Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Keeping Calm. When That Rejection Letter Comes In

Years ago, when I was trying to get published through a national publisher, I sent out many, many query letters.

And while some of these letters came back, "no interest," there were many other things that happened too, both internally and externally. Allow me to share them with you.

Photo by: The D34n, courtesy of Flickr

1. The first thing I learned right away when receiving a rejection letter, was that I needed to have a new query already ready to send to the next publisher. This helped ease the pain of the rejection, and allowed for hope that the next query would be accepted.

2. I also learned that one publishers opinion was simply that, an opinion. Another publisher might like my story idea and accept it. This happened with A River of Stones.

3. I learned that I needed to be patient with a response to my query. Most answers to queries take roughly 3 months, but they can take up to 6 months or longer. So I learned early on to get many queries out there so that I always had at least one publisher that I hadn't heard from yet.

4. This meant I had to be organized. I needed a way to track what I'd sent out. I used Excel, but you can use whatever works for you.

5. I paid special attention to hand writing in the margins of my query letters. I always paid attention to letters that came back that were personalized; that meant the editor, or editors, had actually read my work. Form letters are the standard rule, but if you get something up and beyond this, be grateful and take notice. 

6. I realized I wouldn't be published overnight, and occasionally, a publisher would say, "We like this, but would like you to make thus and thus changes. Then we'll look at it again." Make sure you are up to the changes; make sure that you agree with them. And don't plan on your book being accepted even after you've made the changes. Even after all of this, the changes may not be quite what the publisher is looking for. But then again, with the changes made, your work may just be accepted.

The most important thing when it comes to rejection letters is that you keep on writing, no matter how many rejection letters you receive, and that you continue to write no matter the perceived barriers to your success receiving them brings.

Happy Writing!




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