Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why You May Not be Published


Serious wanna-be-published-more-than-anything writers must look at the quest for publication like they are  unemployed looking for a job. This article taken from US News & World Report is modified only slightly to meet your current publishing needs.

7 Unknown Reasons You’re not Getting Hired Published
1. You have unreasonable expectations. Everybody wants the perfect job agent, publisher, editor, spouse, car, home, vacation condo, body shape, whatever. But if your criteria are too high, if you're being too demanding, you may well remain unemployed unpublished. Nobody wants to be told to compromise, but the fact is that much of life involves just that, at least temporarily. Analyze your wants and needs. Which are must haves? Which are negotiable? Which can be put on hold?
2. You're relying too much on one search technique. Maybe you are only applying online sending out the same query to everyone, or only networking polishing without submitting or only using employment agencies  submitting to the top six, or only approaching companies agents that you know are hiring accepting submissions. Don't limit yourself to just one job agent/editor search method. Try them all. Cast a wide net, continue to build your connections, get creative.
3. You use the word "I" too often in your cover letter. The most effective way to endear yourself to potential employers  publishers is to put the focus more on them than on you. Show you've done your homework and understand what your target companies kind of books they are publishing. Then tell them how you can fill those needs.
4. You are not demonstrating long-term potential. We get caught up in the moment. We need a job to be offered a contract now. But employers agents and publishers, the good ones at least, tend to think long term. They want to know not only how you will contribute what you have written now but what you’ll be writing in the future, too. That "Where do you see yourself in five years?"  "What's your genre and what else have you got?" question is not just for drill. They really want to know.
5. You are unknowingly repeating mistakes. After interviews rejections, are you taking the time to review and analyze them? Many times the reason you don't get a job  a contract is beyond your control, and, in fact, has nothing to do with you, but not always. Trying to understand why the answer was "No" may help you to fine tune your approach.
6. You have not rehearsed no pitch or promotion plan. You may hesitate to rehearse answers to the most common questions. You don't want to sound canned. You want to be yourself. But consider the benefits of creating great answers to those questions you hear the most (what’s your book about? What makes it different from all the rest? Who's your demographic? How will you promote?)--short, vivid, three-sentence answers brimming with examples and facts--and practicing them until you can speak with conviction and confidence.
7. You put your job search writing on hold while waiting to hear back. Don't we all fall into this trap at one time or another? You've had a super couple of interviews emails with your dream employer agent. You just know you're going to get "the call" any day now. You think, I'm going to hold off until I hear back; after all, I deserve a little break. Well, no doubt you do deserve a little break--but don't. Keep on networking writing, applying submitting, interviewing attending writer conferences and researching agents & publishers until you have a firm job contract offer in hand.
Looking for work a publisher is an enormous project. In many ways it's more difficult, and takes more energy, than even the most demanding job writing the damn novel. So, in the midst of it all, find a way to nurture yourself. Keep on fine tuning and strengthening your approach manuscript. And hang in there.
With thanks and apologies (please don’t sue me) to:
Karen Burns is the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, recently released by Running Press. She blogs at www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com

47 comments:

  1. Clever way to do that! You covered the issues well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my...weird how it works like that! Perfect.

    ~JD

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ha! I love how you modified that. It makes perfect sense in its new form!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great article adaption! I was nodding my head from beginning to end as I read.

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOL, I LOVE it!!! Yes, it definitely applies, and I will have to remember these.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like how you changed this to suit writers - well done! (and the "don't sue me" line made me laugh)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very clever indeed. It sure works for writers as well as job seekers.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's very funny! It makes SO much more sense edited like that ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Those reasons are so true. I think that we need to realize that it's not easy to get published and that we have to set realistic expectations. CD

    ReplyDelete
  10. In between the hilarious editing, some very wise words!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very creative, and very true!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How clever to spot how well it suits writers! Haha - love it, Karen!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Interesting to read with the alterations, and what a clever way to share great advice.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh wow!!

    This is great - and makes so much more sense this way.

    :-)

    Thank you!
    take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  15. That was a great idea. I think I may need to take heed ...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Karen probably won't sue!

    This is all excellent. Glad you thought of this clever way to give us this info.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Melinda GardinerMay 17, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Wow! LOVED this post. I needed a good prod to get back to my damn writing.

    I do have one question for you. Item five talks about reviewing mistakes after a rejection. Would you say it's ok to contact a publisher after a rejection for feedback, or is that just tacky?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very clever--and so applicable! I would add to the 'technique one' that people could add publishing short stories, or other routes to get some publishing credits while they are in progress... Yes, we need the agent/contract, but there is a lot of ground we can cover before that that improves chances...

    ReplyDelete
  19. You clever woman... brilliant and true!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Melinda, There are ways to "review" a rejection. For instance, a form rejection means that they probably didn't get past your query, or cover letter or the first paragraph of your ms. One that's a bit more personalized means you made progress. One that says something to the effect of "nice writing but this isn't our genre" is encouraging but also means you should have checked the submissions guidelines more carefully.

    As to your question about asking for feedback, if you write a very polite email requesting it, "if at all possible, I'd really appreciate just a crumb of information that might help me next time" then you very possibly you will get a gentle, helpful response.

    Watery Tart, great point! Any publishing credits will make you more appealing since it shows you are looking at this as a career and that you are gaining experience as you go.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Loved this! So creative! Thanks for posting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. That is fantastic! And funny! Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. After 23 years spent hiring people for a living, I agree 100%, no, make that 500% with this article, both before and after edits. Wonderful! And so very true.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for advice on writing that damn novel and submitting it correctly! Very funny. I laughed the whole way through. During a down time, I may have to refer back to this post.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I absolutely loved this. Thanks!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great post. Awesome way to cover this. Thanks so much. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. That's great advice! Nicely done :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Very cool post, Karen! It all made sense. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Brilliant! Now if only some of those didn't hit so close to home... Ha, ha.

    Happy Monday. Karen! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  31. #7 is a great one. I'm using querying time on Book #1 to pound out the first draft of Book #2. It's tempting to take a break, but I won't let myself.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Karen, I passed along an award to you today.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great parallels! So much of writing is truly business, and this really highlights that fact.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I loved this! I came over from Amy Jo's blog and BTW, you're at 219 now :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Ooh, I like your blog! I'll be back to read some more. Thanks for following mine. I was coming to tell you I have an award for you, but I see you already have the One Lovely Blog award. Oh, well! I'm still giving it to you, as a thank you for following my blog:
    http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/2010/04/about-blog-awards.html

    ReplyDelete
  36. haha brilliant!! loved this :D

    ReplyDelete
  37. One of the best posts I've ever read. Genius.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Excellent post! Love this list. It's spot on!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi! I come from Julie Musil's link to this post. Great one by the way! Excellent advice, although I'd disagree on the job/employer approach.

    I'd rather see the publisher/agent as a business partner. (Why do I hear some laugher? Go ahead, heh, just my opinion. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  40. What a great post! I especially love #7. I'm constantly telling people to keep writing, don't wait to hear back. If I had waited I never would have written the book that I now have representation for!

    ReplyDelete