Perseverence-Revisited

Cb3l1HoVAAEOgtTSince my adventure began six years ago, I have read numerous stories from well known authors about their journey to becoming published. I put so much time and effort into my craft I couldn’t help but feel discouraged, and I wondered what I was doing wrong. It helped and encouraged me to know that I was not alone but in great company.

The one common theme in all of their stories was perseverance. The agent that worked with me on my book, always ended her critiques with don’t give up. Perseverance is the one characteristic that all successful writers have.

If you have a high quality, marketable piece of work, persevere and you will eventually find an agent and get published. Kathryn Stockett wrote The Help over a five year period of time, then had three and a half years worth of rejections. 60 in all. It was agent 61 who took her on. The book spent 100 weeks on the best seller list.

Other notable Authors who suffered rejection:

  • Richard Adam’s Watership Down 17 rejections
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune  20+ rejections
  • JK Rowlings’  Harry Potter 12+ rejections
  • Nicholas Sparks’  The Notebook 24 rejections.

I hope you are getting the picture.  Revise, edit, do what you have to do to make your story great and don’t give up.

Hope this offered a little encouragement.  I know how disheartening it can be to send your baby out and have it rejected. Don’t take it personal and don’t give up.

-Jan R

Perseverence-Revisited

Follow The Rules!

iStock_000013116314_Full-919x1030.jpgOne of my resolutions this year is to get Always and Forever published. It’s a beautiful story with a great premise, but it wasn’t quite ready for prime time 🙂 At least that’s what I was told by one of the agents I queried.

That was my first lesson learned. You can have a great story, but if it’s not written correctly, you can forget it. You have to follow the rules. No grammatical or structural errors, no head-hopping, no information dumps, watch the pacing, transition from scene to scene, and for goodness sake, make sure it’s clear and concise. Nobody wants to read a bunch of written-ese, it doesn’t matter how pretty the sentence sounds with all those extra adjectives. Remember you are writing a novel, not poetry.

I left out a lot of the rules that should be on your checklist when you go back and edit that book, but the previous paragraph was becoming too long and cumbersome, and I think you got the point. And no, the publishers and literary agents do not have editors on standby to do a complete makeover on your story, no matter how good it is. Let’s put that myth to rest.

You’re never too old to learn a new skill. So that’s what I set out to do. If I was going to make my dream a reality, I was going to have to learn the rules and apply them to my story. I have to admit, I thought often about throwing the first very rough draft out and starting over. I’m glad I didn’t.

Don’t give up!!! That was something else the literary agent that I queried told me. You can do this! Most people fail because they stop trying. You never know, you could be one query away from a literary agent excepting your work.

You want to go the e-book route? That’s okay too. I have considered it myself.  But you still have to produce high-quality work. You have to follow the rules. You can put anything you want on e-books if your only goal is to be called author, but if you want to actually sell your books and be successful, you’re going to have to take the time to get that story right.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Follow The Rules!

Perseverance Is The Key

julieandrews1I received two rejections this week, and while they were nice well written form letters, that’s what they were. You know the ones that thank you for considering their agency, and assure you that they will give your work a thorough going over before they make a decision. And then they add, if you haven’t heard from us in two weeks, assume we are not interested, and your work isn’t a good fit for us…

I have to admit besides being a little disappointed, I was skeptical and mad. I’ve put a lot of work into my manuscript. I’ve edited so many versions, that it doesn’t even look like it’s former self.  It really is that much better than the original completed work. So what’s the problem?

I’ve heard over and over not to take it personal. It’s business, and truth be known, it may have nothing to do with your manuscript. If there are no obvious flaws with your work, send it out to other agents. Just because you were rejected by one agent, doesn’t mean you will be by the next.

The New York Times best selling author of “The Help”, was rejected by 60 different agents. You read that right. Her 61st attempt was a success. The book was on the best seller list for the entire year and eventually made into a movie.

So why do books get rejected?

Maybe your manuscript just isn’t ready.

  • The author can’t format, spell, and doesn’t understand grammar. The result is  incomprehensible sentences that leave the reader confused, pulling them completely out of the story.
  • Dragging dialogue, head hopping, poor character development, plot holes, info dumping…
  • Maybe your work isn’t that bad and with competent editing, it’s publishable. Staff editors don’t have the time and sometimes don’t even have the necessary experience to clean your work up. Hire an editor before you send your manuscript out for consideration if self-editing isn’t an option.

Maybe your manuscript is ready but….

  • The agent/agency has an abundance of the genre you just submitted, and they are not accepting anything new in that genre until their inventory decreases.  You really weren’t a fit for what they were looking for.
  • Maybe the agent/publisher reviewing your work is in such a bad mood, they would turn down  Nicholas Sparks “The Notebook”,  even if it was handed to them on a silver platter – twenty four did. Agents make mistakes.
  • Maybe the storyline/subject matter you’re writing about isn’t selling right now. Zombie books are getting old. People want something new.
  • The publisher could literally be in a cash crunch, and no matter how great your book is, they can’t purchase it right now. They have a freeze in place until some books start selling, and they can build up their reserves.

What I’m trying to say, is there are a lot of reasons books get rejected, and they may have nothing to do with your work. I’ve read more than once, that perseverance is the key.

If you have a great, publishable piece of work, don’t give up, submit it to other agencies for review. If you have less than perfect work, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Don’t expect someone to fix it for you. They won’t.

Don’t give up!!!

-Jan R

Perseverance Is The Key

Are You An Opener Or A Finisher?(Repost)

Hare-and-Tortoise-300x156I read an article a while back that described openers and finishers. I had never really thought about it, though if I had to identify with one of the two, it would definitely be finisher.

An opener is someone with grand ideas, too many grand ideas. They get bogged down and jump back and forth between projects, never to finish one, or they allow themselves to become discouraged and quit before crossing the finish line.

A finisher as you may have all ready guessed, finishes what they start. They primarily stick to one project at a time and move at a slow consistent pace until they have completed their work or met their goal.

When I read this article, I couldn’t help but think about ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’.  The Hare was enthusiastic and fast but he allowed distractions(other projects for my analogy) to get in his way, and he looked for shortcuts to help him catch back up. Of course, we all know how that went.

The Tortoise on the other hand, stood at the starting line with one thing in mind, finishing the race. He didn’t try to take any shortcuts(which could result in inferior work). He was in for the long haul. He wasn’t giving up.

Since my adventure began six years ago, I have read numerous stories from well known authors about their journeys to becoming published.  The one common theme in all of their stories was perseverance. I put so much time and effort into my craft, I can’t help but feel discouraged at times. It helps and encourages me to know that I am not alone but in great company.

If you have a high quality, marketable piece of work, persevere, and you will eventually find an agent and get published. Kathryn Stockett wrote, ‘The Help’ over a five year period of time, then had three and a half years worth of rejections-60 in all. It was agent number 61 who took her on. The book spent 100 weeks on the best seller list.

The agent that took the time to work with me, always ended her critiques with don’t give up.

We all know who won that race. Are you an Opener or a finisher?

-Jan R

 

Are You An Opener Or A Finisher?(Repost)