Chronicles of a Really Bad Day Anthology for Charity Vol: 1

I don’t know about you all, but there are days that I would have rather slept through, yesterday being one of them.  Nothing seemed to be going my way.  Every time I turned around, there was something that went wrong.  Yesterday took any sign of happiness as a threat to its existence.  It was the Monday kill-joy; a perpetual day of nothing but Murphy and his damnable law following me around like a black cloud.   Received bad news, an expensive heirloom keepsake was destroyed by a friend’s evil, sadistic, neurotic cat who spent his time hiding and channeling his inner tornado in the middle of the night.  He is described as the big black furry ball of dumb for good reason.  I was miserable from over-exerting myself while climbing a mountain with my kids (My limbs developed a voice reminiscent of grating icepicks across asphalt as they etched their disdain across my muscles).  I am also suddenly and very sadly reminded of my age and those crippling grey hairs are rearing their ugly heads upon my own!  Ugh!

Then don’t you love it when you get a brand new video game as a present to cheer you up and find out that your friend has already played it?  Then during the first hour and a half of trying to play this game, this friend narrates what you should do instead of actually allowing you to enjoy the game on your own terms.  I’m not sure if that sort of behavior was just nails on a chalkboard to me, or if I was oversensitive because the day had been going so horribly, or this was the dynamite candle on the cake.  Yeah…and that’s not even the half of it.  I think the only thing missing from yesterday were cops and a flaming bag of poo on my doorstep.

Perhaps a warning like this one would have prompted me to stay in bed, which I probably should have.

I can taste the red….

I have had a day when I got into an argument with a friend, didn’t sleep, dragged out of the house for a party I didn’t want to go to, and ended up stranded.  I’ve had a day when I got pulled over, received a shut-off notice, had an argument, found out that a friend ripped me off, and my children chose that day of all days to throw the world’s most impressive tantrum-tap dancing upon my very last nerve. I’ve been late for work during a winter storm because my car went into a ditch.  Waited three hours for help out of said ditch only to get a flat tire three quarters of the way home.  Waited another two hours for help and made it to work just in time to close shop.

We have all had those days.  The ones where we wished that we had stayed in bed with a good book and a glass of wine.  Those days kick our collective behinds.  When we hear of our friends having those sorts of days, we can’t help but consume ourselves with the feeling of schadenfreude mixed with empathy; we’ve all been there (we’re just glad its you and not us at the moment).

Thus, ‘The Chronicles of a Really Bad Day’ was born via the Nanowrimo group on Facebook.  Inspired by my series of crappy days, I decided to write a novella following a man who had about as good of luck as I had.  This novella ended up inspiring another writer to write one of her own.   From there, it inspired an anthology that welcomes all author’s take on the subject.  Murphy’s Law has on more than one occasion, bludgeoned us into submission and it sucks.  It reminds us of others who have it far worse, though, that’s the sad reality of it.

Kelly Nutting, John Murray McKay (author of The N Days series), and myself have begun the first steps in cultivating this anthology series through its Facebook page with other members on the Wrimo group.   We will maintain up-to-date information and guidelines for the anthology.  We welcome all writers, authors, poets, and wrimos to submit.  Proceeds will go toward a charity that will be voted upon by the community, but one that must help others; the individuals hit hard by circumstances or the economy.  Everyone could use some help every so often and sometimes people don’t have just one bad day, but a series of bad days.

Guidelines:

Poetry should be 36 lines max and should maintain the theme.

Short stories must be between 2,500 and 5,000 words.

Email submissions to writerzblock007@gmail.com, subject line should read ‘Chronicles of a Really Bad Day’.

Submission deadline to be announced.

We will hold a contest for the cover art.

If anyone would like to help us out with this anthology, contact one of the admins on the Facebook page.

If accepted, short stories and poetry will be edited via Writerz Block editing services.

Stories should elicit a feeling of schadenfreude, perhaps a good laugh, or maybe even horrify the reader into the reality that sometimes, life knocks you hard.   Any genre is welcome except erotica, but must maintain the theme of Murphy’s Law.  The aim is for this series to be a sort of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ for adults (without the comics).  Maybe we’ll do a comic version in the future, who knows?

I love how this new adventure has inspired such creativity and support.  The idea of helping others through writing has surely made up for the Monday monstrosity.  Maybe this series of anthologies can make a difference in someone’s life as we help out others through their bad days with a smile and some much needed support.  Some ideas include St. Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army.  We welcome your suggestions!

Thank you all in advance for considering submitting a story.  We all look forward to reading them!  Happy Tuesday, and start writing!  Don’t forget to like ‘The Chronicles of a Really Bad Day’ on Facebook to receive regular updates.

UPDATE 9/7/14
Submission deadline is set to January 1, 2015.  Proceeds will go toward Saint Vincent de Paul and/or Salvation Army to help those facing financial hardship.  Stumped as to what to write about?  Think Murphy’s Law. 

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The War Wages on Five Fronts: Amazon, Hatchette, Indies, Readers, & Celebrity Authors

This is why I chose to sign the petition:

I am beside myself and infuriated. Hatchette thrives solely upon paperbacks and hardcovers for their revenue with only about 1% of their revenue coming from e-books from my understanding. I don’t see why they are being so uppity about the whole thing other than their insatiable greed. If e-books remain at the same prices as paperbacks, I can guarantee you that you’ll see more people pirating books. Amazon’s got the right idea; people want what’s affordable and within this economy, it’s necessary. The only time I purchase paperbacks is if they’re at a discount, like at thrift stores-I’m frugal by nature. I’d rather read indie authors and essentially support my peers. With this whole ‘Letter to Amazon in the Sunday paper’ move, it’s said that this is ‘The first time authors have come together in this magnitude’. Wow really? *blink, blink* That’s funny, because I’ve seen more camaraderie with indie authors in my experience, and that’s pretty much common practice. It’s how we roll!

Then we have the corporate greed and the quite obvious facts that everyone really ought to consider, which is cost versus profit. How much does it cost to publish an e-book? Let’s see, other than my time writing the book, formatting the book, editing the book, and creating the cover, not a damned thing. Well, I do purchase author copies, but that’s beside the point-those are for giveaways, local shops, and copies to sell myself.

E-books are digital, you can’t pass them off or lend them out to a friend, unless you want to lend your whole e-reader. Considering how much it costs to produce an e-book, why on earth should they cost as much if not more than a paperback? Why? Oh yeah. That’s right. Minimal cost equals higher profit. Price gouging upon that means that the publisher (Hatchette) makes even MORE money.

But…where does that excess money go? Apparently not to their authors considering the massive entitlement complexes and capitalistic butthurt that they have unleashed on the front bloody page of the Sunday news. Are you kidding me? Wow, maybe I should write a letter to the government and force them to lower taxes. I’ll get all my friends together pissing and moaning about how horrible this situation is while sitting in my nice mansion drinking martinis with my pinkie up *snortlaughs*. Had it not been for Amazon, I wouldn’t be the person I am today: a published author and a business owner. Yep, Amazon’s KDP inspired me to do what I love more than writing-helping other writers by editing their hard work and amazingly creative stories.

Does anyone even consider that if readers want to read books from their favorite big named authors, they will find a way to get a hold of their books? Does Hatchette realize that by gouging prices, quite literally raping the pocketbooks of individuals who are already bitch-slapped by this atrocious economy, it will create a level of bitterness and hatred for literature? The music industry as well as Hollywood have already complained about people pirating. Why do people pirate? Maybe it’s because going to the movies or listening to music has become so expensive due to greed that it’s very nearly impossible for a lot of people to afford to indulge anymore. There are probably other reasons, but I’m not going to touch upon that right now.

How about we all think of it this way: College is expensive, but we need education to get a decent job, right? To better ourselves as individuals and as a community as a whole. We complain about our children spending more time futzing on the internet or getting into trouble, failing in school, teen pregnancy and all that mess.

Kids lack interest in reading. Why? Perhaps big publishers passed up the opportunity to publish works that would interest these kids-works that indies have provided. The more books that are sold, the more interest people will have in reading. Amazon is the damned Renaissance that we so desperately needed! We have people harnessing their inner creativity because they have the opportunity to do so and share it with the world, myself included. We have kids picking up e-readers and actually reading again. The more people read, the more educated people become. The more educated people become, the more hope there is for humanity. They say ‘Reading is fundamental’ and it is. It provides a gateway into a world that initiates empathy, a virtue that we are sorely lacking in this frail world where entitlement has become the norm.

Sure, people read for entertainment, but it has been proven time and time again that the more an individual reads, the better they are at communicating and the more they learn.

Image: www.thejoycamp.com -google search

By gouging prices, Hachette is not doing anyone any favors. It’s lessening the importance of literature and dampens progress, simply to make more money. Their business tactics are self-serving and for as long as I can hold a pen, type on a keyboard, and write complete sentences, I will support Amazon.

When it comes to wars, this one has become one that has developed into a literary equivalent to WWIII.  In Douglas Preston’s letter, which was signed by the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, and Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, among over 900 others, these legacy published authors are urging everyone to join forces like the Power Rangers and pretty much ask us all to allow their publishers to kick us in the pants by price gouging e-books.

Amazon is like Russia-we have far greater numbers and I think Hatchette’s efforts are an exercise in futility.  In essence, these big-named legacy authors are begging us to spend more on something that costs less to produce because their publisher is throwing a tantrum.  Apparently we’ve regressed back to kindergarten because I’ve heard Amazon referred to as a ‘big bully’ or a ‘thug’ in some of these articles.  Wow.  Go Amazon for being all gangsta for taking the moral high road.

I’m curious as to whether or not these authors actually care about their readers.  I’m also wondering what sort of nonsense Hatchette has spoonfed these authors into thinking.  That they’ll lose money?  Lose readership?  Do they think that with the massive influx of money that Hatchette will receive if Amazon bends to their demands, it will actually be passed off onto them?

An article in the Huffpost referenced a comment about how Amazon is holding authors hostage.  Really?

liam neeson taken - Let my authors go  or I will find you, and I will kill you.


If a business does not want to carry a certain title, they are not obliged to do so.  Does Walmart carry every single item available in the world?  Online, perhaps, but not always so.  Amazon isn’t picking on the author as an individual-they are limiting the stock of the books in their warehouses.  That’s not a personal attack, its product.  Period.

Damn.  Writers are sensitive creatures, aren’t they?  We take everything personally.  Then we have the perspectives of indie authors who aren’t blinded by our success or greed.  We have educated individuals who can see past all the bullshit into the facts that apparently people are failing to grasp, especially in the biased media.

Okay, maybe I’m a little bit biased.  Unlike some individuals who don’t read past the headlines or they take the word of celebrity endorsements as pure fact-I like being objective before I settle on my opinion.  I read through the articles pertaining to Hatchette’s supporters, and I still don’t see what the problem is with maintaining affordable prices with e-books.  The facts outside of the bias, outside of the celebrity whining, outside of the names ‘Hatchette’ and ‘Amazon’,  I see two businesses fighting over whether or not to tell the readers and authors to bend over and take $14.99 a pop up the hoo-ha without lube.

Speaking of lube-kinda makes me wish we had someone fighting for the same thing when it comes to gas prices, you know?  $1.79/gallon?  I’m down for that again.

I can’t help but wonder if Douglas Preston was really out to help authors or if his intent was to garner more attention to himself? Its a pretty decent marketing tactic, that’s for sure. He did mention a few individuals reluctant to sign because they were perhaps advised not to do so.  If some of the authors we know backed out of signing, it makes me wonder if they felt the same way we do.   Or maybe they just didn’t want to get involved and wanted to concentrate on writing books instead.

Another thing I keep on hearing over and over again is how both Hatchette and Amazon have urged the other to keep authors out of this whole mess.  From my understanding, Mr. Preston acted out of his own volition as did the creator of the Petition on behalf of Amazon.   Preston stated that Amazon called him an ‘opportunist’.   Heh.  You know what?

If any of you are not familiar with an awesome gentleman by the name of Jim Rose, he has an amazing marketing strategy.  He is truly a brilliant man, but busted his tail to get to where he is now.  He  became recognized using tactics that most of us probably don’t have the stones to pull off.   If you haven’t checked him out yet, you probably ought to.  He’s a great man and a fellow supporter of artists, musicians, and writers alike.  He has a marketing co-op group on Facebook I urge you to join.  There, you will find links not just to indie authors, musicians, and the like, but also valuable information he has learned throughout his career.  When I first saw the reference to ‘opportunist’ regarding Preston, I immediately thought of how Jim Rose took the opportunities presented to him to help him succeed in his career by manipulating the media.  I wouldn’t necessarily consider ‘opportunist’ a slanderous term, rather; Mr. Preston took the issue as an opportunity to put the spotlight on himself.  Whatever.  Its marketing.  That comes as to no surprise there and well, Hatchette needs a poster child.

What’s funny?  The ‘open letter to Amazon’ is classified as an ‘ad’, paid for and brought to you by a small handful of authors who signed the thing.  Now tell me that mess wasn’t for the attention?  This is nothing but a smear campaign against Amazon.

I wonder what will happen next that will leave me breathless from laughter.

That concludes this episode of  ‘As The Literary World Turns’

Cue theme music:

 

Caught in the Crossfire: Writers Waging War

Caught in the Crossfire: Writers Waging War.

I’ve been wracking my brain all damned day about the new dramatics facing Amazon.  The more I research indie publishing versus legacy publishing, the more inclined I am to urge fledgling authors to consider publishing independently.  I also advise all authors to follow Barry Eisler, one of the most respected traditional to indie published authors I know.

I met Barry on Myspace roughly ten years ago.  At the time, I didn’t know who he was-I was just networking and ran across him by chance.  I was shocked to find that this NYT Bestseller actually talked openly and directly to me-not something that had ever happened to me before.  It was nice, too-talking to a real live human and not a cursory exchange that I would otherwise expect from a famed author.

After I started speaking with him on occasion about writing, I was more inclined to buy his books.  After I bought and read his books (The John Rain series), I began following his work.  I lost my internet connection, began writing my own novels, and eventually lost touch as Myspace was bought out by Facebook and morphed into the mess that it is now.  I found Barry’s page and sent him a friend request years later (sadly, though he was already at his limit, damnable Facebook).  I started following his page, and that’s when I learned that he regained the rights back to his books and republished them independently.

Why would a big name like Eisler, a man whose book was made into a movie starring Gary Oldman bug out like that!?  *gasp* Gary. Oldman.  Let that sink in for a minute.

His reasons are quite simple: He didn’t like his hard work morphed into something he hadn’t intended it to be.  He didn’t want to ‘suckle at the teat’ as a lot of these big named authors have.

I remember when I first wrote my novel, I dreamed of having it published by one of the major houses-Random House, S&S, etc.  Like a lot of authors, I dreamed of book signings, being discovered, going on tours, and scheduling readings all over the world.  I dreamed of starring as an extra in one of the adaptations.  At first, I’d send out manuscript after manuscript, query after query.  I would wait months sometimes with no answer.  If I did get an answer, it was a rejection.  One of the worst feelings and discouraging facts of trying to go legacy with your novel is the waiting-but there’s more than just waiting involved.

A. Your manuscript has to be sent in through a literary agent (boo, unsolicited manuscripts).

B. You have to have what’s called a ‘platform’.  If you don’t have one of these, you’re screwed.  No one wants to publish someone who hasn’t published before.  So you bust your tail to try to get published, but since you haven’t been published, you can’t be published.  Whaaaa?

C. You have to know someone.  Gotta love those friends in high places.  How do we get those?  Well, money helps and so does busting your ass sucking up to the right people who will probably see right through your intentions.  Who wants to compromise their integrity to get ahead?  There is too much of that in the world already, why force intellectuals to do it?

D. Your submission should be an exclusive one.  This means you have to wait until you are rejected by one publisher before you can move on to the next.  Try and wait four years to hear back from agents or publishers, and then tell me how fair that is.  People complain about Amazon’s exclusivity?  Amazon is nothing compared to traditional publishers on that front.

Life is short and I will reference a common idiom of one of the great and powerful memes of internetland:

Amazon put the power in our collective hands and like a great literary messiah said, ‘Come forth!  Be fruitful and multiply!’ and thus we have.

What do legacy publishers have that Amazon doesn’t?  Well…our respect for starters.  The constant rejections are a kick in the pants, to say the least.  My respect has diminished due to the incessant capitalistic entitlement complexes and whining from legacy clientele pissing on business practices that are beyond their control.  Amazon cannot be dictated other than by those who make the rules in that particular business, much like no one can tell me how to run my own business.  I’m willing to take suggestions and I’m willing to work with the authors and help them out, but I’m not about ready to cave to demands.  Especially when the client is being underhanded and shifty.

As I had stated in the commentary on Christina Rozelle’s post-follow the link above. “It would be like K-mart bitching about how Walmart’s everyday low prices and convenience/business practices are impeding on their ability to sustain their own clientele. JFC…” I strongly urge you all to follow Christina Rozelle’s work and her blog.  She is positively brilliant and such a breath of fresh air!

Back to the topic at hand pertaining to James Patterson’s ‘rant’; I couldn’t help but feel a bit infuriated at the God complex that Patterson clearly displayed on CNN.  What makes him better than myself or other indie authors who pour their soul into their work?  Money? Success?  NYT Bestsellers?  Sure, I’ll give him that.  But does he display the same brand of camaraderie with fellow authors as I’ve seen in my experiences with indies?  I have seen more support, love, and respect from my independent peers than I could ever hope to have with the big named authors.  Why?  Well, considering Patterson voiced his concern about ‘quality versus quantity’ when it comes to Amazon, I believe that he thinks little of independent authors.  I am not saying that all notable NYT bestsellers believe this, rather; I think they should stop and think about how they felt when they first started.  How hard was it for them to break into print?  How long did they have to wait?  If Amazon was around when they first began, wouldn’t they want to take advantage of having full control of their writing and have the opportunity to publish their work without the stringent guidelines that legacy publishers put into play? Maybe they’re jealous of the freedom that indies have?  Maybe they resent the royalties we get from Amazon.  Sure, we have to work harder, foot the bill ourselves, sometimes put more into the book than what we earn- but our work is ours and will forever belong to us.  Most importantly, our work won’t be the property of a conglomerate or other entity who holds the puppet strings.

Literature is literature, and readers have such a broad spectrum of tastes that they grow tired of the same ol’ schematics in writing.  They crave their favorite authors, sure, but they also crave the unexpected.  What better way to give the readers what they want than to give them the opportunity to read the works that would have otherwise spent eternity rotting in a slush pile somewhere.

You know, if the traditional publishers hired readers to go through the slush pile and focused their energies on the turnaround, they wouldn’t have this problem.  If legacy publishers didn’t sign authors and make them wait two years for their work to see the light of day (if it ever does) they wouldn’t have this problem.  If legacy publishers gave their authors higher royalties and paid them more often than twice a year, they may not be in the position they’re in.  Indie authors would hold out for them,  knowing that they wouldn’t have to wait months for a response.  Worse yet, not receiving a response at all because our hard work was pitched into the trash along with the SASE because the agent or publisher was far too busy placating their money machines to give some of us a chance.

Legacy publishers: you made your bed, now sleep in it.  Get off that gilded little throne you made and actually prove yourself worthy of our consideration, because we have options now!  Amazon has our back because they gave us the opportunity that you never did.  If you’re as great as you have claimed to be all these years, prove it by stepping up your game instead of having your authors sit on the sidelines, sign a petition, and bitch.  Swim or get out of the freaking pool.

I Rejected Myself: An Author’s Guide to Submission Etiquette

I’ve been working with Miracle E-zine for a little over a year and a half now and I have been so honored by the privilege.  As a strong supporter of multicultural literature, I’ve found that this magazine represents everything that I hold dear in the literary world.  From the introduction of new authors from all around the globe to incorporating the works of seasoned authors who provide interesting and engrossing narrations; Miracle E-zine is constantly in a state of growth.  Through the past year, they have grown into a powerhouse that has remained true to their initial convictions: to provide quality literature to readers around the world and to support international authors and writers.   With the publication of Miracle E-zine’s 8th issue: The Joker Edition (now available in print), Issue 9 is also now available), I was shocked to find that a disgruntled author had posted an unsavory comment upon the magazine’s Facebook page.  Although this would be the first time in my knowledge that the magazine had to endure hostility from a rejected author, I can’t help but notice a growing trend within the writing community:  A lack of decency, graciousness, and etiquette regarding submissions.

If you call yourself an author, you are also calling yourself a professional and in that respect, you must play the part.  Just because you work at home, you submit online, and you don’t have face-to-face contact with a publisher or magazine doesn’t mean that you can abstain from polite conduct.  Sure, we all cringe at the idea of receiving a rejection letter.  I have a whole stack of them myself in my filing cabinet.  Rejection is hard to swallow sometimes, especially if you’re a new author.  It can be discouraging but it’s not the end of the world.

As writers, we take pride in our work and the majority of authors that I know are sensitive by nature.  When they say ‘You need a thick skin for this line of work,’ they’re not kidding.   Compared to the trolls sitting along the sidelines waiting for the opportunity to bash a published author in reviews (another topic I will brush upon next week), rejection letters are a cakewalk.   Rejection letters come from professional editors and publishers.  The publications have specific guidelines they must adhere to in order to preserve the brand in which they are representing.  Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the quality of an author’s writing-sometimes it just doesn’t fit with the theme.   Another consideration an author should keep in mind is that publications also have a limit on how many works can be accepted for a particular issue.  The important thing to remember is to keep trying and do not rely solely on one piece of writing.  If your submission does not work for this particular publication, try another.  Instead of ridiculing the magazine for being so daft as to not publish your work, ask for feedback.  For instance, Miracle offers a writing group for emerging writers. This group assists in the cultivation of an author’s skill.  With knowledge comes a level of power and skill that you can use to your advantage to improve your writing.  The more involved you become within the industry, the more opportunities will present themselves.

Not every piece of writing is worthy of publication.  There, I said it.  Remember, I am an author as well and I have pieces that will never fit anywhere in any publication.  I have short stories that are mangled, some that make no sense.  I have others that are fun to read but do not fit with a particular theme.   I have others I wrote just for the fun of it.  Not everything deserves worldwide recognition or is print-worthy.

I’ve been working on a collection of poetry, prose, and short stories titled ‘Irony, Karma, and Fate Walk Into A Bar’ for the better part of four years now and there are pieces in that collection I’m about ready to give the boot.  Why?  Well, for starters some of the writing does not adhere to the underlying theme of the collection.  Other pieces, to me, lack the level of quality I’m striving for.  In essence, I’m rejecting myself.   After deliberating upon what it means to be rejected (initiated by the aforementioned disgruntled author), I started considering my current manuscript.   Then I thought about other authors and began to question what compels them to submit their work.  I would like all authors to ask themselves this:  ‘Am I submitting this/including this just to get published or am I submitting/including this because I know for a fact that this is my best work?  Can I do better?  Is it of the same level of quality that this publication usually publishes?’  I take pride in my work and so should you.  Submissions are not to be taken lightly or just whipped out and then expect more than what we are worth.  If we submit unworthy writing, we will receive a polite response in return. No matter what, it will be polite.  If its not, do you really want to work with a rude publisher?  Didn’t think so.

Sadly enough, however; no matter how many letters of acceptance an author can receive, no matter how much experience or how large of a platform an author can work from, it does not detract from the unprofessional attitude that one exudes when one resorts to petty hostility.  Your behavior is a direct reflection upon your work and it also prohibits you from submitting to the publication again if you choose to behave in such a fashion.   Contrary to that angry voice in your head that is spewing vehemence-the ‘I’ll show you’ voice that initiates the CAPSLOCK rage, your negativity does not reflect poorly upon the publication.  In fact, it does the exact opposite and reflects upon your incompetence as a professional.

Considering the onslaught of negative feedback and cyber bullying that authors have fallen prey to as of late, I feel the need to point out the obvious.  What we teach our children and what we have learned as children when it comes to the importance of common courtesy and etiquette should not diminish as we age.   If you build your platform upon a string of derogatory comments in retaliation to being rejected, chances are that you are going to eventually develop a platform based solely on that.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with submissions and rejection.

  • Please and Thank You.  Yes, I am referring to what we teach toddlers when we hand them a toy they want.  Before we hand it to them, we prompt them to say ‘May I please have that?’ and when we put the toy in their hands we then prompt a ‘Thank-you’.  This is me prompting you when it comes to corresponding with publishers.  ‘Would you be so kind as to consider my manuscript for your publication?  Thank you for your consideration’.  Does that seem difficult?  Publishers get hundreds, even thousands of submissions a year.  Showing an amount of graciousness for the time it takes to consider your work is very much appreciated by the publisher.  Time is of the essence in that line of work.   It also shows them that you know what you’re doing.  Graciousness can keep you out of the slush pile.
  • Stay Positive.  I realize how tempted you may be to tear someone a new one for having the audacity to reject your work.  After all, you’ve spent countless hours on it and you pride yourself on your work.  You believe in it, so why shouldn’t everyone else? Publishing doesn’t work like that.  Refrain from being negative because eventually that negativity will reflect within your writing.  You’ll focus more upon the publication portion of writing and neglect the soul of the writing.  Write out a list of goals you want to achieve in your writing career and check them off as you go along.  Eventually you’ll make it.  With this line of work it takes a lot of dedication and love of writing to succeed.  It also takes a lot of time, so don’t quit your day job just yet.

I read a book by Noah Lukeman  based upon some of the questions he received on being a literary agent.  ‘Ask a Literary Agent (Year One) is a brilliant book that everyone should take a look at before they start submitting their work.  If you can’t find it on Amazon, check out the website.   I received it free via Amazon a few years ago and I found the information within it invaluable.  Mr. Lukeman has also put out a number of books pertaining to writing and the craft that you may want to check out as well.

  • Research. What a lot of writers neglect to do is research their market. In order to be the best writer you can be, you need to be in a constant state of learning.  By that I mean, you must know the ropes in the literary world as well as have the capacity to write well.  Sounds like an awful lot, doesn’t it?  When I first started submitting my work back in high school, I didn’t realize how very difficult it was.  I didn’t realize how much I needed to know.   Most people want to skip all the trivial things like market research and go right into submission.  I mean, it took so long to write the story, right?  All that time editing the piece and making it shine, the beta readers, and everything else?  Now…what?  Now I have to study the market?  Go to…*gulp* the website and find out what these publications accept and what they reject?  If I’m unfamiliar with the work they accept I should…*bigger gulp*…get a few copies of the books or issues they publish and read them?    That’s exactly what I’m saying.  The more you know, the better equipped you will be.  If you study the market, you will know exactly what a particular publisher will and will not accept.  From there, you refine your writing or seek out a different publisher.  If you’re still rejected, chances are the publishers are bogged down with submissions or its just not right for the publication.  Worst case is that its one of those pieces of writing that just wasn’t meant to be published.  Maybe it does have publication potential and your timing is just horrible.  Sometimes there are manuscripts that go years without being accepted.  Sometimes timing is the reason why you’re rejected.
  • If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…this goes without saying.  Really.  The moment we witness someone acting out of line we point it out.   Remember that one lady at the checkout line throwing a fit over the price of a can of soup the other day?  Do you remember rolling your eyes at her and thinking to yourself ‘Wow, chill.  Just get a different brand…”  Isn’t it funny that the moment when we start acting out is when we throw that courtesy to the wind and allow our own emotions to take over?   I’m even guilty of it.  There have been times when I was so upset or so disappointed in how a situation played out that I opened my mouth and made the situation worse because of it.  When I calmed down and reflected upon the situation, I imagine how much better I could have taken it.  Hindsight is 20/20, though and I have learned a lot throughout the years, especially how to handle myself when it comes to rejection.  When it comes to our professional careers, we have to keep that temper and our mouths in check.  We also have to keep in mind that the world doesn’t owe us anything, that each publication we make it into is an honor and should be celebrated.  Each rejection should be celebrated as well.  It takes an awful lot to pick yourself up, dust off, and keep going.  Some authors can’t see past that first rejection letter to the opportunities that lay ahead.  Those opportunities include the chance to grow as a professional, the chance to exceed as an author, and the joy that one receives when a story is finally accepted.  Its really disheartening to see an author take rejection so badly that they up and quit doing what they love.  If you write to be published, you’re writing for the wrong reasons.

Don’t view rejection as the end of the world or the end of your writing career.  Don’t think that the publisher is out to get you and is purposefully taking a jab at you by not including your work in their magazine or publication.  Take a look at The Writer’s Market and you’ll see that there are thousands of publications, even more so now considering how many e-zines that have surfaced through recent years.  If one publication rejects you, keep submitting.  According to Noah Lukeman, on average one should be submitting work to at least fifty publications at a time.  It’s exhausting, sure, but worth it in the end.  There may or may not be a place in this world for your submission-it’s honestly a gamble.  If you have a solid manuscript, if you behave in a manner that is both professional and courteous, then you will have a stronger hand in the industry.

Also, don’t be afraid to reject yourself.  If you’re unsure about your own work, chances are you’ll receive the same response from a publisher.