From the Swoon Squad: Don't Give Up (Part II)
Hey there, Swooners,
We are so excited to welcome three new authors into the Swoon family! There were SO many great manuscripts to choose from this season, and we want to thank all of you again for your awesome ratings and comments that pointed us toward these new books.
We truly wish we could select every last manuscript on site. Every single one of them has something special going for it. We know that not being selected for publication can be discouraging. But we want you all to know that we are rooting for you. Don't. Give. Up.
A few of our previously selected Swoon authors have some words of wisdom they wanted to share with you. We hope you find some inspiration in their experiences.
Keep those chins up and those submissions rolling in. We can't wait for the day when we can select you, too.
♥ Swoon Reads Staff
Author of How to Breathe Underwater
My husband has a saying: If you don’t ask, the answer’s always no. I’ve done my fair share of asking. I sent my first query letter in December of 2008. That’s a whole decade ago. Between then and now, I’ve received so many rejection letters, I could use them to wallpaper my entire house. And probably yours too. There was a lot of almost and maybe and not quite. There was never a yes.
And that includes Swoon Reads! I joined Swoon Reads when it was a beta site! I submitted my first book at the same time as our very first Swoon Reads author, the lovely Sandy Hall. I watched her book get picked, I watched mine not, and then I spent some time being sad and convincing myself that the hard work and disappointment wasn’t worth the no. The asking was too painful. And then I submitted again. And when that one didn’t get picked, I nursed my broken heart, and I tried again. Because if you don’t ask, the answer’s always no.
I have a decade’s worth of unwanted manuscripts, an entire inbox full of rejection letters, more no’s than I could possibly count. But what’s the other option? Giving up? Never asking? I think not. Be the little kid in the back of the car asking, “are we there yet?” again and again because eventually, the answer will be yes.
Author of The Midnight Dance and The King's Questioner
It seems so much of the publishing industry is about rejection. In fact, my therapist thinks it's interesting that I chose this profession as my passion, considering I'm terrified of personal rejection! But you do... you face rejection with agents, with publishers, and even with fans.
But we write because we love it. We have a story to share, a message to send, a voice to showcase. We fight for our novels to get out there, and here's the thing... NEVER STOP FIGHTING! There are various reasons your book may not have been chosen in this round. Perhaps it's too similar to something else on the Macmillan list. Perhaps it was super close to getting chosen but wasn't ready. The AMAZING thing about Swoon Reads is... you don't have to stop. Unlike with most agents and publishers—unless they ask for a revise and resubmit—you get to go back and hone your manuscript, make it even better for the next round, or even submit something completely new!
Take the feedback you got on the website from readers, incorporate any feedback you may have received offline from critique partners, and then tackle your own revise and resubmit. I personally love watching authors grow as a writer and always strive to do better myself. I'll admit publicly to anyone that my Swoon Reads manuscript was the sixth one I wrote. I almost gave up. I started to wonder if maybe this wasn't a personal story of perseverance but rather a story of me in denial that I was a horrible writer. But I kept fighting because it was important to me, and here I am with one book out and one book coming out in a year! You can do it too. Just keep at it.
Author of No Love Allowed, No Holding Back, No Second Chances and The Boyfriend Bracket
Are you feeling the drag of the week? Did your day start off great? Or did your week begin disastrously? To those who’ve begun their week with a bang, kudos! May the streak continue. For those who’ve started their week in less than pleasant circumstances, it’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and all that. When the unavoidable happens, don't let it keep you from doing what you love.
Everyone goes through rejection in some form or the other. I won’t get into the rejections suffered when in a relationship. That’s a whole different post. What I want to focus on is the rejection every writer starting out receives. I think it would be easier to count writers that don’t get rejected than those that do. Yes, there are those mythical cases of getting a yes the first time out. We won’t focus on those, either. What I want to look into is the writer that sends out query after query and receiving rejection after rejection.
When I started out querying Taste, I felt nauseous the whole time. I would send out ten queries per week. When the rejections started coming in, I felt bad. Of course, I felt bad. In the beginning, it feels bad, but I soldiered on. I began changing my mindset when it came to querying and submitting. I realized that querying is actually a process of elimination. Remember, your goal is to find the best agent to represent you or publisher to publish your work. You don’t want someone who’s only half-interested in your manuscript. You want someone excited about your story and willing to take a chance and to share it with the world.
Rejection is a necessary evil in the business of publishing. The question is: will you let a rejection stop you from seeing your work in print? All you need is one yes. No matter how many queries you send out or submissions you make, all you need is one yes. Of course, it’s nice to have several agents and publishers wanting your work, but in reality, one is more than enough. And, the best part, you can always submit again after going through another round of edits. They may have rejected you the first time around because your novel wasn’t what they’re looking for, but maybe the next time your submission becomes exactly what they want.
The author that became my inspiration when it comes to submitting is J.K. Rowling. Her work was getting one rejection after another until someone gave her a chance. Imagine how those who passed up her work must feel now that she’s made a bazillion dollars? One yes. That’s all it takes.
Mourn the rejection for a couple of hours (even a couple of minutes) then move on. Remember, there’s always a second, a third, a fourth chance out there for you. There's always one more book that needs to be written inside that beautiful brain of yours. There will be a publisher or an agent that believes in what you’ve written and will encourage you to make it the best that it can be. Someone who will champion your work. Weed out the rest and find the very best.
There’s nothing wrong with rejection. Actually, come to expect it. An agent or publisher rejecting you does mean that your work is crap. It means that they are not the right person for your work, and maybe, you won’t want someone without passion for your work representing you anyway. With so many agents and publishers out there, you would be hard-pressed not to find one.
Who knows? Maybe this next WIP you're working on will be the one that finally lands you that coveted "Yes?" Just keep at it.
For now, this is Kate, signing out!
Looking for potential ways to improve your manuscript? Take a look at some of our previous Open Edit Letters explaining some of the most common reasons manuscripts weren't selected:
And be sure to check out Part I of this pep talk series here.