Almost every author, however talented and respected, has at one time or another received a rejection notice. NO is a word with which all aspiring authors, and some already published, are very familiar. It comes with the territory. With rejection also comes frustration, disappointment, dismay and sometimes defeat. It can be a bitter road, and not all writers traverse it without succumbing to the pitfalls. But one can help themselves stay for the course and fight for that which every writer desires; publication. Here are ten steps to help any writer maintain determination during the fight for publication.
1. Keep the faith, Baby. – You started this whole process because you had an unquenchable fire to put words to paper. Not just any words, mind, but your own. You had a story, a vision, an idea, or just knowledge that you felt was worth sharing and you wanted it to be delivered to the world with your voice. In your eyes, the finished work is unique and singular among all the thousands of books that abound in this universe of readers. You must maintain that mindset against all contrarians. The NO that is wadded into a ball and clinched in your fist just represents another person’s opinion. An educated opinion, a necessary opinion, yes, but not the last opinion, nor is it the most important.
2. Understand the Industry – Book Publishers and Author Agents are businesses and, if successful, are being run like businesses. They are of the same ilk but different in nature. Both can issues rejections and do continuously. They must on every inquiry decide on the worthiness of a submittal from their perspective. They answer the business question, “Does this particular work meet my estimation of quality and does it further my particular image, brand, and business interests?” If the answer is no to any part, then a rejection letter ensues. But just like humanity as a whole, all agents or publishers are not created the same. Their likes and dislikes are as varied as are the manuscripts on the market. One must define, as narrowly as possible, how they want to enter this maze, and to what market they wish to appeal.
3. Agent versus Publisher – An agent may represent you with all publishers ( except self-publishing houses), but not all publishers require the intervention of agents for publication. In your decision making process of how you wish to navigate the publishing maze, you will encounter publishing houses, usually the very large and reputable firms, that will not consider unsolicited manuscripts from anyone except agents. If this is the only way you will allow your work into print, then your decision is a simplified into the single question of WHOM? Study the agents open to new manuscripts and choose ones that are comfortable with books of your genre. If you exhaust your agent list and the NAYS have it, then go back to Item #1. If you are open to bypassing agents and the publishers for whom they intercede, then start the same process recommended for agents and charge with enquiries. The last resort, and in some instances the first resort, is self-publishing. Be prepared to be all things necessary to get your work in book form and into the marketplace. Open your purse strings along with the effort, for its contents will be needed.
4. Engage the Experts – Those that have gone before carry with them both the agonies and ecstasies of the experienced writer. In this age of internet communication and world access, there are plenty of information outlets for the inquisitive to plumb and many patrons, therewith, willing to share their insights and experiences. Learn from those that know and understand what you are going through. Sometimes the light bulb can go off at the oddest of times, and from the most insignificant of causes.
5. Timing – Maybe it is not your time; not today and not with this subject matter. That happens. Print is a media for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints, and a book is just an extended, in-depth version of same. Times change and so do tastes. Genres like ideas come and go. Today’s vampire craze will change to zombies, to cowboys, to whatever. Everyone wants to ride the crest of the wave as it hurdles toward shore. If you write this kind of work then timing is everything. Others take a different tack in producing works that are outside the mainstream. Not all can be works of art and recognized as such so that their time is always present. But many are worthy of print. Those must not be set aside and forgotten, because their time may yet come. Perseverance is the fundamental building block of the game that will make this happen.
6. Diversion of Strategy – If rejection has morphed in your world from a low-lying obstacle to a formidable block wall you cannot see beyond, perhaps it is time to step away from the effort. A fresh start after some supportive diversion can shine lights on paths previously unseen. One way to accomplish this is to immerse your focus in other work, especially if that effort is connected to support of the industry, authors, publishing, book enthusiasts, etc. It will take your immediate need to publish and channel it temporarily into involvement that supports the industries of which you long to be a part. This allows you to vent, collect information, make contacts and recognize trends or market needs. Out of these efforts may evolve solutions of which you have, heretofore, been unaware. Play the game while you bide your time.
7. Reassess – Be realistic in your perspective. After putting your publishing efforts on temporary hold, getting your head clear, and stepping away from the overriding desire for publication, take an impartial look at your work. Read it for the first time. I know that you can recite parts by heart, and have labored over every word, but have you read it with the same abandonment as you would the work of someone else? Can you lose yourself in the plot? Can it make you laugh or cry? If it does not, then maybe it is not the finished work you thought it was. Don’t give up, just reassess.
8. Yell for help - If you are too close to the subject and cannot be impartial, then it might be prudent to call in those that can. You may have to pay for the service, but if you still believe in the product, go that extra expense and get someone to professionally critique your effort and make the suggestions necessary; you know, the ones you are too close to see.
9. Self-publish – It is not the end of the world. Self-publishing might and could be the beginning of the world; your world as a published author. It will put you into the marketplace and give you a base from which to maneuver, and possibly a different set of problems with which to contend. The one thing it certainly provides is the experience.
10. Keep the faith, Baby. – see Item #1.
When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture.
One's ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life's story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby's Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. Holderby's Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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