I think what I value most about Laura Resnick’s essays in REJECTION, ROMANCE, & ROYALTIES: THE WACKY WORLD OF A WORKING WRITER is her brutal honesty. This is not an essay collection for the faint of heart.
Let me provide an example from her essay “Passion” in the book:
Editors have told me that my advance is more than I’m worth; my work isn’t that good; I should write more like so-and-so; my work is “shit;” I don’t know how to write; my work is an “insult” to them; and I don’t “appreciate” them enough. Agents have told me that I’m “not worth” their time; my query is an insult to them; I’m “self-destructive” (based on my choosing to fire that agent); they “hate” my work; and I’m lazy (I wrote a mere 1,400 pages that year).
Resnick covers a variety of topics in her essays, such as writer’s block, editors & agents, contracts, readers, horror stories about publishing, horror stories about book tours, nerves, cash flow, rejections, etc..
Because this is a collection of essays, certain thoughts get repeated over and over. This becomes a mild irritant if one sits down to read the book in one sitting. I found it better to stop for the day after reading four to five essays.
Resnick makes her living as a fiction writer, and she does not spare the reader details about the ugly side of the business. However, she also has a wicked sense of humor. Here’s a sample from “It Can Happen Here–And Often Does:”
Trish Jensen, writing under the pseudonym Trish Graves, sold them a novel called Just This Once in which the hero, among other things, mentors a teenage boy, steering him away from street gangs and toward organized sports. So you can imagine the author’s shock when, upon reading her galleys, she discovered that the editor had changed the boy into a raccoon.
(I think I speak for everyone here when I say, “What?”)
You’ll have to read the essay to find out if the novel was published with the raccoon character change.