By Linda Glaz
What makes writers give up? Don’t they know THE SECRET?
There is no one story that will please everyone. It takes the right story at the right moment to the right publisher. Period. Any other combination results in a rejection. Now, in all seriousness, we’re talking about stories that have been polished to the nines, have complex characters with plots to fool even the best readers. So we aren’t comparing apples and oranges here. We are assuming the writer has learned the craft, written a compelling story, has passed it through numerous critique partners, and possibly a professional editor. Not someone who simply sat down, dashed off a novel in a month, and expected everyone to fall all over themselves to publish it. We are being realistic.
Writing a novel takes work. A lot of very hard work. How does a new writer learn all of these things? They soak up every blog written by agents and publishers. They work with critique partners. They attend conferences. Too pricey? Not always. Many are online this year at reduced fees, and many others are in the reasonable category all the time. I know of one that is $99 regularly. They offer shared rooms for $30 each. Is that affordable enough for most folks? Of course. And the two days are packed with information from industry professionals. There are those conferences that are much costlier, but in the end, the takeaway is worth every penny. Plus, most of the conferences offer scholarships to serious writers with a need. If not a conference, then what? Online classes and courses offered free with most organization’s registration fees. One fee for a year with classes for Basic through Advanced writers. You literally can’t go wrong.
Agents and editors receive thousands of submissions each year, and only a handful of those writers have done their homework. Even those with great books often fail to read the agency site’s requirements, so they send out a query that is obviously not a good fit. What do we sit up and take notice of? A well-written query attached to a proposal for the kinds of books that we handle. That says professional writer all over the page. Most agencies will post exactly what they want: query or proposal, and for what genre.
Will the writer, doing everything correctly, still be rejected? Yes, they often will. Sometimes the story itself just isn’t a good fit. For example in nonfiction, it might be a memoir. And for one agent or editor, memoirs might not be selling for him or her. So even though the writing is solid, it gets a pass … at this time.
“If the writing’s great, and I’ve done my homework, and I’m still rejected, why keep trying?”
The prize goes to the one who never falters. Who continues to write more stories even while being rejected. Who shops their stories around without giving up. NEVER giving up. Agent Jane Doe might not take the story today, but might be willing to look in a few months when she expects suspense to be hot once again. Or historic, or contemporary, or any other genre that she might not be selling at the moment. And yes, I’ve signed folks who did rewrites, who returned, who never gave up.
One word: P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E. Let that be your mantra until you find your way to publication.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)
Linda S. Glaz,
married with three grown children and four grandchildren, is a complete triple-A personality.
How else would she find time to write as well as be an agent for Hartline
Literary Agency? She loves any and everything about the written word and loves
when families pass stories along through the generations as her mother did with
her. She’s a speaker,
presenter, and searches her emails each day to find that one nugget of gold. Writing so stellar
from a teachable spirit. What more could she ask for?