How to Avoid the Rejection Blues…
There is no pill you can take, no drink to ease the pain of
being rejected. It is a part of the writing process, especially if you plan on
being traditionally published. I’ve got the battle scars of a writer searching
to belong, and I won’t sugar coat this…it sucks.
As you sit surrounded by your own self-pity there is one
thing you need to remember. It is not personal. It took me a long time to
actually believe that sentence.
It is not personal.
Being rejected is not a direct hit to you as an individual.
It is a criticism of your work that you submitted. A lot of writer’s take a
rejection as they’re not good enough and you cannot think that way. If most of
the bestselling authors out there gave up after one rejection we’d have no
books to read. Place your ego aside and concentrate on what really matters and
that is the story. You will never stop learning lessons in life, and this
applies to writing as well.
The process of sending to a publisher is like a job
interview. Sometimes you get the job, sometimes you don’t.
I will let you in on a little secret, most publishers will
tell you what is wrong with your manuscript, and though you may disagree with
them, look at what they are saying with an open mind. Make the changes, do what
they’re asking. Polish and shine that novel, and send it off to the next one.
What you need to remember is that the rejection process does
not need to be such a bad thing. Learn from it. Take everything you can from
the letters and emails that are returned and make yourself a better writer.
As a published writer, who has had many rejections, the best
advice I can give aspiring authors is to grow a thick skin. I know how difficult
it is to let someone criticize your work, to have them rip it to shreds—to be
told writing a novel is not what you’re good at. I’ve shed tears, cried out in
frustration and felt defeated too, but what I wouldn’t do was give up.
How to Avoid the Rejection Blues…
There’s been a lot of talk lately on whether or not an author should have their manuscript professionally edited. Some feel it’s not necessary and that a mother, sister, brother, teacher, friend is just as good at editing a manuscript than an editor and it’s free. Besides you can self publish anything edited or not now a days. While others, like myself, think you’re crazy. You are committing author suicide if you do not work with a professional editor.
Don’t be one of those egotistical writers who thinks your work is bang on the first or second draft. News flash! It isn’t. A manuscript will never be perfect even after it's been edited but it will read better.
As an author I refuse to put out work that hasn’t been edited. This is an impression of me. I expect readers to pay for my books and quite frankly it's a slap in the face to them if I don't present a great read. Why would they want to buy another one of my books if the first one was unedited and horrible? I am hell-bent on creating novels my readers will enjoy, therefore I’m willing to put in the time and money to hire an editor to go over my work.
In the world of writers and authors you are competing against thousands. Why wouldn’t you want to stand out? Plot, characterization, tense and dialogue all come into play to what makes a good book. An editor will help you with all of these things. It’s not all about grammar.
Your only impression to a publisher is your manuscript. There are no face-to-face meetings. There are no sit down interviews. We submit manuscripts via email. There is nothing personal about the submission phase. With that being said, don’t waste a publisher’s time. Get your work edited. And quite frankly why waste your own time sending in manuscript after manuscript if you haven’t had it edited?
Let’s turn the tables for a moment. You’re the publisher. You have hundreds of manuscripts on your desk that you need to go through. Which ones are going in the slush pile after the first page is read?
The ones that haven't been edited!!
Edits cost money. A publisher will always edit your book. They have a certain way they want a novel to read and so edits are necessary, but they don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to do so and why should they?
What makes you so different from any other author? Why do you stand out? How serious are you? Publishers ask these questions when going over manuscripts. Why would they want to put their money into an author who won’t put it into himself?
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have the money to pay an editor. I understand. I’ve been there. However, there are editors out there that won’t break your bank account.
**Remember when you’re looking for an editor to make sure you check their references.**
An editor’s job isn't to change your voice, but instead to enhance it.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a ton of hours to write a novel, to put a piece of yourself into those words, then do yourself a favour and get it edited.
The Secret to Writing a Novel and Getting it Published.
So you want to know the secret to writing a novel and getting it published. Well, there are no secrets. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want to be a writer the first thing you need to do is write every day.
There are steps every writer takes to becoming published and the ones I’ve taken are not that different from most, but what you need to consider are the rules.
Yes, there are rules in the writing world and I'm not talking about grammar, layout, or pacing. These rules are what I like to call Essential Guidelines to what every aspiring writer and published author should know. You may have heard of them before and I could've missed a few, but they are important and so I'm sharing with you again.
Rule 1: Write every day. If you don’t write every day, or at least five out of seven how are you going to meet the demands of a publisher who gives you a deadline?
Rule 2: Don’t get attached to your words. I’ll explain in rule 4.
Rule 3: Revise your work more than once and read it out loud. As Ernest Hemmingway says, “The first draft of everything is shit.”
Rule 4: Hire an editor. Everything you write is not perfect even after you’ve revised it a hundred times. An editor’s job is to make your words shine. If they ask you to delete a paragraph you love because it is irrelevant to the story. Do it.
Rule 5: Know your grammar. Live it. Love it. Learn it.
Rule 6: Research publishers. This doesn’t mean go onto their websites and take a quick peak. Learn everything you can about them and if they fit what your book is about. In short; STALK THEM!
Rule 7: Respect the submission guidelines and adhere to them. Do not send your manuscript on floral, colored, or scented paper. If asked for a three-page synopsis, send three pages. If they ask for a completed manuscript do not query them if your book is not finished.
Rule 8: Understand that the query letter is your moment to catch the publisher’s attention about your book. It is not for you to tell them you’re an amazing writer and they should publish you. Instead you want to hook them. Tell them about your book within a short paragraph, word count, genre, and your experience as a writer. That is it. Finito!
Rule 9: Have all your ducks in a row. When you send your query be sure to attach everything the publisher has requested in their submission guidelines. Check, re-check and check again. Utilize your OCD. Quack quack!!
Rule 10: Be patient. Yeah, I know--the OCD. You will not receive an answer right away. Do not email or phone the publisher asking about your submission. Instead start writing your next book, paint a room, rearrange your office.
Rule 11: Understand the rejection and use it for good. Remember it is not personal and it will only make you a stronger writer and person. Do not turn into Cruella Deville sending the publisher a nasty email telling them why they should've chosen your manuscript."Puppies Puppies. I want all the puppies!!" The writing world is interconnected and these publishers know each other. You will ruin your name and it is not worth it. Be smart.
**When you do get published don’t let it go to your head. Remember where you came from and who helped you get there. Promote other authors and their work. You’re all in this together.**
Always be kind, generous, and thankful.