Last time I wrote about pitching. It's only fitting that I write about rejection this go around. It's a part of the gig. If you're going to pitch in an attempt to write a property that you don't own, prepare for rejection. What you need to remember is that rejection is normal. Expect it. Be shocked when you don't get rejected. One day, you'll get accepted enough times that the rejection letters will slow and you'll be more surprised when you're rejected.
I recently sent out a pitch. It was rejected within a very short amount of time. Those who are close to me know how much time I spent developing this particular story. They were a little upset. I laughed. I took a few minutes to explain to them that I spent all this time on the pitch knowing that the rejection was coming. I told them that I would be surprised if the pitch was even read. I knew that I didn't have a shot with this particular property, but I wrote the pitch anyway. I made sure I put in the work. Why waste my time?
That's the rub. It's not a waste of time. The real question is, what did I gain? I spent a few weeks developing a story for a property I had no business writing for. In my humble opinion, it's a damn good story. It's a story I'd be proud to write. I proved to myself that given this opportunity, I would be able to step up to the plate. That's a confidence booster.
What else did I gain? Well, I found out that I had the ability to draft an idea for a four issue series and sell it in one paragraph. This is a big deal. I told the complete story, cutting out all the bells and whistles. I generated all the exciting moments that would get someone interested in the story and fit the complete synopsis in one paragraph. If you've ever tried to write a pitch, that's tough to do. Since editors don't want to read four, two page summaries for each issue, you need to be good at this. I impressed myself and was proud of this accomplishment. I'm starting to thing there may be a place for me with the big boys.
I don't think I answered the big question yet. If I knew that the chances were through the roof that this editor wasn't even going to open the pitch, why waste my time? Great question. Forget the practice that I got. Forget the confidence that I have. Let's look at one simple thing, he told me to pitch him last time I saw him.
Okay. That's an interesting line. Let it sink in. He told me to pitch him. Yet I keep saying that I didn't think he'd actually read it. All this is accurate. He never told me which property to pitch for. He probably doesn't have an opening on any of those titles. Did he want an original property from me? Maybe. These are things I don't know. The logical thing would be to ask, right? WRONG!
Asking is a great way to hear the editor say he doesn't have an opening on any of his titles. That's easy. You're done. Now if you pitch, you know you've wasted your time. You never had a chance. Let me repeat, YOU NEVER HAD A CHANCE.
See, if you don't ask, you just send in a pitch. He may choose to read it. He may decide that it's worth a quick glance and he may be impressed. He doesn't need to do that, but he could. Drafting a pitch also shows the editor that you are putting in the work. It shows initiative. He doesn't have to read it. That's his choice. A sorry, I don't have any openings response is pretty simple for him to send. No sweat. It probably takes all of a minute. Maybe two.
Let's look at the positives for a second. He responds. Many editors don't do that. Many will ignore the email. This editor took the one or two minutes to say he didn't have any openings. You may not realize it right now, but how many editors ignore inquiry emails? Some do. Some don't. It depends on the editor and what you're asking. It might also depend on how many times you've talked to him. A response, to me, is a pretty big deal.
What other positives do we have to talk about? In the email, I included some of my published work. People love free comics. Go to my published work and read some of the stories. It's a wonderful catalogue of my writing growth. Then buy some books. (Cheap. I know) Now, this editor has my writing. Maybe he'll like what he reads. Wait a second. If he likes the comics, is there a slim chance he'll remember I sent a pitch his way? Maybe. Is there a chance he'll ask me to pitch again? Maybe.
Finally, this email opens a dialogue. It shows I'm serious about working with him. With my work in his inbox, I can email him again asking what he thinks about my writing. I may get some useful critiques. Remember, mom will always hang your work on the fridge. Mr. Editor will rip it off the fridge and tell you why it doesn't belong there. It may be painful, but that's an important thing to hear and learn to accept.
So there you have it. With my work in hand, this editor may look through this website. He may chance upon this blog and realize a few things. 1. Grammar on these posts is suspect at best. 2. This guy has passion and the ability to understand this industry. 3. Maybe I need to give him another shot.
Nothing but positives come from rejections. Think about what you can do differently. Realize what you did well. Don't be afraid to take the chance. Above all, when the opportunity is put in front of you, GRAB IT!
Till next time.