Monday, April 20, 2009


Travis, I hope you don't mind, but I'm answering your comment from the post below here because I think a lot of people feel like you do.

First, I'm sorry if my opinion caused pain. I didn't mean to sound harsh. Actually I wanted to encourage those folks who are trying to get published, to tell them that doors are ready to swing open for them. If they are ready. But I should have also added that not having an agent and trying to sell in a recession do make it harder to get published.

With my first book, I sent queries to agents at the same time that I sent my manuscript to publishers. More editors were interested in my story than agents. Only one agent asked to see the manuscript. By the way, I never counted those other agents' rejections. I'm sure the total would have depressed me.

Every time I got rejected, I knew in my gut that my writing wasn't there yet. So I kept rewriting. I kept taking classes, reading books, listening to other writers. It doesn't mean I took all of their advice. Because a lovely thing happens along the journey of becoming a writer. We begin to trust our own instincts. That is growth.

Unpublished writers today need to think outside the box. They should attend reputable conferences and take advantage of those agent and editor appointments. That's one way around the roadblock to unsolicited manuscripts.

We're in a difficult market right now, but it will pass. And even in this market, editors go to work every day. They read manuscripts. Yes, many of them are from established writers, but they want to find new voices, too.

Never give up. You can be that voice.

But when writers receive rejection after rejection after rejection, they may need to take an honest look at their work. They may need to admit the problem lies there.

Picture Note: I posted Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) because I thought of him often when I pulled my returned envelopes from the mailbox. Geisel received more than twenty rejections before And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street was accepted.

1 comment:

  1. Writing is a hard business and I've had a few gut punches but that doesn't mean I didn't need most of those smacks. I truly believe they have made me tougher and a better writer. Thanks for all of the advice and for the encouragement.