All writers, especially first-time writers, struggle mightily with self-doubt. Believe me, I know. Even though, so far, I’ve stuck a mere toe in the turbulent waters of submission and rejection, I have experienced the wild mood swings many authors feel regarding their own work. Sometimes I think my manuscript is pretty darn good. Other times (maybe even later that same day) I think it’s hopelessly awful.
Have you ever felt like giving up on writing? Successful author Duffy Brown (Dianne Castell) knows the feeling. Her success has come by good writing and perseverance.
Duffy began her writing career in the romance genre. As a USA Today bestselling author, she wrote for Kensington and Harlequin, won a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, a HOLT-Medallion Award, was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine, and was included in Rhapsody Book Club, Doubleday Book Club, and the Waldenbooks Bestseller list.
Then Duffy turned to writing cozy mysteries for Berkeley Prime Crime. Good decision. Her mystery, Iced Chiffon, first in the Consignment Shop series, was nominated for an Agatha Award (Best First Novel). The tale, set in Savannah, features an engaging heroine, a satisfyingly twisty plot, and pots of southern charm. The second book in the series, Killer in Crinolines, is now out (May 2013). Check out Duffy’s web site: www.duffybrown.com, and look for her books on Amazon. Thanks, Duffy for graciously sharing your encouragement and much-needed advice for unpublished authors.
Duffy Brown’s “Never Give Up” Game Plan To Getting Published
Self-publishing is a great way to get your work out there, no doubt about it, but it’s not for everyone. With all the articles out there on self-pub this is my two cents on getting published with a traditional publishing house.
The best way to guarantee you’ll never get published is to not send out your work…and keep sending it out and keep sending it out. I am amazed how many writers write their story and have no idea where they are going to submit it. You need to write something that is salable, something the publisher wants. You need to do homework, see which publishers publish the sort of stories you want to write then send them your work. It’ll never get published sitting in the drawer.
Okay, I know this is a lot easier in theory than practice because there’s a chance you’ll get the much dreaded rejection letter and that really hurts.
Because this reject cycle totally sucks and really got me down when I was breaking into the writing scene, I finally learned a little trick to survive…have two projects “out” at all times. This way if one house rejected my work I still have hope. Hope really counts! Often I had two different projects out at the same time.
Always submit to more than one publisher at a time. Multi-submissions are the only way to survive in a business where waiting a year for a reply is commonplace.
But watch out! Just don’t send your cherished work off to any editor at a publishing house because the chances are good that all your future submissions will go to that editor no matter which editor you address your work to. Yes, publishing houses keep track of who submits and what they submit. This keeps you from resubmitting the same material to different editors at the same house. So, if you choose a bad editor you are screwed because she/he will keep getting your work!
Now the question is, how to find the “right” editor? Ask around. Find online writer chats, loops, blogs and ask which editor at a publishing house likes the sort of thing you’re writing.
Another thing about those reject letters, not all are bad even if they feel that way. Here’s the difference. Most are form letters. But sometimes an editor adds a personal line or two about your work like…I hate this story except for the setting. Nice setting. Wow, now this is a good rejection letter and you’ve hit gold because this editor is interested in you. He/she wouldn’t have taken time to write to you if not truly interested in your work. On the other hand, if you submit two projects to an editor and keep getting the form reject letter, this editor is not into you. Submit elsewhere.
Using this more than one project out method of getting published really worked for me in that it kept my spirits up. This is a big part of getting published. It’s way too easy to start doubting your work and yourself, and you should know this reject thing happens even after you’re published. Not all your projects are going to get snapped up. Always have two ideas cooking so if one idea gets shot down by your editor you can always say, “okay, you don’t like that but what about this.”
Better yet, once published, always try to be published at two houses. That way if you get killed at one house, the other is your safety net.
These are my survival tricks. What are yours? How do you keep from just throwing in the towel…or computer…and giving up? Talk to your friends? Cry? Have a whine party with wine? Let me know and I’ll draw two names from the replies and send you Killer in Crinoline tote bags.
Hugs and happy submitting, Duffy Brown
Killer In Crinolines from Berkley Prime Crime www.DuffyBrown.com