Showing posts with label manuscript rejection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label manuscript rejection. Show all posts

Friday, February 8, 2013

Another 25 Reasons Your Submissions are Rejected

Some time ago I posted the first 25 reasons. Here are more tips from the Surrey, B.C. Writers Conference. Each year agents and publishers conduct an exercise, where they read aloud the first pages of writers' submissions to see how far they would read before it would be rejected. Here is a list of reasons for rejection, courtesy of Anne Mini, Author!Author! 

26. When the first lines are dialogue, the speaker is not identified.
27. The book opened with a flashback, rather than what was going on now.
28. Too many long asides slowed down the action of an otherwise exciting scene.
29. Descriptive asides pulled the reader out of the conflict of the scene.
30. Overuse of dialogue, in the name of realism.
31. Real life incidents are not always believable.
32. Where’s the conflict?
33. Agent can’t identify with the conflict shown.
34. Confusing.
35. The story is not exciting.
36. The story is boring (yes, they did differentiate between this and the one before it.)
37. The story is corny.
38. Repetition on pg. 1 (!)
39. Too many generalities.
40. The character shown is too average.
41. The stakes are not high enough for the characters.
42. The opening scene is too violent (in the example that generated this response, a baby’s brains were bashed out against a tree).
43. Too gross.
44. There is too much violence to children and/or pets.
45. It is unclear whether the narrator is alive or dead.
 46. The story is written in the second person, which is hard to maintain.
47. The story is written in the first person plural, which is almost as hard to maintain.
48. The narrator speaks directly to the reader (“I should warn you…”), making the story hyper-aware of itself qua story.
49. The narration is in a kid’s voice that does not come across as age-appropriate.
50. An adult book that has a teenage protagonist in the opening scene is often assumed to be YA.

Has anyone received any other reasons for rejection?


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A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.     

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rejection Letters - How to Keep them from Ending Your Career


If you haven’t received a number of rejection letters, then you’re probably not a writer.  Or at least you’re not a writer who is submitting your work to others for publication.  For many, rejection letters sound the death knell of their career.  Yet it’s not the letters that end a writing career, it’s how a writer responds to those letters.  Giving up on your writing is a choice.

In my early writing days, I decided to consider rejection letters as a sign from the universe that I was a writer moving on the path.  I made a conscious decision to be thankful for each letter. AND when I received a letter with a personal note, I danced (literally) around my living room, thankful that someone thought enough about my writing to either give me encouragement or advice.  I’m in good company with this practice.  The first time Kathyrn Stockett, author of The Help received a rejection letter she was thrilled and called all her friends to share her excitement.  With each rejection letter, she went back to her manuscript to "fix" what wasn't working.  She received 60 more letters saying “no thank you” before she found a home for The Help.

I recently received a letter from someone telling me that she felt blocked and stopped writing because of rejections.  With each rejection she felt like a failure.  If you want to be a “traditionally” published writer then rejection letters are part of the process.  Learning to cope with rejection is critical.  

Below are my 5 rules regarding rejection letters.


1.       If there is constructive feedback and it pings with you – use it. 

After submitting a manuscript to an editor who actually gave me some personal feedback, I knew her comment about the depth of my character was true.  I used her criticism to rework the manuscript and submitted it for an artist's grant. I was awarded the grant.

2.       Don’t believe or embrace the negative. 

Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language and Emily Dickinson was told her poems were devoid of any poetic qualities.  They kept writing.


3.       Remember it is a person’s opinion.

A publisher told Fitzgerald, “You'd have a decent book if you'd get rid of that Gatsby character”.

4.       If you believe in your work, don’t let anyone tell you it won’t sell.

Beatrix Potter initially self-published the Tale of Peter Rabbit after it had been turned down many times.

5.       Do something with the letters that reminds you it’s not the end and then JUST KEEP WRITING.
Pat Schmatz, author of the award winning YA Book, Blue Fish papered her bathroom with her rejection letters. When she was ready to move, she had to figure out how to take the letters with her.

At this stage in my writing life when I open the mail and receive a rejection I say to myself: “Hmm, not the right publishing house…that means I’m getting closer to find the right match for my manuscript. Thanks.”

 Do you have a unique approach to dealing with rejection letters?  Can you see yourself trying one of the above suggestions?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist.  She helps clients break through their blocks and chart their course of action so they can live their True North.

For more information check out  www.donorth.bizor folllow her at:http://theadvantagepoint.wordpress.com http://www.donorth.biz/personal_sessions.htm
http://www.helpingchidrencope.blogspot.com http://twitter.com/do_north http://facebook.com/DoNorth.biz 





Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why Your Submissions are Rejected

Here are the top fifteen reasons agents and publishers reject our submissions. Provided by Anne Mini, from the 2006 Surrey, B.C. writers conference. Check her blog for more reasons and explanations.

1. An opening image that did not work.

2.Opened with rhetorical question(s).

3. The first line is about setting, not about story.

4. The first line’s hook did not work, because it was not tied to the plot or the conflict of the opening scene.

5. The first line’s hook did not work, because it was an image, rather than something that was happening in the scene.

6. Took too long for anything to happen (a critique, incidentally, leveled several times at a submission after only the first paragraph had been read); the story taking time to warm up.

7. Not enough happens on page 1

8. The opening sounded like an ad for the book or a recap of the pitch, rather than getting the reader into the story.

9. The opening contained the phrases, “My name is…” and/or “My age is..."

10. The opening contained the phrase, “This can’t be happening.”

11. The opening contained the phrase or implication, “And then I woke up.”

12. The opening paragraph contained too much jargon

13. The opening contained one or more clichéd phrases.

14. The opening contained one or more clichéd pieces of material. (The most I counted in a single submission was 5.) Specifically singled out: a character’s long red or blonde hair.

15. The opening had a character do something that characters only do in books, not real life. Specifically singled out: a character who shakes her head to clear an image, “He shook his head to clear the cobwebs.”

Have any of you received anything similar or different reasons? 

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A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fear

We all deal with fear whether we are conscious of it or not. As writers, we can deal with the fear of failure and rejection. Mark Twain once said:

                  Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.





Courage is a decision – not a feeling. It looks fear in the eye and decides to move forward anyway. It doesn’t have to be a determined march either. It can be simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Fear paralyzes. We understand the one who becomes “frozen” with a fear of heights. Writers can become frozen, too, and not move forward.


                              ~




Some fears that can stop a writer:
  •     Manuscript rejection(s)
  •     Lack of encouragement
  •     Comparing yourself to other writers
  •      Lack of confidence in your voice or craft 
  •      Overly sensitive to critiques
  •      Lack of freelance employment 
  •    Failure
The only way to be successful is to keep going no matter how you feel or what your experiences have been. If you give up, how will you know if the very next assignment or query may be your breakthrough?

Writers must learn to believe in themselves when no one else seems to. Chances are you write what you love. Keep going and don’t give up! Someone out there needs to read what you write.

Can you list some fears you may have had and how you dealt with them? Or fears you are currently dealing with? 

~~~~~~~~~

Kathleen Moulton is a freelance writer and nature lover. She is married, has 8 children, ages 10-28, and has been homeschooling for 25 years. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at  “When It Hurts” http://kathleenmoulton.com/


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