I subscribe to a number of newsletters about writing via email. I don’t always get to read every one of them, but I try to at least glance through most of them. Some are better than others, of course.
I’ve just read one that comes from a writer who lives here in South Australia. His newsletters are always worth reading – every word. In this week’s newsletter he mentions that he checked his submissions spreadsheet only to realise that he was well behind in his goal of 100 rejections. He chastised himself publicly, adding that if his writing was not out there doing the rounds of the publishers, how could he expect to get published. Good point, one I need to take serious note of as it’s been a while since I last submitted anything.
What he meant by his requisite 100 rejections he didn’t explain. Did he mean total rejections, rejections this year or what? It doesn’t really matter. The thrust of many of his newsletters is to encourage his readers to write, write, write and then submit, submit, submit. His theory – and it’s a good one – is that the more you write the better you get at this game. I agree.
The second part of his writing theory is that the more you write, the more material you have to submit to publishers. And the more you submit, the better your chances of being published become. The flip side is: if you submit nothing, that’s exactly how much you’ll get published.
Good writing – and don’t forget to submit something this week!
Yesterday I finished the first draft of my novel for children. I have been working hard on this over the last two months and finished it over a week ahead of the schedule I had set for myself. I love setting goals – and then achieving them. Now my creative brain needs a little break for a few days. Time to attend to a few other matters before launching into the rewriting phase.
Today I had a totally different writing task which took most of my attention. The whole point of writing, in my opinion, is to be published. Sure, there are people who write just for themselves and are totally happy with an audience of one. I guess my private journal writing comes into that category. Such writing is not aimed at a broader audience. Unless, of course, I become obscenely rich or infamously notorious as a result of my writing. Some people might want to read my private grumblings. But I doubt it.
Today I prepared some submissions for a publisher. I’m nearing the end of my Master of Arts course, and every year the humanities department calls for submissions from staff and students involved in the programme. The deadline is Friday, so I knew I had to get organised. Successful poems and stories are published in the annual anthology which is published in November. Last year I had a story and ten poems chosen which was very satisfying. This time around I have submitted eight poems and four short stories. It will be interesting to see which of them the editors choose.
One of the good things about this submission is that I could submit electronically. Makes the whole process relatively painless compared with sending off letters. Bit cheaper too.
Challenge to readers
Are you constantly writing but never sending off those stories and poems and articles you’ve slaved over so lovingly? The secret to getting published is no secret, really. You need to write, write, write and then submit, submit submit. And while waiting to hear back from the publishers, you need to write some more, and then write some more and then submit… I think you get the picture.
Send off a story or poem today.
Good writing – and may you see your writing in print soon. I know I will.
I found this interesting article on a blog written by an American literary agent.
Myths vs facts of publishing by Rachelle Gardner.
It has some very interesting things to say about agents, and about getting an agent to represent you, and about getting published.
The many reader comments are worth reading too.The agent writing this blog is a committed Christian; in fact, she is actively seeking fiction which ‘does not contradict a Christan worldview.’
Pity we have no agents like her here in Australia.
Over the years I’ve had my share of rejection as a writer.
Many of these rejections were for poems, articles and stories I had submitted to magazines. Some were for children’s novels I have written. Some of the rejections were blunt; they didn’t want to publish my writing and no reasons were given. Some were polite and very brief. A few were encouraging and praised my writing. One notable rejection was a full page of suggested changes and a request to resubmit. (I’m still working on that one.)
Rejections come in many forms, but the reaction of the writer is often the same; devastation – or, at best, disappointment. Writers who give out advice about writing on web sites or at conferences or who teach writing classes glibly say, ‘Don’t take rejection personally. They are rejecting the writing – not you.’ That’s all well and good, but it is still deflating to get a rejection letter, especially something like a novel you’ve slaved over for five or more years.
I’ve also had it drummed into me that I should always work on a manuscript until it is the very best I can present. From what I have heard and read, far too many would-be authors submit shoddy writing to publishers or agents. They don’t realise how easy this makes it for the editor or agent to reject that writing very quickly, perhaps in a few seconds. It’s a very competitive field. In order to get published your writing has to rise well above the ordinary, the mundane and the truly awful.
For a longer discussion on this topic I’d like to recommend the following article. The title says it all.
The road to getting published is a very difficult one. You need to know what you are doing, and submit the very best you can write.
Sadly though, submitting the very best of your writing is often not enough. You must take a very professional approach to the business of writing – and it is a business. A recent article I read gives many hints on becoming a published writer.
- Pearl versus the World Blog Tour with Sally Murphy is a a great article outlining the process she goes through to get published – over and over.