Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do you settle or are you thrilled?

This might sound like the introduction to yet another rejection article you read in every newsletter on the web. I hate talking about rejection. It's a fact of life. Deal with it, or lock yourself up in a bubble and pretend it doesn't happen. Rejection stings. It's supposed to. Like anything negative in your life, you learn from it and grow. . . sometimes you even grow up.

Do you settle for markets that decrease your chance for rejection? I'll bet you do. I believe every writer seeks a comfort zone. A place full of editors or publishers that welcomes submissions with open arms. We all need havens for our work. But we don't improve unless we're challenged, or at least writing with risk. Rather than settle for easy markets, balance your life with a few of the tried-and-true, then bust into others that force you to hone your skills to a new level.

If you've found a rut that makes you cozy, and you don't have aspirations to climb higher, then by all means enjoy yourself. Don't let me move you off your mark. But don't complain about not making a decent dollar.

If you're seeking to be a writing professional, let every new piece shooting out of your keyboard be remarkably challenging. The brilliance that evolves will amaze you, and it's that thrill that propels you farther into a ridiculously satisfying career.

In a recent chatroom, someone asked me why my books weren't in print yet. He/she (not sure which, so I'll use he) fought to complete a first novel and marvelled I was on book three. Why would I sit on the books, he asked. I said I had an agent shopping the series, and she had one publisher showing considerable interest at present. I explained I'd learned to be patient in this business, and I sought the credibility of the traditional side of the house.

He didn't realize an agent was a major step in itself. He didn't understand that all those publishers he found when he Googled "publisher" were self-publishers. He thought once a book was written, publishers lined up with interest. With rapid fingers, I tried to type in an elementary explanation of self-pubbing versus traditional. His conclusion was that traditional sounded too complicated. He said I could go that route if I wanted to, but he'd self-publish. He had no platform, no brand, and didn't fully comprehend what they were, but he'd already made plans to self-publish, just because it was easier than getting rejected and simpler to understand. I quit explaining, sighed, and moved on to another forum participant.

The happiest people in their work constantly strive to improve and reach a higher plane. There's a difference between being comfortable and being enchanted with your profession.


Ellie Garratt said...

Well said.

After having several short stories (3000 words or under) accepted for an anthologies, I'm now trying to stretch myself by writing longer pieces. I'm also starting NaNoWriMo next week. I asked myself the question,'Do I carry on submitting to the same types of stories or try to push myself out of my comfort zone?'

Lisa said...


As usual, you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for my inspiration for today. I have "Query two new markets" on my To Do list this week. Think I'll tackle that now!

Sylvia Ney said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm just starting to take my writing seriously and recently started my own blog. (Please visit if you have time.
I have been debating traditional versus self publishing my first book. Patience is not my strong suit. I'll be working on that since I have decided to try the traditional route for now. Thanks again.

Jacklyn Cornwell said...

I don't know if continuing to submit to the same markets because you have had some success is settling. I submit to markets that continue to publish my work, but I also keep submitting to lots of other markets. I get my share of rejections, and even had a contract on a book go south after over 18 months, but I keep submitting. Can't get published if you don't submit.

Sioux said...

I agree with you, and J.M. Anyone can publish a book via the vanity presses. (Even my Golden Retriever could pen a book...)That doesn't mean there aren't some great books that have been self-published; there are. However,there are also some independent presses that might be a "happy medium" between huge publishers and vanity presses.

For example, I have sent a manuscript of mine to one of the "big boy" publishing houses. When they shoot it down (in three more months) I am going to broach High Hill Press--here in Missouri--with a pitch.

Becky Povich asked me, "What are they gonna do---come to your house and beat you over the head with it (your manuscript)?"

As J.M. said, if you want to get published you HAVE to submit...