A fan wrote me the other day asking for advice that I might give to give to an aspiring writer who has a burning desire to write, finishes a novel, queries agents and publishers and faces rejection?
For those with an interest, here's my response:
Rejection hurts. No one likes to feel rebuffed. But rejection is a part of this business, and a very necessary part at that. Who wants to plunk down $16.99 for a book only to have it turn out lousy? Publishers have to reject authors because of inferior quality. They have to reject authors because of the needs of their publishing house. And they have to reject authors because of societal trends...the genre du jour, etc.
So rejection is a fact of the industry. But how you respond is what makes the difference. Some authors use rejection as motivation: "I'll show them I can make it." Others use rejection as an opportunity for revision: "Okay, how can I make my manuscript better?" Still others give up. The last option is no option at all. You give up, you have zero chance of being published. If you have a passion to write or even a God-given calling to write, you MUST not give up. If you do, you'll always wonder. If you do, you'll never have peace. You must musT muST mUST MUST keep trying. But try "smart."
1. Look at the trends. What's hot in ? What's selling NOW?
2. Get an agent. Most (95%) of publishers will ignore manuscripts NOT sent by an agent.
3. Put together a team: friends, local English teachers--even professional editors. And have them read your work and critique it.
4. Finally, and in my humble opinion, most importantly: work on your HOOK. By that I mean the first sentence, first paragraph, first page, and first chapter of your manuscript. This is the most important part of the book. You must hook your reader immediately. Editors at publishing houses rarely spend more than a few pages with a manuscript unless it hooks them. You've got 2 minutes of an editor's time. How will you get them to read on? Gradual exposition won't cut it. Think suspense. Arouse curiosity. Draw the reader in from the first line. If you do, you're well on your way to a book deal.
There's my .02 about rejection. What are your thoughts? Authors out there...how did you deal with rejection? Any advice for other writers out there?