Monday, 28 April 2014

Three encouraging sentences

The most important quality every writer needs to cultivate is a dogged determination to keep on writing – and then write some more. Easier said than done, but it helps to know you're not the only one struggling with the disappointments and frustrations of rejection.

One of the most encouraging things I’ve read for a long time is this sentence from the acknowledgments page of Henry Mitchell’s novel, The Summer Boy.

Thanks to the almost two hundred agents and editors who passed on my queries, thus compelling  me to keep searching until the right publisher found me.

TWO HUNDRED??  Now there’s a lesson in persistence!

* * *
The Internet is awash with advice on how to get your work accepted by agents and publishers, how to self-publish, and how to ensure your book achieves bestseller status. So if you just follow the rules laid down by all these experts success must be guaranteed, right? Wrong! And that was why this sentence by Beverley Birch leapt out at me from her article in Notes From The Slushpile.

The truth is that no one knows how to publish successfully in the 21st century’s multiple currents, cross-currents and swirls – least of all publishers.

And Beverley knows what she’s talking about. Not only is she a published author of over 40 children’s books, but she has also worked as a commissioning editor for a respected publishing house.

Am I dismayed that someone with her experience and insider knowledge doesn’t have a secret formula for publishing success? No, her words felt like a very welcome gust of fresh air. Her only advice for writers is to keep on writing the story you want to tell – and that’s exactly what I’m doing!

* * *
And finally … perhaps the most encouraging sentence of all.

We would like to publish your Rave in the next issue of Mslexia.

Mslexia’s Rants and Raves feature is where readers describe something they love or loathe. It’s only a paragraph, but I almost didn’t submit my Rave because I thought it would be considered too flippant for a serious literary magazine.

Whoo-hoo! This one little acceptance has cancelled out at least a dozen previous rejections!

Onwards and upwards!


What encourages you to keep on, keeping on?

5 comments:

Jean Knill said...

Congratulations on the Rave, Linda. Keep it up.

lizy-expat-writer said...

We could all do with more encouragement, but the best thing so far for me was when I paid to have my novel proof read and the person who did it said she loved the book.Unsolicited praise that was music to my ears. Still no agent though :(

Henry Mitchell said...

...and deep thanks to the publisher who says at last, "Yes," although it may be more of a "yes, but." Then an editor begins to improve your story by cutting all your favorite parts.

Linda D said...

Thanks, Jean. It's boosted my confidence to try submitting more to Mslexia.

Sounds like you're on the right track, Lizy. Don't give up!

Ah, yes, Henry, the dreaded editing ... But it's all worth it in the end, isn't it?

susanjanejones said...

Reading this post give me encouragement Linda, well done on the Rave...