Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 20, 2011 [Academic work post 9]: No and Yes

Not a lot of time for ye olde blog today, so I’ll keep this short and, hopefully, to the point. The point, building on yesterday’s thoughts about rejection, is simply to make clear how consistent and dominant a facet of this academic world and career that response is, even when things are going well (as I am certainly fortunate enough to say that they have for me). The percentages, that is, will always it seems to me slant heavily in favor of the no’s; so the key is not to let them faze you, as the yes’s can and will come—and a tiny percentage of them can in fact mean great news. To highlight only the most significant three such collections of rejections with a single, solitary, more than sufficient acceptance:
1)      Book 1 was rejected by 22 publishers (off the top of my head, I’m not going to go back and count, but I think that’s right). It was accepted by 1, University of Alabama Press. Worked for me!
2)      Book 2 was rejected by 13 publishers (again relying on memory). It was accepted by 1, Palgrave Macmillan. So far they’ve been absolutely exemplary in every way, and most especially speed—I got them the final manuscript in August and the book is coming out in April!
3)      When I was on the job market in 2004, I sent out more than 60 (definitely not counting these) cover letters. I got 1 MLA interview, with Fitchburg State. And here I am!
All of which is just to say—and maybe this doesn’t need saying, but I think I could have used to really hear it during each of those experiences, so I’m saying it now for whatever it’s worth—that the no’s will likely always come (and I fully expect them to keep coming, as they did with the conference proposal yesterday), but the yes’s just might too. And the latter can be an order of magnitude less frequent and still mean a great career (if I don’t say so myself). More tomorrow, the long-promised post on the series of historical novels.
PS. No links needed here—but inspiring stories more than welcome!

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