latest release books in front of you, which one would you pick up first? It’s not infallible, but chances are that’s the line you should be aiming for.

  37. sally Says:

    Hi Jane,

    I’ m dreadful for lurking! Hope you’re okay and feeling inspired. Thought I’d pop in and talk about my feedback as Pamela has asked and others have been wondering if anyone has received a request for more over on iheartpresents.
    Pamela, I can honestly say that I was astounded when I opened the email from Richmond yesterday morning to read that they loved both my story premise and my feisty heroine (the first thing I did was email Jane). In fact, I hardly slept last night, I was so keyed up, and have been walking around like a zombie most of the day. I really expected an R. I’ve had a few, starting in 2007 when I sent in my first submission. It was a very encouraging rejection with detailed criticism: too much back-story, too much emphasis on a secondary character, too much arguing for no reason between H/h and a clichéd first meeting. I started on another manuscript and entered it along with another first chapter into the IS contest. I received absolutely no feedback, not even a form R. I was puzzled as to why, but when I read the winning entries and an article written by one of the editors about the most common writing mistakes I realised where I’d gone wrong. I scrapped that story, started another, then sent it in last July. I received another rejection in October, which said that for my next submission I should take care not to let the external conflict drive the story and I should keep the secondary characters in the background. Everything I’ve learned so far came together I think in this first chapter. I didn’t struggle with it like I have with the others. I’ve been asked to make a few alterations and send in three chapters. I haven’t got three chapters though! I was so convinced that I’d get another rejection that I concentrated on another story instead. I wonder if I can do it??? I’m beginning to feel a bit scared!!! Weird isn’t it? Don’t let the dreaded R throw you off course. For me nothing hurt like that first R, but it just made me stronger and more determined to grow as a writer.
    Hugs to everyone who got an R

  38. waitingforthecall Says:

    Ah, Amy, I know that thing of being told we “should” write Medicals too! And exactly what you mean about twisting characters. I just about turned my hero into a contortionist!
    Any news on your entry?

  39. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks Ferdous! Fingers crossed for your submission!

  40. waitingforthecall Says:

    Pamela, I’ve only heard of one feedback so far. I wonder if people are keeping quiet because they don’t want to hurt those of us with Rs?
    Please, anyone with a happy story- share it!
    I’ll ask the person who got the positive feedback if she minds sharing a little.

  41. waitingforthecall Says:

    Maisey just naturally thinks Presents! But what seems instinctive is usually shown to be learned, at a very high level. Maisey honed her Presents instincts by reading, reading, reading, and loving what she read!

  42. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks Steph! I asked for a sign if Presents was the line for me, and I got it.
    Not that I think everyone who got an R should stop targeting Presents, far from it, your next submission just may be the one that cracks it!

  43. waitingforthecall Says:

    Sally, I’m so glad you shared that! I was just about to email and very tentatively ask if you would mind!
    I have no doubt at all you can do it. This story is the one for you.

  44. sally Says:

    I wasn’t sure whether to share. I feel like the odd one out and it doesn’t feel good! I was so hoping that you and others would get positive feedback.

  45. Hi Jane,
    Just wanted to join with everyone in saying sorry about your R. Good on you for taking it as you have and using it to move forward in a direction that will hopefully be your perfect fit.

  46. waitingforthecall Says:

    Sally, I’m so glad you did!
    I have a nice happy thought that all the entrants who haven’t heard yet are going to get feedback. Fingers crossed for anyone still waiting!
    It’s bound to take longer to write personalised emails to people than fire off the form R a bunch at a time. I hope other’s with good news will report in so we can celebrate with them.

  47. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks Joanne! I’m surprised how okay I feel about it. The last R left me devastated for weeks if not months, this time I had maybe half an hour yesterday of feeling literally kicked in the guts, it was a visceral, physical pain, but it passed. I feel a slight sadness that I “failed” but a whole lot of excitement about heading off on a new path.
    When do we get to read your chapter on eHarl? Have they given you a date to post yet? I hope you are enjoying the affirmation and anticipation!

  48. sally Says:


    I was thinking exactly the same thing. Not all editors work at the same pace. I have a positive feeling about Maya too. I’m sure all Rs will have gone out on Monday. How many people do you know of who haven’t heard yet?

  49. Amy Strnad Says:

    Wow! Ever since last Friday, I’ve read more blog entries/ comments than I have in my entire life to date.

    45 comments! Just 175 more and you’ll catch up with the competition announcement on the presents blog. Jane, you’re a STAR!

    Yes, I heard back on my entry and got a three chapter request. I didn’t mention it because my focus was on your blog and your story. I also forgot to tell you that I think you are a brave, insightful, and wise woman! It sounds like this decision was a no brainer for you. Very smart. I entered into a month long self-flagellation fest (figuratively, of course) that ended in a two month writing hiatus. Stupid, huh?


  50. waitingforthecall Says:

    Yay! Amy, love it! I’m so so pleased for you! And you’re already waiting on a full, aren’t you? You clearly have a good MH voice. Doing a little happy dance here for you!

    The blog has gone a little mental. Having the number of views and comments in a day I normally get in a week. 175 more comments? Don’t scare me. I’d never get any writing done ever again by the time I replied to that many comments!

    And I reacted just that way with my last R. I didn’t consciously stop writing, but I couldn’t commit to anything and was spectacularly unproductive for about six months.

  51. waitingforthecall Says:

    I know for sure a few people haven’t heard yet. I suspect there may be a few more who have heard but are not quite ready to tell all yet. I think Joanne C and Maya and a few others will be doing a happy dance before the end of the week. Hope so anyway!

  52. Jane, i’m really glad to be able to feel your excitement at moving onto projects that will allow you the free reign to use your voice as you really want to. Your blogs always a great read, so i’m convinced that you will find the perfect place to shine.
    Lovely to read happy your happy news Sally & Amy, good luck. x
    I’ve no idea yet when my chapter will be on eharl Jane – probably ages, after all the uproar on there over the weekend! I reckon they’ll let the dust settle, and then I think they do them in stages, with the winners first and then the runners up at a later date? I’m just guessing, i’ve no clue really.

  53. waitingforthecall Says:

    Well, I’ll be looking out for it! I trust Robyn’s judgement – anything she says is a good read will be great!

  54. Romy Says:

    Whew – what a lot of comments.

    Jane – I did enter, and I’m still waiting…

  55. waitingforthecall Says:

    Yay! I feel so sure this is a case of no news is good news. Every possible body part crossed for a full request for you, Romy! And it looks like a lot of comments but remember half of them are me answering people’s posts…

  56. Sorry to hear of the R. But it really should be called an FB for FeedBack, shouldn’t it? IT just says that this story, at this time, isn’t a fit for this line. So, you can use that to decide where you go from here. And it sounds like you have a direction that feels good to you. Good luck with it. I’m sure you’ll meet with success.

    And no response for me yet.

  57. waitingforthecall Says:

    That’s good news. Seems like slowly the no reponses are turning into positive feedback, so hopefully you’ll hear soon. They seem to have been given out to different editors and they are working their way through them

    And while a form R is definitely a feedback, I think most people getting them would have liked a little more to go by on just why that submission wasn’t suitable!

    I know that’s just not possible given the limitations on the editor’s time. Doesn’t mean I think “form feedbacks” are any less sucky to receive.

  58. Maya Says:

    I heard back, Jane. Editor was very positive about my writing and wanted to see three chapters and synop of another story since the comp entry had a few issues with it.

    Good thing is, she asked me to send it straight to her, so I guess I’m bypassing the slush pile, although that in no way guarantees a fast response!

    So although it was a R on the comp entry, there’s reason to do a happy dance. For more info visit my blog. Off to battle the flu which seems to be intent on inviting itself for Christmas!


  59. waitingforthecall Says:

    Yay on the direct line to an editor! That’s fabulous news! Your writing must have really impressed her!

    Boo hiss on the flu. Take good care of yourself.

  60. Eileen Says:

    Maya that’s fabulous!

  61. Jane Holland Says:

    Sally, how marvellous for you! Thanks for letting us know how it happened. I wish I’d had some feedback, to let me know where Id gone wrong, but of course, with so many entries, it would be impossible for them to give so much of their time to mss that didn’t make the grade.

    But I hope you run with their request for a partial. Even if it feels hard now, with another story in your head, it should give you a chance for definite feedback on your writing, and maybe a requested Full at the end of it. Well worth the effort, I’d say.

  62. Many congratulations to Maya, Amy and Sally, that’s great news! I got a standard R, but am delighted to hear of your requests, so thanks for sharing.

  63. waitingforthecall Says:

    Sally, I was so surprised to hear you got the R too. Your voice is totally Modern Heat, IMHO.
    Good luck with the rewrite of Bound to Love.

  64. Joanna Terrero Says:

    Congratulations to those who got positive feedback.
    I got an R too!
    You know guys, it could have been worse, much worse.
    I don’t know if any of you ever heard of The Rejectionist, is a blog that belongs to someone who defying
    himself/herself as a cranky, underpaid, whiskey-swilling, snack-
    deprived assistant to a Very Important New York Literary Agent. They
    had a contest about the worse rejections letters ever, and the
    winners’s entries are cruel, but freaking hilarious!.

    Our R forms are nice, if compared to it.

    Here is the link if you want to check it out.


  65. waitingforthecall Says:

    Oh, I love The Rejectionist, Joanna- she’s in my blog list! Must go check your link as I don’t think I’ve seen that.

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