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On Writing: How to Handle Rejection

To see more sunsets, go to PHOTOS on my website:marshahubler.com

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Dear Sir/Madam:

            We have reviewed your proposal and have found that it does not meet our editorial needs at this time.

            Good luck as you search for the one lone publishing company in the world that is looking for an Amish horror paranormal romance.

                                                                                    Yours truly,

                                                                                    The Mean Old Editor

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How many times have you received a letter from a publishing company that read so much like this one? Did you want to take your precious manuscript, draw it to your bosom, and then go jump off a bridge? Or did you want to start a bonfire in your back yard using your five hundred pages of blood, sweat, and tears you just pumped into your best-selling novel for the last year that can’t get any editor’s second look?

If you’ve been there, then join the rest of us odd ducks (http://oddducksociety.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/are-you-stretching-yourself/ ), who constantly receive rejection letters. And I’m talking about us who have been widely published too.

It’s really tough when you get that letter that feels like the editor just stabbed your new-born baby or slapped you in the face. But take heart. It’s not personal; it’s business. And take a second good hard look at your manuscript and the market. It’s a word jungle out there, and sometimes it takes years to find a publisher who is willing to pay you for your work. I’m sure that’s the reason so many authors I know are self publishing today. Of course, the only problem with that scenario is that you’re putting your own money up front, and if you don’t have thousands of dollars for a good edit and a reliable, reputable vanity press, you could get the shaft of your life along with a product of which you will not be proud. You also are the sole marketer of your book with no support from a publishing company. And promotion takes A LOT of time and money,  which most authors don’t have!

Here are several tips to remember as you prepare to send that query letter or proposal out again to royalty publishing companies. And remember that, if your writing is well done, there is a market for you—somewhere. The key is to find the company that wants your work.

Tips to Handle Rejection 

  1. Go online to find publishers’ guidelines or buy the Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market Guide to make sure you’re submitting to companies who publish your genre.
  2. Don’t let your manuscript die in a file cabinet. Keep sending your query or proposal out as soon as you get a rejection.
  3. Keep a record of your rejections and the dates. Editors become irritated if they see the same query or proposal five times over a year’s time.
  4. Revise! Revise! Revise! Just like a painting, our writing is never done to perfection. Make sure that critique group reviews important sections of your work.
  5. If you’ve written short stories or articles, change the titles and names of the characters and/or rewrite the main plot or theme of the works and send them all out at the same time to different companies.
  6. Read! Read! Read! Read the genre of which you are writing. Learn from those who are already published. Compare your work to those who already have their byline. Be willing to change your work and write clearer and cleaner.
  7. Attend writers’ conferences to make that personal connection with editors of publishing companies or agents. Of the book contracts I’ve received, I acquired all but one by meeting editors and/or agents at writers’ conferences.
  8. And this is so important, I’ll mention it again: Go online or buy the Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market Guide to make sure you’re submitting to companies who publish your genre. I’ve heard editors state that the number one reason they reject a manuscript is because it really doesn’t “meet their editorial needs.” Wrong genre? No sale.

 We all become discouraged over time, but the thing to remember is that you are working at a highly-skilled craft with thousands of other writers trying to win an editor’s heart. Keep on writing and revising. Never give up, and one day you’ll see your byline under that article title or your name on the cover of that book.

Next time we’ll discuss some grammar. How about that nasty little apostrophe that most people use incorrectly?

Keep on writing!

Marsha

www.marshahubler.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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