Eager to get noticed?

Jane Friedman has a powerful article in the  July-August 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, entitled “Revising Your Path to Publication.” On the writersdigest.com site, Brian Klems posted this excerpt. Take it to heart, and see what you can do today to get a little closer to these milestones in your writing career …

6 Signs You’re Getting Closer to Publication
September 20, 2011 | Brian A. Klems | Comments: 2

Be on the lookout for these signals, which may indicate that agents and publishers are starting to take notice of your work.

  1. You start receiving personalized, “encouraging” rejections.
  2. Agents or editors reject the manuscript you submitted, but ask you to send your next work. (They can see that you’re on the verge of producing something great.)
  3. Your mentor (or published author friend) tells you to contact his agent, without you asking for a referral.
  4. An agent or editor proactively contacts you because she spotted your quality writing somewhere online or in print.
  5. You’ve outgrown the people in your critique group and need to find more sophisticated critique partners.
  6. Looking back, you understand why your work was rejected, and see that it deserved rejection. You probably even feel embarrassed by earlier work.

This article was written by Jane Friedman.


Overcoming Rejection

Got rejection fatique?

September begins a busy season for agents and editors after the slow summer days in publishing. So if your desired agent seems less interested than you hoped, or you wait two long months and still don’t get a response to a query, here’s some advice to keep you sane, courtesy of this week’s guest blogger, Maria Rainier, a freelance writer and blogger.

Overcoming Rejection

Unfortunately, most writers know rejection intimately. Even the most gifted writers have been met with dozens of rejection letters. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before it was published (and went on to win the Newberry Award).  Finding ways to keep those rejection letters in perspective and to keep trying is what pushes writers to eventual success. Here are a few tips to help you move past rejection:

Expect It

Rejection is more common than acceptance. There are thousands of writers out there all trying to be published in the same limited number of magazines and by the same handful of book publishers. You may be a gifted writer trying to sell a brilliant work of prose, but still face rejection because you pitched it to the wrong publisher; a similar piece was recently published; market fluctuations have decreased; demand for the type of work you’re selling, and so on. You may even just catch the editor on a bad day. Remember that rejection may have nothing at all to do with you or your talents as a writer.

Use it to Find Motivation

If your work continues to be rejected, set it aside and take some time away from it. When you look at it again, try to do so objectively. What can you do better? How can you improve as a writer? Use rejection to make your work better. Devote more time honing your skills and developing your work, then re-submit the work with the confidence that you have improved as a writer and have produced a stronger piece.

Use it to Open Doors

Sometimes, the work you submit just isn’t a good fit for whatever reason: It doesn’t have the right tone, the timing is off, or the publisher is just in the market for another style. However, your work may still catch the attention of a publisher, leading to other opportunities. Perhaps you will be asked to write another piece for publication, or the publisher may talk to you about what other work you have available to submit. Rejection doesn’t have to be the final “no”.

Rejection is always hard, and it is difficult not to see it as a condemnation of your writing and you as a person. However, maintaining an objective attitude can help you see rejection as a way to improve and to strengthen your talents. What other ways have you found helpful for overcoming the sting of rejection?


Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently a resident blogger at an online degree resource site, where recently she’s been researching different online aa business administration opportunities and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Good tutorial on book proposals

The folks at Writer’s Relief work full time helping authors produce queries, book proposals and other services.

If you’re working on a book proposal, use this 2008 post as a guide. It’s filled with sound advice on the critical proposal components to attract an agent.


The Art of the Non-Fiction Book Proposal – Writer’sRelief lives at writersrelief.com

Agents embracing ebooks

First, we grassroots writers were publishing ebooks, then the birth of Kindle, Nook and other tablet devices made ebooks the next million-dollar-idea in the industry. Now, a well known agency is helping clients go straight to ebooks, for the right projects:

This from Media Bistro 6/29/11

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management will now help clients explore eBook and print-on-demand options.

The agency founded the service to help “books we believe in and feel passionately about but couldn’t sell.” According to the agency’s site, they have “no intention of becoming e-publishers.” Last year the Wylie Agency created (and then resolved) a public dispute with Random House over the Wylie Agency’s push to make eBooks for clients.

Here’s more from Dystel & Goderich: “what we are going to do is to facilitate e-publishing for those of our clients who decide that they want to go this route, after consultation and strategizing about whether they should try traditional publishing first or perhaps simply set aside the current book and move on to the next. We will charge a 15% commission for our services in helping them project manage everything from choosing a cover artist to working with a copyeditor to uploading their work.  We will continue to negotiate all agreements that may ensue as a result of e-publishing, try to place subsidiary rights where applicable, collect monies and review statements to make sure the author is being paid.” (Via PaidContent)

Reading Lit Mags for double exposure

Double exposure? Yes, you’ll be exposed to some of the finest writing published, and your work will be seen by literary agents.

Many of us read literary magazines for pure pleasure, but agents read them both for the beauty of the writing and it hopes of discovering new talent.

Among the finest lit mags are: Glimmer Train, Granta, n1, One Story, Southern Review, Tin House. Words Without Borders, Zoetrope and dozens more.

The Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Poets & Writers (pw.org) has a good article on the journals that agents read. Keep this in mind as you labor over your best writing, waiting for the day your memoir or novel is complete. And… don’t wait! Submitting material from your book to literary magazines is a perfect way to test the waters, and attract an eager agent.

Poets & Writers has a Lit Mag, Small Press section of their site, to get you started this morning. So, stay in your PJs another hour, and find a lit mag where you can test your writing, and improve your appreciation for our craft.

Revisit your opening lines

Conventional wisdom says if you keep hearing the same advice again and again, maybe its worth noting.

In the last two week, I’ve heard about the importance of “first lines” on three separate occasions, so let’s take a look:

Agent Sara  Wolski, speaking at OCWW, explained why the first three pages of a manuscript are so important to the agent/editor.

Creative Non-Fiction magazine (which is a fabulous asset for writers), has a back page of “first lines” from published books. In fact, you can add great first lines from your favorite books at CNF’s twitter stream. (Ask me for the link.)

At ASJA’s annual conference in April, two agents said they request the first 2 or 3 chapters of a book instead of a book proposal. Why? Because if they are not hooked by your writing, it won’t live up to even the best marketing plan.

An inside look at query letters and agent comments

Chuck Sambuchino, a popular Writers Digest Books editor has a mega-blog that lists both query letters that worked AND agent comments on submissions

This is gold…

Check it out and comment here to let us know what you discovered.