There is an art to hearing no. I’ve posted about it before. But this post will be different. Here area few things I’ve witnessed that are no-noes when you hear no from a publisher or agent:
- Trash them on social media or your blog. (Quick way to get blacklisted, and yes, there is a blacklist.)
- Send them pestering emails to ask them why. (Best to take the no and try elsewhere.)
- Complain about getting rejected online. (Gets you labelled pretty quickly as a whiner. And, yes, I do whine sometimes. Trying to get better about that 🙂 )
- Leave 1-star reviews on books they represent/publish that you haven’t even read. (There’s some debate about writers leaving anything less than a 5-star review, but that’s a different conversation for a different time.)
- Give up. (Remember: It only takes one yes, the RIGHT yes to turn things around.)
Rooting for ya. Keep your pen on the page,
Last Saturday, I attended a writer’s symposium on publishing. The lecturer? Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest fame. Here are a few of things I took away from his lectures, things I haven’t done/been doing/even thought of:
- Build an email list (I used to have one for an e-newsletter, but didn’t realize that places like MailChimp publish your physical address at the end of each newsletter. Yeah, will be getting a P.O. box.)
- Set goals/expectations for your books (re-evaluate as necessary for each book you plan on publishing. Be specific and realistic about what you want.)
- Query 20% max. of agents on your query list at a time (if your query letter stinks, you don’t want to send it out to 100% at once! They all will say no. Agents ALWAYS read the query letter. Give yourself the opportunity to rewrite.)
- Be specific. Avoid generalities about your plot and characters when pitching your book. (This should be obvious, but I’m guilty.)
- If you do the comp. title thing, don’t compare your book to: anything overseas (no Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), any A-list books (as in Harry Potter; aim for the middle), anything older than ten years.
Mr. Sambuchino is an engaging speaker, filling his talk with real-life examples. Also, after getting to have lunch with him and my friends, he showed himself to be personable and nice. That’s important: People will be more likely to forge connections/buy your books if you’re nice. A meanie? That’s an instant turn-off.
Main takeaway: Don’t be above your audience. Remember: No matter how high you climb, they are still your customers, your patrons. And you are only ever one wrong tweet or viral Facebook post from being shunned.
Give the help you wanted to receive when you were where they are. You might just be helping the next great 21st-century author 😉
Keep your pen on the page,