How Authors are Like Pumpkins

I was flipping around several ideas to regale you with this week, when a rejection graced my in-box. I scowled at it. I had queried the publisher about that particular short story a few weeks ago, which was a few weeks after their stated expected response time. I realize editors are busy people and always want to give them a little lee-way. I was told the story was “still under consideration!”

Whoa! I mean, under consideration. With a bangstick! That had to mean something. Right? So, I admit, I harbored some positive thoughts. I didn’t crumble. What irked me was the impersonal nature of it. Yes, I know, form rejections are expected, but after all that I expected a hand-written note, or at least a little personal message.

For the most part, I do okay with rejection. I have a pretty thick skin. It’s something you need to develop when you put yourself and your work out there in the public eye. Not that I’m impervious to rejection. Every piece I send out I do so with cautious optimism; prepared for the worst, hoping for the best.

About now I’m guessing you’re starting to wonder about the whole pumpkin analogy, right? Thinking I lured you in with promises of pumpkin pie smothered in cool whip. Mmmmmmmmm

What? No. No pie. Just pumpkins.

Like this one.
Thick skinned, solid, smooth, takes a bit of doing to get through that rind.

With a bit of talent, the most fantastic things can be carved from a pumpkin.

Fantastic images of imagination. I mean, seriously?!!? This is incredible.

Ah… but inside that tough, outer shell, we authors… er, pumpkins, have a bit of… well… goo. And if something can get through that shell, to our gooey bits, they can make a real mess.

See it now?

Fine, perhaps not the best analogy. Especially since, once carved, those beautiful pumpkins don’t last all that long. Maybe I was just in the mood for pumpkin. Or cool whip.

Whatever the case, rejections always sting but the story will be headed back out to the next market on my list after it gets a quick look-over.

Have a great weekend. I’m going to go and experiment with caramel infused whiskey recipes now.


  1. Under consideration is good news! Yay!

  2. Robbie Cheadle

    Writing is definitely a tough business and you do need a thick skin. I think pumpkins are a great analogy but only American ones. The South African ones have very thin skins…

  3. From one pumpkin to another: don’t let anyone try to talk you into using a scented candle.

  4. Aww, dang. :-/

    (And mmmm, pumpkins!)

    • Yeah. Not completely unexpected, but… phooey.

      I was looking at pumpkin recipes just the other day, as I still have some on hand from the old dog.

  5. Your title totally caught me attention and the simile works for me. Carve up an author and they do wither away. Rejection is really tough. I was reading an anecdote about an author who committed suicide after he was rejected by big publishers. His mother believed in him and his story and kept asking people to read it until someone realized how brilliant the book was and it went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Just goes to show one person’s terrible is another’s terrific. Hugs!

    • Wow! That’s quite the anecdote. I do know some folks who didn’t have a thick enough skin to deal with the rejection that comes with putting yourself out there, in any creative venue.

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