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Author Katie Mettner

You Be The Judge!

This is me this morning. Typing like a madman while inhaling the nectar of the Gods. This isn't exactly new, but I do want to share a rejection email I got last week, and my feelings and thoughts about it. Why? Because I think it's important to let other writers know that rejection happens, and if you think it out and consider the words in deeper detail, even the most seemingly unhelpful rejection letter can actually be helpful. I've decided to put this particular rejection email (I mean, you can't even say letter anymore!) into the helpful category, even though it's taken me a good number of days to feel that way.

Many months ago I sent off a contemporary romance to a publisher who was taking unagented submissions. It took so long for them to get back to me, I honestly forgot that I had even submitted it to them. The title was Butterflies and Hazel Eyes:

Charity Puck was hired to solve a server problem, not a heart problem. She just wasn’t banking on Gulliver Winsome being in need of both. What made her breath catch, and her heart pound, when she stared into his hazel eyes, was the hope he would be the one to heal her heart, too.

So, low and behold I received a rejection email for BHE at seven o'clock on a Sunday night of all times (I didn't actually get to read it until 9 so there went a good night's sleep). The email starts out pleasantly, of course, but quickly goes downhill. And by downhill, I mean this 'editor' sent three sentences in a row that were laughable. The first sentence was fifty-six words long, the second was sixty words long, and the third was forty-six. A sixty-word sentence that went on and on, just like she said my dialogue did, but the difference is, her sentence told me nothing that six words couldn't have accomplished.

Here is a sixty-word sentence for your reading pleasure. Thanks to my friend Carrie for writing this vomit worthy sentence!

This is what a sentence looks like when it's sixty words, which is beyond ridiculous, but you will see my reasoning in a moment, because I recently had an experience where I encountered an editor who expressed themselves in lengthy run-ons, all while criticizing—not critiquing, mind you; it wasn't particularly constructive—my ability to write concise and to-the-point fiction.

 As I read this email and hit the third massively long, strangely punctuated sentence, she lost all credibility in my mind. Now, in her this editor's defense, they sent my contemporary romance to a romantic suspense editor, but rather than letting the powers that be know the manuscript was in the wrong place, the editor preferred to email me and tell me I suck at writing and should read a book on how to write a book (why didn't I think of that?!) Unfortunately, by the time I got to that part of the email I was already so taken aback by the unprofessional email that none of the information actually permeated my brain. I've tried to read it again multiple times since then, but again, the massive amount of commas and ... in the email makes it hard to wrap your mind around the content, especially as a writer. To end the email, this particular editor had to throw a little shade at me regarding how many books I have already published and how I'm 'comfortable' in my writing style. I read this as I.E. I don't want to work with you because you already know your stuff and how this industry works. (You had to read it to gather this from it, but I won't share the original content of the email or the publisher no matter how many times I'm asked)

So, there I sat on a Sunday night with an email that said I suck as a writer, my manuscript sucks, and I should throw my laptop off a bridge into traffic (That sounds dramatic, but that's the feel I got from this email LOL) What do you do with something like that? Well, I complained about it loudly in private with my other writer friends. Let's face it. Sometimes you just gotta complain and get it out of your system. The fact is, this editor was right in one thing, I have published a lot of books and I am comfortable in my writing style. Comfortable enough that I know what my fans expect from my stories and how to make them feel happy, loved, and satisfied by the end of them. Will my writing be everyone's cup of tea? 

I didn't fall off a turnip truck yesterday and hit my head. I know that my books are written in first person and that's not everyone's cup of tea, for starters. Add in that my books are always about someone who is dealing with a disability or medical condition, and that also cuts out a large population of readers. Sure, if I wanted to write a contemporary romance where everything is rainbows and skittles I would likely be able to branch out into a new set of readers, but ultimately that won't be sustainable for me because I'm not going to keep writing about rainbows and skittles. I'm going to write about guys who use crutches and wheelchairs, and women who suffer from MS, thyroid disease, paralysis, and missing limbs. I'm not ashamed of that. I'm not trying to be someone I'm not. What I'm trying to do is provide romantic stories of finding love in this world, regardless of your physical condition. Are my heroes all gym rats with muscles and tattoos? Again, no, absolutely not. I have heroes in wheelchairs, heroes with leg length discrepancies, and heroes with tracheotomies. Do their physical disabilities make their stories untellable? Not in my opinion. The truth is, any person you run into might have a hidden disability you can't even see. Their disability doesn't make them less deserving of love than the buffed out, tattooed hero. It also doesn't mean they always have to be the funny friend or secondary character. In my world, they get to be the hero of their own story! Okay. *Deep breath in* Now you know that I don't like sixty-word sentences. You also know what my books are and aren't, so this is where you being the judge comes in. 

Starting Monday, October 29th, I will share a chapter a day of Butterflies and Hazel Eyes right here on my blog. There are 23 chapters, but I will only post Monday-Friday, so people can have a chance to catch up over the weekend if they've been busy (See my confidence here? Everyone is going to love this book!) That means November 28th will be the final chapter posting. I loved doing this with another book of mine, and the readers did too. I don't have to time to participate in Nanowrimo every year in November, so I like to do this every few years instead!

*Disclaimer* The book will be UNEDITED. Read that again, please. UNEDITED. I will proof for errors, but there will be some regardless, and there will be weird sentence structures occasionally, etc. Be aware of that when you read it. The book will go through a double editing process before publishing. I want to give you the opportunity to read it first though, so you'll have to accept that I'm human and make mistakes.

Here is a little longer blurb for Butterflies and Hazel Eyes to wet your appetite for next week!

When the Lady of the Lake calls, will she answer?

For six years Charity Puck traveled around the country in an old motorhome. She spent her days fulfilling her bucket list and her nights working as a white hat for anyone willing to pay for her services. With no desire to put down roots, the allure of a new town every night was what she craved—until it wasn’t. With her home on wheels parked in Plentiful, Wisconsin, for the summer, Charity desperately wanted to discover if the legend of Lake Superior was true. Would the Lady of the Lake call to her and hold her heart captive for the rest of her days? She was determined to find out, but she had one last job to do first. Hired to white hat the server for Butterfly Junction, a research company run by the mysterious Gulliver Winsome.  When she took one look into his rich hazel eyes those juniper globes told her secrets that would bind them together forever.

Gulliver Winsome was Plentiful’s most mysterious bachelor. He spent his days working to protect butterflies and their habitat, and his nights pretending the loneliness in his heart wasn’t killing him slowly. His love life stunted by the crutches on his arms, he had given up on finding a woman who would see past them to discover all he had to offer. His life changed the day Charity Puck strolled into Butterfly Junction, and his heart.

After a forced night alone under the stars of Lake Superior, Charity and Gulliver came to the same realization. They were ready to stop hiding their hearts and take a chance on love. Not everyone in the town of Plentiful saw the world through rose colored glasses though, and they’d stop at nothing to steal Gulliver’s research. As summer turned to fall, Charity and Gulliver find solace in each other’s arms, but blackmail, deception, and unrequited love work in dangerous harmony to steal their happiness, and their lives.

Thank you for stopping by today and being willing to judge me! Check back again on 10/29 for the first chapter of Butterflies and Hazel Eyes!

1 comment

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to read your novel. We need more novels with main characters like yours.