Category Archive: rejection

Feb 28 2013

Why Blogging about Yourself is Boring, How to Keep Your Writings Interesting

bored When I browse titles of articles and blog posts, I look for headlines that jump out at me, a title that states something similar to the information I’m seeking at that particular time. For example, if I’m looking for tips on writing great headlines, the article titled “How to Write Great Headlines” catches my eye.

When I begin reading the article, I’m expecting the answers to my questions immediately. I mean, that’s the point in reading the article, right? So when I have to skim through several paragraphs of, “Me, I, we, us,” etc., I immediately get bored. Just get to the point already!

Why we get bored

You probably skimmed (or skipped) the first two paragraphs because you wanted to get to the point. And that’s my point exactly. You didn’t click on this post to know more about me and mine. You clicked to get information, to satisfy a curiosity, to know WHY. And the reason is…

No one cares about you.

As harsh as it sounds, it’s true. No one cares about YOU, the world only cares about what it can get FROM you. I know it sounds negative, but there’s a lot to learn from the negatives. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and sometimes it helps to know the harsh truths.

It might lessen the blow to know there are exceptions, but here’s the blunt truth.

  1. Unless you are well-known, famous, or a celebrity in your own right, nobody cares about you, your experiences, or your opinions.
  2. Unless you’re doing something interesting, involved in something extraordinary, doing something that can affect a massive group or cause, or provide a service where your opinion or your experience matters (i.e. a psychic, a doctor, a journalist, a politician, an activist, expert, etc.), people will skim or skip whatever you’ve written especially if you begin your piece with I, me or my.

For instance, in my posts 4 Mistakes I’ve Made in my Writing Career that You Can Learn From and 4 MORE Mistakes I’ve Made in my Writing Career that You Can Learn From, I mention “I, me and mine” because I have to tell you my mistakes and what I learned from them in order for YOU to learn from them. It makes sense, right? Otherwise, where’s the takeaway?

How to keep people Interested

If you have a story to tell …

  • Make sure your story pertains to others, make sure it’s helpful, and make sure it’s relatable. Talk about how your manuscript rejections made you stronger and how your readers could become stronger from rejections too. Pertains to others? Check. Helpful? Check. Relatable? Check.
  • Tell a story that is valuable to readers and is sought out. For example, tell the story about how you worked at a bookstore, quit your job, and became a national bestselling author, selling your book’s film rights to movie producers. Hugh Howey, anyone?
  • Make sure you stick to the necessities. Don’t wander off topic talking about your toe nail color, unless that is the topic. Unless your toenails have something to do with your blog post or article, don’t include it. Sure we want to see a little bit of your personality, we want to get to know you a bit, but most of the time we’re thinking “get to the point already!”
  • Keep your bio for the end of the piece. Yeah, it’s important your readers know you have a Master’s degree in Philanthropy, you’ve won three Nobel Prizes back-to-back, and you saved thousands of endangered baby seals (are these things logical?). However, including that information at the bottom of your piece will keep people interested in your piece without getting distracted with an opening paragraph of your accomplishments … and in first person at that. Again, unless you are specifically writing about those topics, or your accomplishments are the focus of your piece (in regards to teaching and helping others, I assume), leave the “I, me and mine” for your bio.

 

Now, I can go on and tell you the story about where I got the idea to write this post, but you’d just get bored.

 

 

Jan 31 2013

13 Most Appreciated Gestures in the Writing Biz: Are You Due Some Praise?

Last week I posted a list of 13 Unprofessional Types of People in the Writing Biz. It seems fit to mention the great things that people do in the writing business as well. So here they are the 13 most appreciated gestures a person could do in the writing business. If you’re lucky, you might have done these kind gestures. You’re even luckier if you were on the receiving end.

 

Proper Email Etiquette:

  1. Notifying recipients that you received their email and will respond soon.
This is great to do especially if you know you’re swamped with work and not readily available to answer the email as detailed as you’d like. How to be this person. A simple “Got your email” is much appreciated. It keeps the sender from worrying if their email landed in a spam folder or was never sent.
  1. Notifying email groups or recipients that you’ve been hacked and to not open strange links.
It’s happened to a lot of us. You receive a bogus email with a link from So-and-so. You suspect it’s spam because it seems fishy that So-and-so wouldn’t address you by name. How to be this person. After changing your password, it is sometimes proper to send another email advising to ignore the last one and not to open it or click the link.
  1. Keep a reference of the previous conversation by replying to the email
Keep the things simple and organized. How to be this person. Reply to the last email with the same topic instead of composing a new email. This way, both parties can easily keep track of what was said and agreed upon thus far, or refresh their memory without searching for the other emails.
  1. Alter the subject line of an email when replying
You were discussing the price of your e-book over email, the subject line was “E-book Pricing” but now you want to talk about the cover. How to be this person. By replying to the email and changing the subject line to “E-book Pricing & Cover” you tether to the previous information you shared in the email but updated the subject line so the recipient knows the subject has changed.

Social Media Engagement:

  1. Following, commenting, discussing, liking
We’re all looking to build or expand our platform, and simply following an author’s posts, blog, or social media presence is one of the best ways to show your support. Leaving comments, liking or engaging in discussions with the author is the best way to show you are invested. This person is highly appreciated in the writing biz, because these invested people help make authors and writers relevant. How to be this person. Show the person you see them, acknowledge them, and understand or enjoy their time with as little as a click of a mouse.

 

6. Sharing, Liking, Re-Tweeting, Favorite-ing, etc. In this day and age, it’s hard to find an audience with so many in the business vying for attention. It can be difficult to reach and connect to others without some help. How to be this person. Helping to spread the word of your favorite author’s new release or latest blog post is highly appreciated usually with just a click of a button.

 

Sharing and Giving:

  1. Blogging/Article Writing/Sharing your Expertise
Sharing your secrets or your knowledge with those who seek that information is one of the best things you can do for others and yourself. How to be this person. Is there something you’re really interested in, something you know a lot about or are willing to learn a lot about? Consider sharing your knowledge or experiences with others on your blog or in an article to post on Facebook or other online sites. There’s always someone looking for info on the topic you are an expert in.
  1. Give-Aways/Contests
Everyone loves freebies! Receiving something for nothing always puts a smile on someone’s face, because they don’t have to do or spend hard earned money on it. Being a winner always feels great, because it’s exclusive. Not everyone can win which makes you feel special. How to be this person. Giving away a copy or ten of your latest release, bookmarks or other swag is a great gesture because it shows that you are not only generous but sociable and kind. Traits people are attracted to.
  1. Critiquing/Beta Reading/Proofreading
In my opinion, someone that reads your manuscript before it’s submitted for publication and gives you feedback on how to improve your story for little or nothing in return deserves a dozen thank-yous, if not more. How to be this person. Taking time out of your busy schedule to help out a fellow author by reading their work and giving your honest opinion is part of helping that author improve and succeed. Kudos for that!
  1. Rating & Reviewing
Ratings and reviews of an author’s books or a writer’s articles is the perfect way to give a public pat on the back for a job well done. Even if your rating and review is unfavorable, it’s helps bring attention to the book or article, help other readers better decide if they’d want to read it or if it was helpful or not, and informs the author what to improve upon with her next project. How to be this person. Rate and review the books and articles you’ve read.
  1. Rejection Letters with Feedback /Revise and Resubmits
The best thing about a rejection (if there’s such a thing) is the actual feedback that some editors send along with it. How to be this person. It’s one thing to send a form rejection letter. It’s another to give some helpful feedback along with your rejection to inform the author where the story failed and how to improve it. If the story is promising but has a few snags, go ahead and say so. Most serious authors respect this kind of rejection.
  1. Notifying of website/e-books errors/ways to improve
Who doesn’t appreciate someone who points out errors in order for you to fix them and remain flawless-looking? How to be this person. If the links on the author’s website stopped working and you emailed her to notify her, you’d be a hero in that author’s eyes. You are helping her improve and fix her mistakes, one of the very best gestures.
  1. Truly appreciating what another has done to help you in your goals
The note to readers at the top right of my website is no gimmick. I am absolutely thankful for my readers, all of you, fans or not. I would like to remind you with every book release, article or post, but I don’t want to get too cheesy. I think showing that you are honestly appreciative of others and their contributions is necessary in building a connection.

 

Did I leave any appreciated gestures out? Go ahead and leave a comment. Add to the list. Tell me what you think.

Jan 23 2013

13 Unprofessional Types of People in the Writing Biz: Are You Behaving Badly?

If you’re in the book writing/publishing business and you haven’t crossed paths with at least one of the unprofessional people on my list below, you might eventually. If you’re lucky, you never will. In no particular order, here are some of the most unprofessional types of people. Don’t be one of them. Also, here’s the followup post for the 13 Most Appreciated Gestures in the Writing Biz.

  1. The vanishing critique partner
You’ve exchanged manuscripts, spent the entire weekend reading, editing and making notes, you send the manuscript back and you wait and wait and wait for your critiqued manuscript in return. You receive nothing. Don’t be this person. Time is precious to every writer and that’s something you can’t give back. Respect the writer’s time by keeping your word.
  1. The vanishing publisher
Anyone you rely upon who suddenly vanishes into thin air is probably not a professional, especially when they’re holding your royalty check and the rights to your creations. Don’t be this person. A wise thing to do is to give your authors notice that you’ll be going under long before your vanishing act. Be open and honest, answer your emails, and assure your authors that you’re handling things in the best manner. Most importantly, give them their money and their rights back pronto.
  1. The vague critique partner
You received your manuscript back with a short note. “This was awesome!” You’re thrilled that she liked it but would’ve liked a little more detail. Just a little more. Don’t be this person. If you can’t pick apart every piece of the manuscript from the first word to the last … don’t. That’s not what most authors are looking for, but we can use much more feedback than an “awesome.”
  1. The agent/editor who likes your work but still rejects it
In my humble opinion, if you decide to write a page-long letter or email raving about the manuscript you’ve just finished reading, never mention a flaw, but still reject it, I think you should at least tell the author WHY you rejected it. Don’t be this person. You of all people in the publishing business should know how frustrating it is to give false hope through a rejection letter that starts as a raving review of the manuscript and ends with “I hope you find a home for it!” Either state why it’s not for you or send a form rejection.
  1. The agent/editor/publisher who never answers your questions or delays
Deadline has passed … a week ago! You sent email after email, asking the same questions from the emails before, but this time you’re asking if they’ve even received your emails. Finally, you get a response … days before the book’s official release date! Don’t be this person. Sure, you’re an editor and a super busy one too, but you can find time to send a quick email. A brief “Got your email. Will get back to you shortly” instead of nothing at all is always appreciated.
  1. The professional who picks favorites
Jane Doe’s books are a top seller (she’s a regular commenter on your blog). John Doe edits the most books in the shortest amount of time (and you chat every day on Facebook). Mary Jane’s books are rating pretty high with readers (and her Twitter pic is pretty hot too). Go ahead and allow Jane, John and Mary to take over the publisher’s blog and reel in the readers. Sure, there’s other authors and editors who can better contribute, but … these three are your favs. Don’t be this person. Sure, it’s a business and you want the top, highest and the best, but don’t make it obvious that you have your favorites. Professionalism requires that you are fair and making the best “business” decisions. Project that.
  1. The agent/editor/publisher who talks about inappropriate matters in public
Sure, you’re human, and you go through rough patches like the rest of us, however, not everyone is interested in your bankruptcy details, your crazy sex life, or the fact that you think self-publishing and its authors should go the way of the dinosaurs. Don’t be this person. Think before you speak, especially in public. You feel secure behind a screen. It’s not like being face-to-face with a “real” person. In social media it’s easy to forget that your colleagues, employers, fans, readers, followers, etc., are witnessing what you put out and are judging you by it.
  1. The tardy blogger/staff
Your job is to update the blog every Monday. Instead it gets updated sporadically (maybe late Monday night on a good day). You’re hosting a blog tour and have a give-away scheduled for this day, instead you post it that day. Do you find yourself constantly apologizing for being late? Then this may be you. Don’t be this person. If you say you’re going to do something at a specific time, do it at that specific time. Punctuality is one of the best traits a professional possesses.
  1. The lowdown, dirty “professional”
Think it’ll be cool to try to cheat Amazon’s algorithms to raise your book’s sales ranking? Don’t see the harm in giving away copies of another author’s e-books on your blog without the author’s permission? Thinking about making a bunch of email accounts and rating and reviewing your own books online? Don’t be this person. You will lose all the respect people had for you once they realize your ways. Being lowdown and dirty especially in the publishing business is never a good look.
  1. The author/writer who never follows the guidelines/rules
You want to send your submission to your dream editor before they leave on vacation and don’t have time to look for and read the submission guidelines, so you just attach it as a DOC file and send  it to the email address you found online. Don’t be this person. Submission guidelines are there for a reason. Simply put, they make life easier for you AND the editor, and increases the chances of your submission being seen. You want to show the editor you are a gem to work with and are capable of following rules. So follow them exactly.
  1. The professionals who never follow their own guidelines/rules
Being a professional is hard work. Life is very busy. So since you made the rules you can break them at your convenience. Don’t be this person. If you want others to follow your rules practice what you preach by following your own. If you promise to respond to submissions in four weeks, then make sure you follow through. How can you expect others to put up with your rules when it’s difficult for you to?
  1. The negative/snarky/bashing reviewer
So you think the book was written by an author who couldn’t grasp the basics of high school level English, and you say so in your review. You even go a step further and accuse the author of writing their own five-star reviews of the book because “who in their right mind would like that junk?” Don’t be this person. A good reviewer reviews the book’s content, not the author. And even though you believe those terrible things about the author, you don’t look good accusing or bashing another, especially in public.
  1. The author/writer who negatively responds to negative reviews
So the reviewer claims you wrote all the five-star reviews of your latest book because the book reads like an illiterate child scribbled it down and no one else could possibly enjoy it. You think the reviewer didn’t read your book at all because in the author bio, at the end of the book, it states that you have a B.A in English, and the reviewer needs to know this. So you respond to the review and tell her. Don’t be this person. If someone didn’t like your book, they are simply stating their opinion. When you respond, you are trying to sway their opinion. It never works. When someone writes a bashing review, they look like a bully. When you respond, YOU look like a bully. Keep that in mind.
Well, there you go. The thirteen most unprofessional types of people in the writing biz and why and how not to become one. Have you encountered some of these types? Take a shot at adding to the list. Did I leave a certain type out? Could you relate? Do I ask a lot of questions? Leave a comment and let’s discuss it.

Dec 26 2012

4 Insecurities Writers Need to Get Over


Insecure?
As writers we put a piece of ourselves in everything we write. Writing is a form of creativity, and our creativity stems from our very soul. A little piece of our experiences are scribbled into our writings along with our sweat, blood and tears. So it’s no wonder most of us are insecure. Here’s a list of some of the insecurities that plaque us and reasons why we need to get over them.

  1. What if I fail?

This is a common fear most people encounter when starting something new. The fear of failure. In a world full of uncertainty, we often settle for what we know or choose tasks with predictable outcomes instead of pushing ourselves to our greatest potential. But failing is okay. It’s not the end of the world. The sooner you put yourself out there, the sooner you’ll see that either way, failing or winning, there’s more to accomplish.

  1. People will hate my writing.

Yes. Some people will hate your writing. Simply put, we can’t please everyone. This is one of the many things we writers have to come to term with when developing a thick skin. Even some of the most established writers have haters. Focus on those who would love your work, and write to make them proud.

  1. I’ll never be published.

If you think this way, you’ve already given up. And what happens when you give up? You create a self-fulfilling prophecy and, in fact, you will never be published. Reevaluate why you wanted to be published in the first place. Maybe then it’ll be easier to keep pushing along. Remember, the difference between aspiring and being is the work you put in and the determination to see your dreams come true.

  1. I don’t have enough credentials.

I know this is a catch 22. I hear this a lot. “How are we supposed to build credible credentials if no one will give us a chance to build credible credentials?” My advice … take a chance. Don’t stop trying to be published, or never start, because you’re afraid a reader or editor will think you’re not experienced enough. You obviously know plenty about a subject to think you’re the perfect one to write about it. So take a chance instead of letting your fears hinder you. Besides, the information and experience you do have might just be enough to make you qualified.
 
 
 

Jun 04 2012

Analyzing My Rejection: "Before the Darkness" not a Romance?

I had submitted my MM, post-apocalyptic erotic romance, Before the Darkness, (the first book of the Refuge Inc. series) to a couple of romance e-publishers. Unfortunately, they both passed. However, I did get a “revise & resubmit” offer from one of the publishers who had a lot of good things to say about the story in spite of the rejection.


(Publisher kept unidentified for privacy)
First the positives:

  • “The story is imaginative and detailed…”

  • “Your story has some really good parts, and we feel the post-apocalyptic aspects are believable, the creepy parts are creepy, and there’s an overall dark feel to the whole piece that came through.”

Now the negatives:

  • “We do feel it has strong potential, however the characters need some work to make them more likable. Elliott seems to fall too fast for Adam, a man he’s just met in a ruined landscape where survival ought to be the first thing on his mind. And the badgering and belittling about the former relationship with a woman throughout the book wears somewhat thin by the end.”

Non romance issues:

  • “We feel it is more of a post-disaster story with romantic elements than a true romance.”

  • “The romance needs to be ramped up quite a bit to make it more of a focus of the story.” Something required in romances.

  • “Additionally, the ending is not quite a “happily ever after” (HEA) nor quite a “happy for now” (HFN).” Something required in romances.

  • “There is also an issue of unsafe sex, i.e. no condom use …” Something required in romances.

After receiving this wonderfully personal and useful bit of feedback from the editor (which I appreciate tremendously because authors rarely get personal feedback from publishers, if at all), I realized . . . the story is NOT a romance! It is exactly what they described it as . . . a post-disaster story with romantic elements!

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I was invited to revise the story and submit it again for reconsideration; however, I’m not sure I want to make it into something it’s not. It’s not a romance, so maybe I shouldn’t make it into one. Maybe I shouldn’t push it to romance publishers, or ramp up the romance. Maybe romance shouldn’t be the focus of the story.

Maybe, after tweaking the charcters’ inner conflict, the story will be good enough to engage and entertain the way it is.

Maybe.


Apr 24 2012

Confessions of a Lonely Writer

I come from a huge family. My family is so huge you’d expect a member like me (with what I would call a decent amount of talent in the literary, visual and performing arts) to get a little recognition from them every now and then. Admittedly, good news doesn’t travel much around the huge family circle. Unfortunate, I know. I’d liken the experience to a bad reality TV show where there’s constant drama and unbelievably high ratings.


Friends? Only back in elementary and high school. At sixteen my social life drastically changed when I had my first daughter. Suddenly, my friends and I didn’t have much in common anymore.

Soon after was the death of my social life.

And now, as a writer ( a lonely job) I long for that pat on the back once in a while. That “Good job” or “Congrats!” (Hell, I even crave a decent adult conversation with someone other than my husband from time to time.) “I’m proud of you” and “Keep up the good work” are rarely passed around in my huge family. Growing up I barely heard those words unless it was from my Language Arts teacher. Eventually, I learned to accept it.

I read about the sister and wife of my favorite Sci-Fi author, Hugh Howey, and how they are his support system. They help him with book readings and events, critiquing his works in progress and who knows what else. I long for such a system. If only I had that kind of support with my first published book.

Indeed, my writing journey has been a lonely one. I had to teach myself about publishing the hard way, through trial and error. Oh, I have my share of regrets.

My earliest dream? To see my name on the cover of a book. I started writing short horror stories in elementary school, but my first novel was completed in 2005. Three’s a Crowd: The Beginning, an MMF erotic romance. The results? An embarrassment. The whole experience was a nightmare that I only realize NOW.

I’d been HAD by a vanity press. They charged me hundreds of dollars that I borrowed from one of my sisters and enthusiastically paid them to publish what I now dub “an utter piece of crap.” I was completely oblivious  to my own writing errors and desperate to have my book in print that I never questioned why a “publisher” would publish something so severely unedited. (Literally my first draft!) Until later when I figured out it wasn’t my best work.

I put out a revised and extended version in 2008, (and continued the story after the book as an online serial for free here: www.threesacrowd3.com) after writing two other novels and publishing them all through the same vanity press. Thousands of dollars lost! Finally, in 2011, I was humiliated enough to have Three’s a Crowd: The Beginning discontinued. I mean, I’m trying to make a name for myself and build a decent platform. And although my dream was to have my name on a book cover, I no longer wanted my name on THAT book cover.

Where was my support system and why weren’t they looking out for me? I realized I was alone in that endeavor. Still am.

Now, I highly despise vanity presses learned so much. It took years of making mistakes and learning from them, but now I understand the publishing business and how it works.

Some of what I’ve had to learn the hard way:

·         Research publishers before submitting

·         Research everything before making a commitment including topics and the facts for my stories

·         Respect feedback from editors and readers

·         Take criticism like an adult

·         Keep improving  my writing skills with every book I write

·         Continue to read, write and learn about story writing and book publishing

·         Do not expect perfection but work towards it anyway

·         Keep reading, writing and learning

·         Do not expect to have a team of family and friends behind me, pushing me and urging me on. To only depend on myself, and the people who choose to stand behind me, to get ahead and succeed.

Overtime, my up-and-down experience with writing and publishing has showed me that even without a support system I can make my dreams come true. I currently have 14 books for sale with my name on them. I may be a lonely writer but I appreciate the rewards even more knowing I’ve made it so far by myself.

Apr 04 2012

Is Your Book Publisher Playing Favorites?

Do you suspect your publisher favors one or a select few of their authors over other authors within their publishing house? Maybe your publisher and the staff frequently spotlights a certain author, his or her books and successes over the rest? Maybe you feel your efforts aren’t getting noticed over those other “special” in-house author’s.

Authors pursue publishers to help us package our books in its finest attire, help market and sale it to the masses. We like believing that having a reputable publisher behind our book tells readers that our book is good enough without us authors having to convince them ourselves.

With Amazon and other book sellers making it easier to self-publish, it’s only a matter of time before mistreated authors fight back against unfair or preferential treatment from publishers and go into business for themselves. Heck, we do most of the tedious “marketing and convincing” ourselves anyway.


Is it wrong for a publisher to play favorites?

I think a reputable, successful and professional book publisher gives equal attention to all of their authors. In other words, non-preferential treatment is never displayed. It is never beneficial to only highlight one particular author’s successes (i.e. positive book reviews, book sales, platform, book covers, writing skills and abilities, etc.) over other authors. The best way to run a publishing business is to not focus on just the bestselling authors but all of your authors; the just signed, the established, the novelists and the anthology writers, all of them.

Publishers and staff should be cautious about expressing their opinion of an author and that author’s work, especially if they work alongside that author and their views are easily seen by authors from that publishing house. If it’s positive comments, then it looks bias and not trustworthy to an outsider. Not to mention, it will stir up questions from fellow in-house authors like, why couldn’t she say something that great about my book? On the other hand, if it’s negative comments, it seems shallow and bitter. Neither is good.


Why would a publisher play favorites?

  • Certain authors have a bigger platform/readership and make more sales, bringing in more money.

  • Certain authors are also staff members acting as editors, marketing consultants, book cover artists, proof readers, etc.

  • They somehow developed an online relationship with the author, possibly through emails, social networking, writers groups, etc.

Reasons why favoritism should be eradicated within publishing houses?

  • It invokes feelings of jealousy, mistrust and unfairness.

  • It prevents other authors from feeling part of the group or community.


To continually spotlight an author is plain bad practice. You put too much focus on one author or select authors, then there’s not enough focus on the rest. Before you know it, you’re depending too much on those select authors to keep your business afloat.

Long-standing, flourishing book publishers are successful because they understand: without their authors there is no publisher.

Mar 20 2012

Inside the Mind of a Self-Doubting Writer

  1. Wow. What a great idea! I can’t wait to start on this story. But, wait. How can I make it original without making it suck?

  2. I know! I’ll write a cast of diverse characters, no cookie cutter stereotypes. Plus, my voice and style of writing would lend to the story’s uniqueness.

  3. Wow, I impressed myself. Gotta tell my honey how many words I wrote today and update my Twitter and Facebook pages with the news.

  4. Gosh, I’m tearing through this story. I’ve written so many chapters and even added a few good twists. This is gonna be brilliant! Progress is going great! I can’t wait to share this story with the world. People are gonna love this.

  5. But what if they don’t? What if they don’t like the direction I took the main character? Gosh, maybe I should go back and further clarify why the character made that decision.

  6. While I’m rewriting the scene where the main character makes an important decision, I might as well reread the entire thing to make sure the story’s unfolding the way I envisioned.

  7. Okay, now I’ll continue writing where I left off … but later this evening, after I make dinner and put the kids to sleep.

  8. The kids are fed, full and asleep but I woke up pretty early today. I’ll go to sleep now so I can get up early and write more of the story tomorrow before work.

  9. I got about an hour before I get the kids off to school this morning. Might as well check my emails and see what I missed on Facebook and Twitter before I start on the story.

  10. Darn! Where did the time go? I’ll finish writing the chapter of my story by tonight, no excuses.

  11. Well, now it’s a little late but I have the time to look over the last few chapters I wrote to remember where I left off.

  12. Ugh! I wrote that?! I must’ve been tired or something. This is not going the way I thought it would. It’s nothing but chapters and chapters of crap. No one’s gonna want to read this mess! Why am I wasting my time? The characters are obviously stereotypes and my voice and style seem too sophomoric.

  13. Ooh. I got another cool idea. But this idea will be great as a different book with different characters.

  14. Now how can I put my twist on it and make it truly my own? Well, before I get into this new story maybe I should finish writing the other story first.

  15. *opens story and stare blankly at the screen*

  16. I’ll start the new story now and work on the other story tomorrow. *closes story and opens blank document*

  17. But what if no one likes the premise of the new story? The characters seem kind of blah, the setting is overused … this will never work.

  18. Oh, wait! Honey read over the few chapters of my other story and liked it. Maybe I should put all my attention into that story again. But Honey isn’t familiar with book publishing or the market. What if Honey was just being nice and the story really sucks?

  19. I’ll have one of my author friends look over it and give me their feedback. They understand the book world and will be honest with me.

  20. They liked it and even gave me some useful feedback on how to make it even better. I can’t wait to start working on this story again. This is brilliant! People are gonna love it!

Feb 24 2012

Embracing Rejection Instead of Fearing It

All writers experience publisher/editor/agent rejection at one point in their writing careers, but serious writers learn to embrace that rejection and use it to improve their writing.

 

Here’s how:

 

Don’t let it hinder you

 

Just like that cutie in high school who never knew you existed. If only you could’ve built the courage to plop your food tray down at his table, slide in beside him and say, “Hi,” things might’ve been different. Instead, fear held you down at the table in the corner with the rest of the unpopulars as you watched big-busted Kyla sit down beside him and start a giggle-laden conversation. What, just me?

 

Fear keeps you from trying because you’re uncertain of the results. And the ultimate fear for writers is … what if they don’t like my writing. And instead of finishing the novel, you put it on the back burner because if you finish it then you’ll want to share it. And what if they think it sucks?

 

You want to get it published, but you’re afraid of submitting it because you’re writing sucks compared to other writers. What if publishers think you have no business writing even grocery lists?

 

They accepted and published your novel, but you’re afraid to market it because reviewers and readers could be harsher than any editor. What if they hate your book so bad the only sales you get are from readers who buy your book for the satisfaction of watching the book burn ritualistic style, and in your backyard, nonetheless?

 

Own up to the fact that you will be rejected one way or another, sooner or later, and make sure every time you …

 

Learn from it

 

A (sort of) nice thing to take away from being rejected by a publisher, editor or agent is that sometimes you get a valued piece of written inscription known as a personalized rejection letter. Sometimes the editor will explain why the manuscript was rejected and sometimes she will even give you pointers on how to improve it, leaving you with the decision to fix it and move on (or resubmit) to another publisher without making any changes at all. Whichever you choose, the point is … you’re moving on (or revising and resubmitting) and trying again.

 

You may get rejection after rejection and no explanation for it. Which isn’t unusual but if your work is continually getting rejected it’s time to change your tactics.

 

  • Rewrite the query letter. Sometimes tweaking the query letter is all it takes. Since the query is the first hint of your writing skills the editor encounters, it’s important that it’s just as polished as your manuscript.

 

  • Have someone else look over the query letter and manuscript. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to see your own mistakes and typos, or if something needs clarification.

 

  • Double check and follow the submission guidelines. Make sure the publisher publishes similar books in your genre, are open for submissions, accepts from author or agent, etc.

 

  • Be professional. No emoticons, text-like abbreviations or usage of slang in your query letter or any written correspondence between you and publisher/editor/agent.

 

  • If all else fails … focus on writing your next novel. Don’t spend too much time rewriting and submitting the same manuscript. Move on to your next novel which should be written better than your last. You should keep learning your craft and improving.

 

Know it’s not the end

 

Serious writers understand it’s not the end of your writing career or the end of rejection. There will be more rejection letters just as long as you keep writing and submitting manuscripts. Rejection is a huge part of being a serious writer.

 

Imagine plopping your food tray down next to that cutie in high school and he turns to you with a look of disgust on his face. Your worst fear, right? Hey, you knew it could happen, at least you can say you tried and that you learned to never go that route again. (Next time you’ll catch him at his locker after school.)

 

So embrace rejection instead of fearing it and use it to improve your writing.