This happened about ten years ago. I wrote an African folktale which was actually a project for an English class. Since it accounted for 50% of our grade and was a presentation, I made it into a book, very amateurish, but it looked fine and I received and A on the project and an A in the class. I was so proud of myself and encouraged by others in the class, I submitted it to a local publisher that specialized in children's book publishing.I don't remember nor do I think I have the actual [rejection] letter but I will never forget this phrase forever imbedded in my memory."This was a cute little story but we are not looking for submissions of this type at this time".
What bothered you the most about this letter?
The condenscending tone. This left a mark of insecurity on me. True, I didn't know the first thing about queries or submissions policy. Still I felt and still feel that it was a good story with a moral. I think I am going to dig it out, polish it up and resubmit or better yet, self-publish myself.
Yes, that was condescending. But think how much more condescending literate people are capable of being. And, when in doubt (or anger, or despair), refer to the rules of rejection.
What interests me is that the writer seems to be thinking, "I'll show that publisher! I'll self-publish!"
If you don't care what other people think, then self-publishing is perfect for you. You just want a book to hold in your hands and maybe to give to friends as a gift. You don't care about the book appealing to buyers of books or reviewers of books. Which means you don't care about it appealing to publishers of books. Fine.
But if you are a person who just can't take what other people think, self-publishing is not a band-aid for your wounded ego. It won't prove anything to the publisher who rejected you. Because while you may harass a couple local bookstores into stocking your aspirations-made-manifest, you are never going to sell the 10,000 copies that would make a publisher think again.
I'm afraid that the majority of self-publishers are, in fact, in this latter group. They care what people think of their book, but they only want to hear about it if it's positive. All of the serious writers I know (both published and unpublished), know exactly what the problem with that is.
The moral of today's blog:
Rejection probably doesn't mean that you don't know what you're doing. Self-publishing probably does.