Yes, working online has made it easier to work and communicate for both writers and editors/publishers. You can communicate with anybody, anywhere, send your work, get feedback, get your work accepted or rejected. Often, more of the latter than former.
Still, the accent should be on “easier to communicate”. Unfortunately, with greater capabilities to do so, that seems to be less and less the case, particularly when the “person responsible” has to give a negative comment or reject your work. And that is a shame. Somehow, from “The Shadow of Your Smile”, the title of that great song Tony Bennett made popular, smile is nowhere to be seen, the only thing that remains is the shadow.
Certainly, part of the problem lies in the fact of the online communication itself. It has become a standard habit that a writer doesn’t even get a polite, or not so polite, NO. There is practically almost no direct contact, you don’t have even an inkling what the other person even looks like, let alone a bit more. And that is mostly on the part of the editor/publisher, since the writer is usually required to send a plethora of information, along with his work.
Ok, so they’re busy. And the writer is not? Most of the editors and publishers were writers themselves at one point or other, they should know better. So, they don’t like your work, or they think it does not sufficiently satisfy their strict (or not so strict) criteria. They still, need an answer, even if it is the one they don’t want to hear (read).
Most of them would say that they are swarmed with work offers, queries, solicitations… What about the assistants, or if you don’t have anybody, a rejection template?
As long as you don’t get an answer, as a writer, you are still in the unknown territory, you can still expect a positive response, you usually do, or you can have a feeling that it is a no. But having a feeling is not an answer after all.
Some of the people that have to make a decision on somebody else’s work would try and explain that they’re trying to be polite and politically correct, not trying to hurt the writer’s feelings. But that is usually just a cheap excuse.
Most writers probably are aware of the rejection JK Rawling got at one point when she was told that she should get a day job since she won’t be able to earn any money by writing children’s books. Of course, we all know what happened to her afterwards. Nothing is known about the editor who wrote (spoke) that rejection.
Such negative responses and rejections can certainly be inspiring to writers, if the editors and publishers really care about the writer’s inspiration. But the key still lies in the fact that no matter how negative the answer is, the author can definitely move on. Do the work again, scrap it, get inspired. Move on. They do need to move from that shadow and have a smile on their face. And truly enjoy Tony Bennett, I guess.
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