Susan’s Randoms: Side-Stepping Publishing Pitfalls

This week, The Randoms thought we’d talk about what helped us get published. One day, we hope to share how to stay published and on the NYT list. Until then, here we go:

1) I am an unbelievable query letter writer. Truly. Out of approximately 30 queries I’ve sent out over my lifetime, only one got a rejection letter. Of course, writing the perfect partial (synopsis and first three chapters) was another matter. But, hey, at least I got my toe crammed into that door jamb!

2) I never got sucked into the time- and energy-sucker that is writing organizations. I helped out, like leading a table topic or helping with the PR for a writing conference. But I was never on a board that met every month and wasted time hashing out politics in a newsgroup on a daily if not hourly basis. Tiiiiiiiiiiiime sucker.

3) I never took rejection personally. Every time I got a rejection for a partial or a full, I looked at the comments and took what was said as the constructive advice it was meant to be. Of course, I still carry a little hatred in my heart for the one agent who was clamoring for my full and came back two weeks later with, “You lost your spark by Chapter Four.” For someone who doesn’t have much of a writing ego, I have to say that the little bit I do have bled like a stuck pig that day.

4) I looked for windows of opportunity that were cracked open. I got my break into publishing via a classified ad my now-defunct online critique group sent to me. Actually, I was CC’d on it, since it went to a girl that was actively writing YA while I was working on a mystery at the time.

5) I was never married to “the book of my heart.” Above, I mentioned that I started out writing mystery (along the lines of Janet Evanovich). I wrote in this genre because I loved reading this genre. Luckily, I love reading a lot of genres. So I never felt like “Oh, there’s someone looking for YA? Pish posh, I do not write for the little child readers.” Being a woman with a child-like mind who still loved reading YA, I was ready for the YA opportunity. The only genre I probably would turn my back on is pure sci-fi/fantasy. I have always known about my loathing for sci fi/fantasy, from the Lord of the Rings series to the movie Blade Runner. Bluck, yuck, and ick.

~SC

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