Fame, Fortune, and Glory: Convoluted Intents of Writing

So you imagined yourself as the future Stephen King. Isn’t it funny how that name is synonymous with fame? Whenever I hear of anyone who is an aspiring author, writer, poet, etc talk…they always reference Stephen King. Not Dean Koontz, not Heinlein, V. C. Andrews, Terry Pratchett, Orson Scott Card, Anne Rice, Arthur Golden, Norah Roberts, freaking Shakespeare, nope. It’s always Stephen King.

Have you seen how many authors are out there? I took a few minutes to peruse my likes on my Facebook page, I’ve watched the threads on various writing groups. Isn’t it really intimidating how so many people have reached out and harnessed the English language? Doesn’t seem like there’s much of the capital pot to go around these days when everyone is trying to get their slice.

Remember the days of traditional publishing? When we’d send out our query letters, and wait months for a response? Remember signing up for workshops, reading every book on writing and the craft that we could get our hands on? Remember that?

Oh my goodness, how much time and energy I put into practicing the fine art of writing and cultivating beautifully intrinsic sentences and clever turns of phrase. Oh, my content is so original, it sings to the rafters where the angels play their harps and shine down that beacon of hope that envelops every fiber of my being and oh how majestic it will all be when suddenly I’ll be discovered and millions of wads of hundred dollar bills will rain down upon me like Charlie Sheen’s Ice Water Challenge video. But I’m getting carried away here (as was the previous run-on sentence.) …pardon the sarcasm…

When you stop and think about how many writers are out there trying to make a living doing what they love; building reputations on sites such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the hoard of writer’s groups, can feel so daunting and irrevocably heartbreaking. Let me count the ways I’ve daydreamed of my success. I dreamed about it since I was a wee little authorling plucking away at a yarn I’d thread through my typewriter into the wee hours of the night, much like how I operate now that I’m approaching the first stages of my fossilization. Okay, so I’m not that old, but sometimes I feel older than I am. I think it’s when reality hit me like a cast iron pan to the back of my head. Even now, I can hear that dulcet tone of the crack and the reverb of the metal. My ideals and expectations were so bloody convoluted, I began second guessing myself and became so unbelievably butthurt over my rejection letters, that I felt that I had received ‘Life’s Seriously Bad Hand.’


Oh puh-lease! Success is going to simply fall into my lap! The angels said so!  You know, the ones with the harps singing their chorus of my awesome! This cannot be so! It mustn’t! I was destined for fame, fortune, and glory! How could these literary agents and publishers squelch my dreams like that!?

Umm…no.

Seriously, that’s not how it works.


As writers, we all start off somewhere, right? Rock bottom. The novice. Think of it in terms of video games. If you’re just learning the ropes and haven’t gone through the educational tutorial or the practice, advancing into the Literary God mode right off the bat will end up causing you to fall right on your tail.

There are some who expect, and they’re serious about it, too-that an agent will respond with a glorious letter of acceptance, showering their work with praise even though the author hadn’t studied up on the market or even bothered to peruse their websites. There are writers out there who will think that it will only take a handful of rejection letters before they start raking in millions upon millions of dollars. They imagine themselves being extras in the cinematic adaptation. They imagine interviews on Conan, Larry King, Ellen, and reputable literary journals. Huffpost will take special interest in them. So will BuzzFeed and Upworthy. They believe that they will travel the world and people on the street will stop just to take a picture with them and ask for an autograph. If the author is a male, a fresh set of breasts will be exposed to him once a day so he can autograph them. They think they will write by candlelight and the first draft is absolutely flawless; they’re so good they don’t need an editor. The epic masterpiece they create will be coveted by millions to where they can no longer sustain the humble demeanor and have to *gulp* sell out and make profit for *gulp* products based on their book.

Oh, and forget about education and reading to improve writing skills. Who has time for that when that time could be spent writing a literary masterpiece-a timeless contribution to the literary world and humanity as a whole!? You can hold a pen in your hand and write your way out of life’s biggest issues. Your writing inspires and will be adored and studied in great depth in major universities across the country…no….the world!

Don’t listen to me, though.  Listen to Peter Dinklage.  Although he’s an actor, he’s also a creative mind who dreamed big and worked his tail off.  If we can dream it, we can be it, but don’t become so convoluted in your ideas that you forget to work.

Yes, I realize I’m laying the on sarcasm thicker than the entirety of the online yellow pages in print form. I’m a horrible person for doing that. Please excuse.

But no, I’m not sorry because it’s true.

Yes, you heard me. It’s true! When I first started out, I was convinced that this was my reality. Okay not to the degree of sarcasm I laid out, but pretty damned close. That was almost twenty years ago, though. I was still a high school kid.

Suddenly reality strikes while I’m earning my BFA. It was in my creative writing class. Now mind you, I’ve taken about five creative writing courses throughout my years in college. Yep five. Two more if you include the ones I did back in high school. I loved the classes so much, I kept on repeating them because I love to write…that much. What I loved most about the last one I took before I graduated college was that it challenged me to go beyond my standard genres. I had to bend and origami my way into writing assignments I wasn’t accustomed to. It was challenging and quite humbling. As a writer, I’m always learning and always growing. I’m going to go ahead and quote myself here from a poem I wrote for mycollegepal.com, which was the most emailed article on the site for two consecutive years thus far and still remains one of the most popular. It’s also included in my forthcoming collection of poetry, ‘Chasing The Red’, which is due out….well…soon.

“After a while, you begin to laugh at the naiveté of youth; for those who are young believe that they know everything, but those older believe that there is still so much more to learn. Those who are young tend to look for what is easy, at least in some ways. Those older know that nothing worth having ever comes easy, and if it does come easy, it is not worth having.”

Remember that Stephen King guy that we all know and love? Yep, the one I mentioned earlier. I’m sure a lot of you remember how he got his first big break with Carrie, right? Plucking away at an old typewriter in his laundry room if I’m not mistaken. No one had even heard of him back then and then WHAM, he took a chance and sent it out. I think the biggest discouragement that a lot of authors have is that they won’t take the risk and submit. Or if they do submit, they give up far too easily.  Keep writing, keep submitting, even if you decide to go indie.  There are so many other publishing opportunities out there for poetry, short stories, articles and the like that a single novel isn’t (and shouldn’t) be the end-all, be-all in your writing career.  Take the opportunity to submit to publications such as Oddball Press, Miracle E-zine, Nostrovia Poetry, and Vending Machine Press.  There are so many others as well, you just need to get up and find them.

With the Amazon-Hatchette nonsense, I don’t blame anyone for opting to go indie. I’m a huge supporter of independent publishing and often find myself backing up indies far more than the standard ‘signed’ authors who get all the fame and glory. These authors seem, from a fledgeling author’s perspective, to have everything thrown into their laps.  Meanwhile, the rest of us sit here and slave away at our computers, bleeding words like we are going toe-to-toe with Vlad The Impaler


Okay, Let’s face it, kiddos-writing is hard work and I mean hard work. I try to warn people that it takes a lot more than plucking away 50.000 words in November to create a finished product. There are drafts. More drafts. Oh look, yet another draft! There are hours upon hours of note taking to make sure that the characters are consistent. There is murdering your precious little prose children that you gave birth to and fell in love with, but give absolutely no substance to the story. There’s the overuse of description here and the holes within the story that need to be filled there.  There’s the description of what people look like that don’t involve cliches (or mirrors, for that matter).  There’s that funny remark you heard the other day and decided upon a whim to include it in your story even though it sticks out like a sore thumb. Then there are the run-on sentences that go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and begin to not just run, but cartwheel, skip, jump, frolic, and do somersaults across the page with your clever and highly witty literary acrobatics. (Heh, see? I did it again! Take a breath and now read that sentence out loud three times fast 😉 ) So you self-edit and you get that nonsense out of the way. Yes, self-editing sucks. It’s horrible, you hate it, and you just don’t wanna, but you do and you get it all cleaned up. Now the question is, do you either A. Hire a professional editor to look over your work and dissect it so as to avoid trauma from the vultures of literature tearing it apart, or B. Have your best friend take a gander at it because he/she owes you a favor and they seem….smart. Or worse, C. You don’t think you need an editor at all!

I can read between the lines of your prose, dear and your words are weeping. They are sad that you butchered the English language like a Texas massacre. Trust me, you think editors are bad when it comes to the massacre of language, read someone’s book that’s published as a first draft and then you come and talk to me.  Especially if that first draft has a listed price of $9.99 with a string of vicious (yet sadly accurate) negative reviews.

“But Julie, I have beta readers.”

Let me just stop you right there.  Again, beta readers are the readers who happen to catch last minute mistakes, not point out the ones you should have had an editor fix for you.  They are the last eyes that see the book before its published and an opportunity to have a string of reviews up and out.

“But Julie, I can’t afford an editor!”

If you can afford a few hundred for a cover, you can afford an editor.  Most good editors will work with you on pricing and setting up an affordable payment plan.

“Eh, I’ll just do it myself.  I can always hit up Grammarly.”

Did I mention that editors need editors, right?  Even I need help with my own writing because I can’t see my own mistakes, like everyone else.  A fresh set of eyes is fantastic.  A professional set of eyes is your best option.  Now, don’t get me wrong, Grammarly is bloody fantastic.  Its an excellent program and a valuable resource.  However, a machine cannot…I repeat cannot replicate the abilities of human editors.  The day that a machine can improve the quality of writing, tone, voice, and intrinsic emotional detail is the day that we’re all going to be able to tell our stories telepathically.  This would also be the day that Amazon is bought out by Hatchette (heaven forbid).  Remember, your reviews are an extremely important selling point for your book.

This of course leads me to the fact that well, as a writer, you need thick skin. I’m talking so thick you could have a pitbull latch onto your neck and walk pleasantly around with it dangling from your jugular.  Thick skin. You’re going to run into people that will seem highly apathetic to your work. They’ll seem disinterested or wanting a freebie. They’ll ask what your book is about and then nod their head and casually walk away, patting your head thinking ‘Awww, you’re writing a book.  Isn’t that precious?’  There’s also the possibility of running into people who simply don’t care about tact and blatantly shred your hard work.  Every author gets that, even the traditionally published ones.

You’ll want to hit the condescending jerks, but don’t. Instead smile because you can kill them off in your book. Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen of the world:  Authors get a shiny complementary get-out-of-jail-free-card for murder.  *gasp*  (figuratively speaking, of course.  I do not condone the murder of actual people.  Mentally conjured people are fair game.)  Well, at least if you don’t connect the person to the character, you should be golden, but I digress.


Okay, self-editing, editing….formatting. If you’re self-publishing, formatting is going to be a chore. I have spouted not a string of expletives, but a skein of expletives while formatting for Kindle for the first time. It got better as I’ve had more experience, but yeah. Joy. Try doing it yourself and it becomes a clusterfied mess. Most people I know pay to have it done.  This is why I charge for formatting.  From there, its cover design. Unless you’re skilled in photoshop, I suggest hiring someone else to do this and you’re going to need someone who knows what they’re doing. You can’t skimp on the cover; it’s one of the major selling points of your book.  Did I mention it’s expensive?  If you’re going to spend a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on a cover, don’t you think you should put as much into writing your book?

Does this all happen overnight? Sure, it can, but only if you’re willing to skimp out on quality. Are you writing because you want to get rich quick, or are you writing because you have a love of the craft of writing? Do you love literature? How much? Enough to pour your soul into it, swallow your pride, and get down and actually work?

A friend of mine recently had her sci/fi book published, Christina Rozelle’s The Treemakers (which is a fantastic read-still haven’t finished the book because I’ve been working, but thus far LOVING IT!) She spent two years writing, editing, and modifying her little gem. Two years!

Let that sink in a bit…

That’s not even the longest time spent on a novel. Take my debut novel, for instance. Faces In Still Waters was written between 2006 and 2008 between diaper changes and being the proverbial dairy farm to my daughter when she was first born, to chasing her around with a bottle once she learned how fun it was to run away from Mommy. I shoved it away every so often where it would collect dust on my desktop.  I’d then go back with clear eyes to revise it.  I went through five drafts of that novel.  I didn’t have it officially completed and published until November 2013. Writing and being a writer takes patience and endurance. You will bend your mind and exercise your vocabulary in ways you never though you would or could…that’s if you’re doing it right and for the right reasons.

Anyone can slap together a few words and throw it up on Amazon and call oneself a ‘published author’ and expect riches to rain down from the heavens. Those aren’t authors, those are just writers. They are hobbyists who aren’t serious about it and are, unfortunately, cheating the rest of us who pour hours upon hours of work into what we do. The real authors do it because they are passionate about storytelling. They do it to entertain the masses. They do it because they have to, not because they want to. It’s in their souls and part of what makes them who they are. They live and breathe words and see the world differently. They don’t look to get rich, just to write and hopefully build themselves up to their own status-not someone else like Stephen King.  He earned his status on his own path-we need to earn ours by walking our own.


It’s not until we are in the midst of a first project when we realize how much work is required. You can either do a half-assed job, slap it together, call it good, and face the consequences or you can do it right the first time. There’s no rush. If you rush, you’ll miss out on the growth of your characters; your children who won’t stay young forever. They grow and blossom into the people they were meant to become, just like you, but you have to work hard to help them achieve their full potential.  In doing so, you will also be one step further in reaching your own.  Just don’t forget how much you’ve struggled once you’ve succeeded.  The struggle is what gives others hope that they can succeed as well.

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Failing Cain: Author Communication Blunders

Once upon a time, I worked in the service industry. I’ve worked as a cashier at a convenience store where I was asked, repeatedly by very nearly every customer: ‘What is the deal with this weather?’, ‘How about those roads out there?’, ‘Is this snow ever going to end?’, ‘What the hell is the deal with these gas prices?’, ‘How much are your cheapest smokes?’

I’ve also worked as a waitress where I had to spout off the specials at every single table. I had to clean up, assist disgruntled customers, fix  mistakes, and otherwise run myself ragged. I also had to do so with a perma-grin on my face and a pleasant disposition.  I would then have to come home to take care of my family and make a valid attempt to not allow my work to interfere with my home life.

I’ve worked as a blackjack dealer at a casino where the job description loosely entailed ‘making the customer enjoy losing their money’. I love to laugh; I love to joke with people, and I love making people smile-even the ones that grate on my nerves with their incessant, repetitive questions that I heard almost every single day. I ask those same questions sometimes and as they say in grade school “There is no such thing as a stupid question. It’s stupid not to ask the questions.”

When I started Writerz Block almost two years ago, I opted to have a price list listed on my website so clients and potential clients could get an idea of what it would cost to have me edit their work. I still get questions pertaining to my pricing despite that price list. Do I care? Not even the slightest. Why? Because I do the same thing when I’m getting services. Take, for instance, other so-called ‘menial’ jobs like working as a customer service rep for internet service. Yes, I could go to the website, purview the specific packages and price guidelines, sure. However, I also like talking to a human. Yes, we live in a self-sufficient world where all our questions can be answered by the power of Google, but our society has succumbed to the ever-present giant that is the internet where we are now expected to speak with automated machines and do-it-yourself information gathering. Sometimes a bit of human interaction and conversation is what we require, someone to explain things to us-even if it’s the most mundane of topics.

Another thing to consider is humanity’s fundamental need to communicate. From small talk to elaborate conversations, sometimes the most subtle, albeit, annoying conversational starters are the ones we are most comfortable with to break the ice with someone we don’t know or admire. Sure, these questions can go without saying but my God, the thrill of getting a response from someone who you admire? That feeling is indescribable.

As an author and professional editor, I am strapped for time. I do make every attempt to be expedient in my responses, even if they’re merely cursory responses. I try to treat everyone I meet with respect and respond as soon as I can. I maintain an open phone line for anyone who is interested in talking to me and I’m available during the day and late afternoon via phone call or 24/7 through text message. Seriously, don’t be shy. My phone number is right on the blog, just don’t mind the screaming children in the background because I work from home. Screaming children may not be professional, but I make sure I’m available to my clients-that is what is important to me. Paranoid about a single line or subject matter in your manuscript? Give me a holler! I want to get to know my clients and my readers personally because you all are people too. Not only that, I love to jaw jack! (Seriously, I could probably talk your ear off if you let me.)

Yesterday, I was notified via a Facebook post that went mind-numbingly viral. Admittedly, I had never heard of Chelsea Cain nor did I plan on reading any of her books even if she hadn’t disrupted the tranquility of my newsfeed. What I saw was astonishing, especially if one considered that this author is one who is ‘signed’.
Chealsey Cain vent

584 comments, 393 shares, and 513 likes. *blink, blink* 513 people….liked this brand of unprofessional communication?  However; the string of commentary begs to differ. Among the top comments:

Chealsey Cain vent2

Anchorman-well-that-escalated-quickly

Chelsea then countered the post later yesterday evening, which received 321 comments:

Chealsey Cain vent3

“You can tell people they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words – and if you tell them they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds. You may then hurl at them all the logic of a Plato or an Immanuel Kant, but you will not alter their opinions, for you have hurt their feelings.” Dale Carnegie How To Win Friends And Influence People

Many comments were from authors as well as readers. Others were individuals who only just heard about Chelsea Cain and were curious as to what the fuss was all about, such as myself. Taking upon a more objective standpoint on the situation-on one hand you have an author who is complaining that her fans are asking her similar questions as any other individual working with the public. On the other hand, she made a social faux pas by venting on her fan page instead of her personal page. Negative publicity is better than no publicity, and her disgraceful, unprofessional rant certainly bumped up her page views that’s for sure. Alternatively, she may have lost a hoard of readers.

I maintain three Facebook pages myself: Writerz Block, The Writing of J. V. Stanley, and Chronicles of a Really Bad Day. I also have my personal profile that I’ve maintained since my sophomore year in college a zillion years ago. I have befriended many talented writers and other professionals through that profile, but those individuals realize that my personal page is personal. It is me unfiltered. I have a sense of humor, and I have a tendency to rant every so often. My professional pages are just what they are-professional. I will break out my sense of humor every so often, but my core focus is spreading the word of the authors I love, bragging about the books I get to edit (because I get to read them before the general public does-LUCKY ME). I love educating people and honestly, that’s what I aspire to do: teach creative writing at the university level. I could talk writing for hours, and I love helping people so much; I beam with pride whenever I see one of my author friends succeed and when a friend of mine loves a book by one of my favorite indie authors. I love my life-I love my job.

It is imperative to maintain that separation, though. I cannot stress the importance of that enough. Dale Carnegie is one of my favorite authors and a man who enlightened me on the importance of communication and dealing with people. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” This is especially apparent when dealing with authors and readers. Most of the authors that I know are creatures of emotion. I know I am. When intellectuals see someone of prestige behaving in the fashion that Chelsea Cain had, we immediately jump the gun and become extremely offended by it. We conclude that fame and fortune has “…gone to her head”. In this sense, we also have to keep in mind that “The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and the animals.” (Carnegie, How to Win Friends And Influence People) As readers, we want to feel important. Without a readership, the author can’t very well sell any books.

I do not condone Cain’s public behavior in the least. I’d  advise her and everyone who reads this post to pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. Aside from my experiences studying my minor in Communications, I’ve also delved into independent study on interpersonal communication. Believe me, I have learned so much about people and communication and have benefited from it greatly. When I first saw the book in the library, I chuckled to myself thinking about those silly self-help programs and books. I then decided to give it a shot because…well why not? If it can help me prevent arguments and communicate easier, all the better!

I remember at one point I thought I was a brilliant communicator. I mean, I’m a writer; I’m far better at written communication than I am at public speaking.

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What I failed to grasp for many years is the perception of individuals and how I perceived what they perceived-how the tone and choice of words reflected upon others. Sometimes we offend people without realizing we offended them. When people become offended, it’s hard to regain control of the situation because emotions are set to Defcon 1. After Defcon 1, we get to the point where we reach Fencepost status: that no matter what is said, heels are dug in, and the argument becomes fallacious and circular. When both parties are upset, it takes a very brave individual to take a step back and look at the situation objectively, let alone force oneself to apologize for the slight. People in general have a very hard time admitting to wrongdoing, especially when they’re convinced they were right and believed it to be stupid that the other party got offended. So what? Suck it up and apologize. What a lot of people fail to understand is that despite what was said wasn’t intended to be offensive, it was and for that, an apology is warranted. We have become a society of ‘Suck it up and deal with it and if you don’t like it, tough!’ It’s so sad.

A lot of misunderstandings and communications blunders are based on an assumption, which is generally how a lot of people roll. Cain posted something nasty to Facebook and offended a lot of people, so it’s safe to assume that she’s a generally bad person and I don’t want to read her books regardless of her talent or Cain posted something nasty to Facebook and offended a lot of people, on accident, because she was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Perhaps she’s someone like me who doesn’t think she needs a personal assistant of some kind; a Becket to her Rice.

If her statement is correct, that she doesn’t care whether or not her fans like her, then she is committing professional suicide. There are companies out there that pay their lower-end employees at ‘menial’ positions to participate in customer service programs to assist individuals on how to properly communicate with the general public in so that they can better sell the product. Many of these ‘menial’ positions have produced some of the most wonderful customer service experiences I have ever had. McDonalds even has a university to train their employees because the employees reflect upon the business. If the business is faltering due to bad communication skills, chances are the employee will either be retrained or fired. Simple as that. McDonalds wouldn’t dare risk holding onto an employee who gives them a bad name if that employee flat out said ‘I refuse to assist you because assisting you is beneath me’ or something along those lines. We are writers, yes…but we are also running a business either independently or through a publication. Do publishers have a customer service program for their authors? Something tells me no, but perhaps they should. At the very least, they should require authors to read Dale Carnegie.

Selling books is a business. How the public perceives you is a good indicator as to how successful your business is or will be. If you falter in the PR department by showering a public forum your qualms with the marketing aspect of your business, chances are your sales are going to take a nosedive. In the off-chance that you start selling more books, think of yourself as an individual and remember that at one point, you were just a reader wanting to break the ice with your favorite author just to get a response.

I had George Takei like one of my comments before. One of the best days of my life. It was memorable. I had a friend of mine who commented on one of Anne Rice’s posts, and she responded. She gloated and squealed with joy about it for days. When we as readers correspond with authors that we admire, or any celebrity for that matter, it is memorable. We feel important, and that makes us want to continue following them. They have our respect because they have earned it through those tiny gestures. Does Anne Rice have a whole lot of time? I honestly couldn’t say, but she doesn’t respond to everyone, I know that much. The fact that she interacts with her fans, educates them, shares her wealth of knowledge and experience, is what makes it worthwhile being her fan. She not only cares about her craft, she cares about her fans whose devotion and admiration to her work helped her to get to where she is now.

There is so much we could learn from each other if only we took the time, showed compassion, and empathized. Just because we live behind a computer does not give us the right to belittle readers or take them for granted. Thank them, especially for their time and thank them for their questions. If their question is a no-brainer to you, just copy paste a standard answer or don’t answer at all. Have we all learned nothing from elementary school? “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”

Images courtesy of a Google search and personal screen shots.

9/4/14 UPDATE:

Chealsey Cain vent 4

Is it me, or did she paraphrase the deleted post?  *smh*  I cannot help but hope that she would consider reading Dale Carnegie or otherwise work on her interpersonal communications skills.  Either that or have an FAQ on Facebook on a post pinned to the top of the page.  It only takes a few moments and would spare readers from the dramatics.

UPDATE 9/8/14

I learned today who initiated that post and I’m still quite floored.  I’m not at liberty to divulge the name or specifics of the incident but I can point out that a single individual should not cause an author to generalize the group.  Also, due to miscommunication, the author failed to mention the actual question pertained as to whether or not her newest book would be a part of a new series-a legitimate question. 

As of now, all posts pertaining to the incident have been deleted and the author has now created an area on her page for FAQ’s.  I am not entirely sure if her bad publicity stunt was merely just that-a publicity stunt.  Her publisher may applaud her behavior due to the possibility of increasing sales but the fact of the matter is that this author’s actions were out of line and unprofessional.  It is my sincere hope that she has learned from this experience and will either forget the issue or perhaps reflect upon it at a later date when fan distaste has waned and sincerely apologize-and mean it. Regardless, an apology is warranted.  Sadly something tells me that is something her fans and the ones who unliked her page will never see.

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. 

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.