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Zombie Quarantine – I’m sick but still workin’ it, cuz writers don’t quit.

I’ve had a cold this week, pretty bad the past two days, and thus, have been basically useless.  Even stayed home from work.  And obviously have not been keeping up with my posts on here.  Sorry 😦

I hadn’t been keeping up with CampNano before this cold hit, mostly because I had other health problems in the form of killer allergies.  With my immune system on overdrive from usual Spring allergy madness, I figured there was no way I’d catch anything.  Hahahahaha, silly me.

So I’m downing tea, and pretty useless for writing on my day home sick, but I have been editing.  “Evie Jones and the Good Luck Fundraiser” is going to a magazine tomorrow (Friday, which is when this will be posted, so let’s say today 🙂 and I’ll probably get rejected again, but that’s a part of the writer’s life, isn’t it?

We send something out and we get rejected.  We send it to magazines and contests for shorts and publishers and agents for books.  We send it to one publisher after the other, while we send other finished works to the people who already rejected the other piece, because you never know when you’ll hit that sweet spot and be just right.

I went to a book signing on Wednesday for Steve Berry (If he goes home with a cold, I swear it wasn’t me, unless it turns him into a zombie, then it was me 🙂  He did a talk beforehand and said he got rejected 85 times over 12 years before a publisher took up his book.

I asked if he took the same few books, revised and sent back out, because that’s what it sounded like and I know publishers don’t like you sending them the same thing over and over again.  This is why your work has to be perfect before you send it out, you really only get one shot.

He said there were 18 publishers in his market at the time.  He sent the first book out to all, then the second, and so on, and just kept collecting rejections, letting the books that’d been rejected by all sit in a drawer.  Until the market opened up to the history intertwined spy type thriller genre again.  He actually did do the unthinkable and submitted a book that’d been rejected before to publishers again, because it’d been like 7 years and the market was better for it then.

And it got accepted.

The moral of the story isn’t send the same thing into a publisher who’s already rejected it, because yeah, they really don’t like that.  It’s to keep trying.  I think it worked for Steve Berry to try the same book again because the market had changed and it’d been so many years that the publishers seeing it again didn’t remember it.  But the books that were rejected in the past as well?  Published once he got his foot in the door with that one book.

Meaning?  Just because it gets rejected doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.  1) You’re submitting to editors, not the public.  The editors may see hundreds of stories in your genre and be sick of them or just not want that type, while readers want more more more.  2) You may be rejected for any number of reasons (hehe), like they have 500 submissions, 50 of which are good, and you’re just not lucky enough to be the 1/50 this time.  3) There may be one detail that throws the editor off and since they’ve got 50 more to read that day (I’m making these numbers up, but they do get a ton of submissions so hopefully I’m in the ballpark), they say pass.

So you send it out to all the other ones in your genre.  It seems like there’s less in fantasy than any other genre but I haven’t ran the numbers so it probably just feels that way since it’s my genre.  Sometimes I swear it’s pointless.  I’m sending out shorts, hoping to get at least one published so I can put in a cover letter that I have some credentials when I submit books to agents or directly to publishers (though that seems like a long shot).

When you ask authors what advice they have to writers trying to make it, they usually say stuff like “Write everyday,” “Hone your skills,” and “Don’t give up.”  Yeah, they’re that vague and I swear they all do it.  Those are true, and what I’m saying is a version of the don’t give up, but I’m hoping it’s a little more information for you 🙂

The odds are never in your favor.  Even after you get stories published, an agent, even published, you still have to compete in the market and try to sell your book.

There are days when I look at it and wonder what the hell is the point of all this.  My writing is to the point where people read the finished product, and have a few suggestions and catch some typos, but say it’s good, even if it’s not their cup of tea.

But that’s the first hurdle.  Most of the writers sending stuff out aren’t good yet.  Their stuff isn’t ready.  I don’t mean riddled with typos.  I mean, it’s bad writing.  It’s wordy and has a ton of adverbs and modifiers for the word said.  And then you get to the actual plot and it has no point, or ends with it all being a dream, it’s slow, the characters don’t draw you in, ect…

Once you are past that point, you’re not in yet, but you are on the brink.  You’re the band who has made it out of the garage in Kentucky and is playing for tips in Nashville bars, trying to break out.

After that?  Once you have written a ton (most say you have to write a million words to learn how to write) and you can actually write a well written and crafted story, then you just keep trying.  You keep submitting.

Because after that, it’s about being lucky.  And the best way to increase your odds of getting that one roll of the dice, is to keep rolling the dice.

This isn’t Vegas.  You don’t lose anything if you don’t get your number, so keep on rolling.

Happy writing (and editing 😉

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