How do I prepare for rejections after sending out my query letters?
This is a hard career from the beginning. We pour our souls into the characters, giving them life. Our hearts go out to them when our minds have created turmoil. Our tears fall when we lose a character, and our voices shout when the story has taken a positive turn. Celebrations are in order when the manuscript is completed to the best of our ability. Butterflies flutter in our stomach, it’s time become a published author!
When I started researching the publishing process, I read everywhere.
- ‘You’ll be rejected.’
- ‘You will not get published.’
- ‘Don’t feel hurt over rejections, it’s part of the business.’
One of the best books I ever read (and highly recommend) is Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers Editors & Literary Agents 2013. Every couple of years a new version comes out but I read the 2009 edition. He provides an extensive guide to publishers, editors and agents but he also gives amazing advice.
After you’ve completed your manuscript, have an editor go over it, and then it’s time to get down to business. The key word I just said was business! I know you love your book, but the publishing world doesn’t care. Is it going to make money?
If a manuscript doesn’t spark something inside an agent or publisher you’ll get a rejection. How do we handle this?
Rejections aren’t bad. As aspiring authors need to redefine the word. Rejections mean you tried, but you aren’t quite there yet. I was always excited to see an email from an agent or publisher in my email inbox! The rejections were cold and polite but I was worth a response! Think about those writers out there that didn’t get an email rejection? Yes, sometimes the query letters go right into the trash.
I felt very lucky to get my email rejections. That meant people were noticing me, I just had to find one that would be willing to look further than my query letter.
- Practice writing query letters and ask your friends to critic them? Remember, this is a business proposal. Personal thoughts and emotions should stay out of the query.
- Make sure a professional editor goes over your manuscript. It wouldn’t matter how good your query letter was formatted, if there are mistakes in your manuscript it will go in the garbage.
- Join a writer’s group and have them critic your work. This will help prepare you for an agent or publisher’s cold or harsh comments.
- There could be something wrong with your query letter. Triple, quadruple check that you are following all the submission guidelines perfectly.
- Remember, it’s important to have a marketing plan. I asked my publisher why he accepted my manuscript so easily when no one else did. He told me, ‘You didn’t have a marketing plan in your query letter.’ Publishers expect the author to be the main spokesperson of the novel. This is a business; so prepare to be the writer, author, editor, marketer and salesperson!
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