Rejections are a fact of life for most writers but there are ways of reducing your chances of getting them. Think of a publisher like how you might think of a potential lover.
Let’s say you’ve had enough of the single life and you’re determined to change things around. One of the first things you might decide is that your usual tee-shirt and sweats wardrobe isn’t doing anything for you and yes, you could definitely stand to lose a pound or two, firm up those pecs and abdominals. You break out the credit card, buy an exercise DVD or two and some weights. After six months or a year, you’ve done it, you’ve reached your goal weight and it’s time to break out the credit card again for some hot duds. You are fit, you are fine, and you are ready to get yourself some!
But wait, you’re asking, is this some kind of Denise Austin pep talk? How does this relate to writing? Well, think about it, silly. You don’t just dash off a manuscript without revising and revising, do you? Do you? No, you don’t. If you want to attract a man, you’ve got to look like you want to – you’ve got to take care of yourself and, to use my grandmother’s phrase, put your best foot forward.
If you want to attract a publisher, it’s the same thing. You want a publisher to know that you care about writing, that you’ve crossed the t’s and know how to use proper grammar. That mean’s revising and revising and accepting useful critiques. A word of caution here – making yourself attractive to a man doesn’t or shouldn’t mean changing who you are. If you hate sky diving, don’t pretend you love it just to please him. In the same way, listen to your critique partners but keep in mind what is true to your story and to your voice and don’t change those things because you’ll be changing a story only you could tell into one your critique group would tell.
Okay, so you’re dressed in the latest designer fashion and you’re ready to paint the town red and collect some phone numbers while you’re at it. Now you’ve got to identify which nightclubs will give you the most bang for your money. Again, this is where being true to yourself comes in again. Target the kinds of clubs that play the music you like and the ones that attract the age group you’re looking for. In other words, you might like jazz but if the club you go to caters for college students and you’re in your mid-forties, you’re probably wasting your time.
Similarly, don’t send your dark paranormal romance off to a publishing house that explicitly states they don’t do paranormals or they don’t do romance. Check out each publishing house’s guidelines before submitting. If a house doesn’t do inspirationals, don’t send yours there. If they tell you they are closed for submissions, try other houses. If they only accept from agents and you don’t have one, skip them.
More to come. Keep tuned! Oh, and while you're at it, check me out on My Space - http://www.myspace.com/tulaneal