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What About Rejections? Part I

Now that we’re ready to dig into our various writing projects and (gulp!) even think about submitting a few…we face a common enemy: Fear of Rejection. To encourage your hearts, our faculty shared some of their rejection stories. Now you can say to yourself, “If they were rejected and look how far they’ve come… I can submit my work too.”

Terri Kelly

“My first rejection letter said my picture book didn’t meet the editorial needs of Peachtree Publishing.Poof…my great idea didn’t turn into a children’s book that kids adored, parents raved over, and teachers chose for story time. Instead of giving in, I geared up. Within a year, I attended my first writing conference where I learned all writers experience rejection. Eleven years later I don’t send out a manuscript until I’m confident the writing is my personal best. Yes, I’m cautious, but I’d rather take my time than send a weak manuscript. Before submitting, I share my manuscript with a writer’s group for critique, hire writing coaches to work with me one-on-one, and read, read, read. Don’t concede when rejections come. Gear up to learn how to write for the market, the publisher, and the reader.”

Lori Hatcher

“As I look back on the book proposals I’ve had rejected, they were rejected because something wasn’t quite right. Maybe the focus wasn’t strong enough, the concept wasn’t fresh, or the writing was mediocre.  But every rejection has made me refine my concept, polish my writing, or scrap the whole thing altogether and start over. Then, when the acceptances come, it’s a glorious thing—a book I can be proud of and one that would represent the Lord in the best way possible. I’ve learned to receive acceptances and rejections as divine redirection that pushes me further into God’s will.”

Edie Melson

Rejection can be brutal. At my very first writing conference I took a Bible study I’d written to pitch. It was the late 90s and no one but Kaye Arthur and Beth Moore were publishing Bible studies. Even though this was a huge Christian Conference, no publishers were taking pitches for them. But the conference staff suggested I talk to a nonfiction editor and take his continuing class. I met with him in a 15-minute appointment and it was tough. He suggested I take my in-depth Bible study and rework it into a cross-stitch or quilting gift book.
I wasn’t rude and thanked him for his time, but I was so upset I left my proposal on the table. When I got to his class the next day, he proceeded to use my proposal (with my name blacked out) as an example of how not to write and not to follow God in publishing.
 I was devastated and when I got back home, I locked away my writing. I was certain I’d heard from God and that dream was dead. Then the next year a got an anonymous scholarship to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Since it was anonymous, I had to go or risk wasting someone else’s money. Once there, God showed up in a big way and I sold my very first article to Focus on the Family.
God resurrected the dream I thought was dead. But God did more than that. He also birthed a passion to shepherd other writers as they try on the dream God has given them. As much as the enemy meant this for evil, God has used this for good in my life and in the lives of others. I praise Him for all He’s done and continues to do.

Steve Hutson

I wrote my first book back in the 1980s, and pitched it far and wide to dozens of publishers. Much to my dismay, fewer than half of them responded (and all rejections). No one gave a reason why.

When I started working as an agent almost nine years ago, I decided that I would be the nice guy. I would always give a reason for my rejections. Within a week, I discovered that most writers don’t REALLY want to know. They just want to argue with me.

Writers, if you should ever receive actionable feedback from an editor or agent, thank them for it and consider it gold. Even if you disagree. These are the people who could make all the difference in your career.

In the Bible, even for the prophets, God sent them human teachers. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you.
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On Thursday we’ll share more rejection stories from our faculty to encourage you to keep on, keeping on! Do you have a rejection story (or two) that you would like to share to encourage other writers? We want to hear them! Please leave your contact information in the comments, or send Carol Federlin Baldwin a private message on Facebook.
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Looking for an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up? **PLUS A GIVEAWAY**


Here’s a sneak peek at conference presenters with descriptions in their own words. We’ll be posting a teaser page each  Monday. You still have time to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount.

To register, visit: https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

 

Kim Peterson – Selling Snappy Sidebars

Sidebars fill the pages of magazines, our computer screens, and even some TV shows. Sidebars are short articles that accompany and relate to a larger work, yet they present a different angle. With today’s online and “everything now” mentality, these high-demand mini pieces often serve as the article. Come to this workshop to learn why editors, writers, and readers love sidebars. We’ll also examine the different types, how to be creative in assembling a sidebar, and how to write these snappy pieces to entertain and inform readers. You’ll soon be providing the extras your editor craves.

 

 

Vijaya Bodach – Writing Memoir (Part II): Being a Witness—Writing the Most Important Story

Can you think of any modern-day witnesses? These are people who questioned Christianity and found it to be true! And they will do anything to keep this Pearl, this Treasure, this Gift. Can you state the reason for your hope in Christ? Allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you. We are now living in a post-Christian society. We have the greatest number of people who have no religious affiliation. They are the “nones” (not to be confused with nuns). It is YOUR story that will make a difference in their lives, as you sow seeds of faith and hope in them. Yes, I’m looking at YOU!

 

Terri Kelly – How to Write Devotions for Children

Turn yourself into a writing machine. Don’t you want to publish a children’s picture book or a magazine article for teens? How about a middle-grade chapter book or nonfiction for children? There is a surefire way to sharpen your story: Write Devotions. In How to Write Devotions for Children, you’ll learn a simplified method that you can apply to all writing. Not only will you walk away with a plan for a publishable devotion to the best audience in the world—our children, you’ll gain a writing tool belt to wear for life.

 

Edie Melson – Writing for the YA Audience

We live in a world with a savvy and sophisticated young adult population. In their young lives—through media and the ready availability of digital information—they’ve been exposed to a lifetime of experiences. The first rule of YA writing is respect—respect for our audience, and respect for their experiences and opinions. The second rule is authenticity. Our YA readers can spot a fake a mile away. This workshop will cover the mindsets and expectations of this audience. We’ll discuss how this mindset affects our writing in multiple genres and for different age groups.

 

Tessa Emily Hall – Create Book Buzz by Coordinating a Blog Tour

Marketing isn’t always an author’s best friend—but in today’s publishing landscape, it’s a requirement. What if I told you it could be both exciting and cost-effective? And that, even with no prior marketing experience, you could reach readers from the comfort of your own home? 

This is what I have found to be the case through coordinating blog tours for my own books. Coordinating these tours have proven to be a powerful strategy to reach target readers and spread online buzz surrounding a new release. By tapping into my passion for the book, I have discovered how to create unique tours that invite my target readers to share in this excitement. 

Come to my workshop, Create a Book Buzz with a Blog Tour, and learn these five steps on how to kick off your virtual tour from the ground up—in a way that is both organized and efficient. You will also discover secrets on how to infuse your passion with creativity to brainstorm unique and fun content for your tour. 

Who knows? After coordinating your first blog tour, you might realize that marketing isn’t your worst enemy after all.

Steve Hutson – Why You’re Not Getting Published: Rejection-Proof Submissions

Have you sent off your manuscript to dozens of agents and editors, only to be rejected again and again? Learn the things they won’t tell you; discover the most common problems, and how to avoid them. Hint:  It may have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or your story.

GIVEAWAY

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Are You Willing to Be Rejected?

Nobody likes to be rejected. And when we’ve poured ourselves into a writing project, only to see it rejected by agents and editors, it’s easy to take that rejection personally.

“My manuscript isn’t good enough.”

“My writing skills aren’t good enough.”

I’m not good enough.”

Is that true?

Before you believe the lie that you’re not good enough, consider the truth.

Maybe your manuscript does need more work. And maybe your writing skills could use improvement.

Or maybe the agent just signed an author who writes in the same genre you do. Or maybe the editor knows he can’t contract your book because his company is releasing a book on the same topic in a few months. Sometimes a rejection has nothing to do with you or your skills and everything to do with timing.

Then again, maybe the timing is fine, but you and the agent or editor simply have different likes.

Agents Are Human

I attended a writers conference years ago where agent Steve Laube served on the faculty. Participating in an agent panel, Steve mentioned that agents don’t always make the right call. He cited a well-known author whom he regretted rejecting several years earlier. During the Q & A session, several multi-published authors prefaced their questions by noting (with a laugh) that Steve had also rejected them. He finally asked the audience to raise their hands if they had been rejected by his agency. I lost count of the hands raised across the room as laughter erupted.

Agents are fallible!

Editors Are Fallible Too

Are you familiar with the anthology series, Chicken Soup for the Soul? The authors spent 3 years developing the first volume and finally published it in 1993, after 140 publishers rejected it. Thirty-three publishers turned them down in the first month alone! Their agent finally returned their manuscript, saying, “I can’t sell this.” Yet in more than 20 years, the series has sold more than 115 million copies with 250 titles, and there are more to come. Inspirational “soup” books have been published for kids, teenagers, parents, women, couples, dentists, sports fans, veterans, nurses, pet lovers, chiropractors, and others.

Yes, editors don’t always recognize a bestseller, either!

Rejection Can Be a Stepping Stone

Author and teacher Kay Arthur once shared an illustration of a donkey that fell into an abandoned well. After many failed attempts to rescue it, the farmer reluctantly decided to end the donkey’s life. So he began to shovel dirt into the well. But with each shovelful that landed on its back, the donkey shook the dirt off and stamped it down. Eventually the farmer observed that the donkey stood a little closer to the top because the additional dirt had raised the floor. The farmer continued shoveling, and the donkey was able to step out of the well.

You and I can use rejection as a stepping stone too. We can use the added time to

  • research agents and editors for a better fit
  • improve our writing skills
  • learn more about the genre we’re writing in
  • join a critique group for objective feedback
  • draw near to the Lord to learn what He may want to teach us
  • encourage other writers who are facing similar circumstances

Don’t take rejection personally. Use it to grow into the person and writer God created you to be!

How has rejection helped you be a better writer? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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Handling Rejection

Have you ever seen an unattractive baby? Even if you think the baby is ugly, his parents would never agree. That baby is part of them. He carries their DNA. More than that, he carries their hopes and dreams for the future.

It’s often been said that for a writer, rejection is the equivalent of showing someone your newborn baby and hearing them say she’s ugly.RejectionYou persevere through blank computer screens, uncooperative characters, convoluted plots, and uninteresting descriptions. After pouring yourself into your manuscript, you finally produce a work worthy of publication. That was the easy part.

Now comes the difficult part: showing your work to others; baring yourself as you wait for feedback from critique partners, editors, or agents.

What do you do when:

  • a critique partner tells you the dialogue is flat?
  • an agent advises you the plot is weak?
  • an editor rejects your submission without any feedback at all?

Do you:

  • Give up on writing?
  • Reject the rejection and dismiss the source as incompetent?
  • Ascribe the rejection to spiritual attack?
  • Receive the rejection as constructive criticism?

Rejection is not always a bad thing. We can use criticism to become better writers. Or perhaps the writing is good, but the timing is wrong. One project I worked on for several years received several rejections. Rather than giving up, I partnered with another writer. My co-author took a good idea and helped make it a great book. That single book became a two-book series.

Don’t view rejection as an enemy. View it as a teacher…one that will help us be the best writers we can be for the glory of God.

What have previous rejections taught you?
Have you experienced a rejection that led to something better?

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Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her latest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

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Heavenly Herald

Heavenly Herald

I know the cliché well: “You only fail if you refuse to try.” While I don’t doubt the truth of those words, it’s of little comfort when I am staring at another submission I was sure I had “just right” only to see it returned—again. Red ink loudly announces, “You missed the mark—AGAIN!” I lift my eyes to Heaven and begin to pray. I stop, suddenly doubting my ability to choose the right words. My eyes fall to an envelope on my desk I hadn’t noticed before, a SASE I didn’t remember sending. The postmark reads, “Glory.” Sliding my finger under the flap, I tear it open and unfold the parchment-colored paper inside.

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Heavenly Herald

A Division of Eternal Revenue Publishing 

Thank you for your interest in the Heavenly Herald. Below, please find the submission guidelines you requested.

Submissions should be directed to:
Office of the Publisher
Heavenly Herald
7 Alpha and Omega Street
Heaven

Author’s bio—No author’s bio is needed. There is nothing you can tell the Publisher He doesn’t know—including the number of hairs on your head.

Scripture version—The Publisher does not wish, at this time, to endorse a specific Scripture translation. However, in the matter of accuracy, the Publisher requests you do not pull a verse out of the original context to better suit your submission.

Response time—Response time is instantaneous. Since the Publisher is personally familiar with your work, He is simply waiting for your submission. See Psalm 139 for further details.

Multiple submissions—The Publisher encourages multiple submissions and will review every one.

Rights—Upon submission, all rights are immediately surrendered to the Publisher aka the Lord of all Creation and the Source of the gifts utilized in drafting your submission.

Editorial support—Wisdom, encouragement, and editorial support are available upon request. Please contact the Publisher via His direct line any time of the day or night. (See the Lord’s Prayer section of Matthew 6 for further details.)

Guaranteed acceptance—Acceptance is guaranteed upon submission from a humble heart. The Publisher may contact you for further revisions and refinements.

The Publisher looks forward to accepting your submission.

Sincerely,

Office of Chief Editor, Publisher, Author and Perfecter of the Faith
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Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.