August 27, 2012
April 15, 2015
This was getting frustrating! What kind of articles did they want?
I read the rejection letter once more. Despite turning down my ideas, the publisher said that my writing was strong and engaging. She asked if I would consider doing some commissioning work. I really hadn't planned on submitting again. Why open myself to a third rejection? And then, I realized that was the wrong attitude. The publisher was interested in my work.
This time, the strategy was to improve my next group of submissions by creating a stronger hook for each article, by making sure that the topic idea was not too broad, and by providing intriguing details from cutting-edge research. I submitted four proposals. And then...several days later, another email appeared.
It read, "After reviewing the proposals with our development team, we would be interested in a passage." WOW. But there was one more paragraph: "The approval of a topic idea does not guarantee payment. Authors are not ensured payment until their passage has been officially accepted for use on assessments. If a passage is considered unsuitable for testing, even after multiple revisions, it will not warrant payment, and the rights to the work will be returned to the author."
So, I could work on this passage with no guarantee that it would be accepted. What to do, what to do? Because it seemed that I was getting closer to having my work approved, quitting now was not an option. Even with a tight deadline, I carefully wrote the piece and edited it for grade level. A week after the completed passage was sent, the director made editing suggestions: rearrange the order of the paragraphs, simplify the scientific terminology, and make the writing snapper. Okay, not a problem.
After completing the work, the passage was delivered. And then I waited. Even with the possibility of a rejection, I felt good knowing that the submission had been vastly improved.
And then shortly afterward, I got good news. My passage had been accepted! After weeks of researching and writing and after multiple rejections, I had reached this difficult goal.
Was it hard work? Yep. Would I do it again? You bet. As hard as it is to take, rejection is part of the writing life. But so is perseverance. If you want something bad enough, you know the drill—never give up.
June 1, 2016
1. No reply. Agents will only respond when they are interested. No word = no thank you.
2. The standard rejection form. It might read: Thank you for submitting but unfortunately it doesn't meet our needs at this time.
It is disappointing, but fairly common not to hear back from an agent. So if you haven't gotten a response in about three months, consider it a pass.
A good number of agents will usually send a rejection letter. Even though they've passed on your work, you will know that they received your submission and it had been considered.
Occasionally, a rejection letter may arrive personally addressed to you along with a little note. A note takes the sting out of the rejection. It could read: shape this piece, or this work has potential, or this project sounded interesting. You may even get advice, and if you do, consider revising your manuscript.
Though it is a pass on your project, a personalized rejection is an awesome thing to receive. An agent has made time to send you feedback. A personal message will remind you that others think your work has potential. It may offer hope and validation. It will boost your faith as a writer. And more, it will give you courage to keep on submitting.
October 29, 2012
What is a blog hop?
A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS. When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the exact same list appears on each blog. Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list. The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides. Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!
January 10, 2015
Striving (and hoping) to earn an acceptance, I worked on improving my next group of submissions by creating a stronger hook for each article, by making sure that the topic idea was not too broad, and by providing intriguing details that had been discovered through research.
Perhaps, the editor will be interested in this new set of articles. And then again, another rejection could come my way. But if that happens, I will have to find another way to crack this market. Giving up is never an option.
November 15, 2015
But shortly after feeling so rock-bottom low, the unexpected happened. I got word that my picture book story (which had been entered in three writing contests prior to the conference) had won a prize from the Tennessee Mountain Writers and an award from the Writers-Editors Network International Writing Competition. Several weeks later, this same story also won First Place in the Juvenile Writing category presented by the Alabama Writers' Conclave. This round of good news encouraged me, especially after reading a note from the AWC Contest Chair: Congratulations on a nice piece.
If I've learned anything over the past twenty years, it's that being a writer has its highs and lows. When the writing life takes a dip and cruises downhill, hold on tight. Ride out the low times—those times filled with self-doubt, those times brought on by rejection.
Try to stay positive. Enter contests to build your confidence. Submit your writing to magazines. Keep writing in spite of rejections. Quitting is not an option. Know that in time, the downhill ride will soon climb to new heights.
February 1, 2016
December 10, 2012
Luckily this mood doesn't last long and I find ways to pick myself up. Take for instance these amazing quotes by Zig. Recently, I received another rejection, but after reading the quotes my spirits lifted. If you are going through a similar period of frustration in writing for children, perhaps the following advice will be beneficial:
"Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street."
"It's not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you."
June 15, 2017
February 15, 2018
But here are some tips to help you avoid rejection:
- Create a main character that the audience cares about and can connect with.
- Create a true conflict that pulls at the heart of the main character.
- Place the conflict early on in the story.
- Establish a good flow (no stumbling over words when read out loud).
- Have the main character solve the problem.
- Close with a satisfying ending that is not predictable.
- Give your story a unique plot.
- Make sure your story is not preachy.
- Shy away from scary when writing for younger kids.
- Keep the vocabulary at the grade level of the intended audience.
- Check for spelling and grammar.
- Aim to stay within the expected word count.
Judging a story is subjective and there can be many reasons why an editor rejects fiction. Some things are out of your control. Maybe the editor has published or has a similar piece on hand. Maybe she has a particular vision for what she likes to publish and thinks your story wasn’t a good fit for the magazine’s audience. Or maybe, she was just feeling grouchy and rejected everything that came her way that day. Who knows?
December 1, 2017
- The manuscript was not formatted correctly and the contact information was missing. Contact information must be present on the first page of a manuscript. This is fairly standard for any magazine.
- The word count exceeded our limit. We state in our guidelines that we'd like articles to run about 500 words. Kids are more engaged with shorter pieces. Going fifty words over the limit is not egregious, but 200 words is simply too long.
- The Flesh Kincaid readability tool measured the piece at seventh grade level. The range of our audience is from first to six grade. To achieve a readability score more suitable to KIT, writers can reduce the number of compound sentences, explain complex concepts in simple terms, and use grade-appropriate vocabulary.
- The subject of the article was too mature for young readers. This is where writers have to put themselves in the shoes of kids and figure out what they would like to read and know. For instance, we believe an article that discusses animal reproduction is not appropriate for our magazine.
But, all is not lost for this writer. In this case, we provided reasons for the rejection, not the typical "the piece is not a good fit for us." And this writer has the opportunity to submit again. KIT believes that every writer deserves a second chance. We promote writers and encourage them to perfect their submissions. It is our mission to help writers succeed in reaching their publication dreams.
July 15, 2015
Guidelines spell out the specific requirements for fiction or nonfiction. You will find the expected word count and the specifications for formatting a manuscript. You may also discover the requirements for a bibliography. Guidelines may even point out the types of stories that are suitable for submission. Sometimes, you will learn how an editor wants the subject of an email worded.
Remember to include your contact information (usually email and snail mail) on the first page of a submission. This is fairly standard even if it's not mentioned in the guidelines. Even though this seems over-the-top, omitting this simple step may result in a rejection. Keep in mind that editors do not have time trying to search emails for contact information.
Multiple submissions are two or more pieces submitted at the same time, whether sent together in a letter by snail mail, or by sending several in one email. This also includes staggering submissions over a short period of time (like less than a week apart). If the guidelines state that multiple submission are not accepted, don't even think about sending more than one submission to an editor. While you might think this may increase your chances that one of your pieces will be accepted, this tactic will always backfire.
As cruel as it might seem, failing to include a cover letter may earn you a rejection. It's common courtesy to write one when submitting. Always include a short letter with your submission that describes your work and presents your biography. It's also nice to close the letter by thanking the editor for her time.
March 1, 2015
Here is what I learned:
* Practice the pitch every day prior to the session.
* Memorize the pitch.
* Give the pitch in front of a mirror to watch your expressions and gestures.
* Videotape yourself with a cell phone. Listen to the sound and speed of your voice.
* Think of questions that you might be asked. Practice answering with confidence.
* Dress comfortably for the session.
* Be professional—don't do anything gimmicky.
* Begin the session with light conversation.
* Bring a copy of your pitch to glance at if necessary, but do not read from it.
* Bring a notepad to got down any comments that may be discussed.
* Be aware that the jitters may set in, even with months of practice.
* Speak slowly when you give your pitch.
* Be prepared to answer questions about your work.
* Be prepared to hear some criticism.
* Stay focused on the agent and try not to be distracted by other people in the room.
* Be knowledgeable and PASSIONATE about your work.
* If you plan a sequel, then mention it.
* Thank the agent for her time.
There were three outcomes for the writers who pitched: a rejection, a request for the first three chapters, or a request for a full. I met a gal at the conference who pitched the same novel to two different agents. One requested a full, the other rejected her work. THE VERY SAME BOOK! We know that querying an agent is subjective. There's your proof. So, when you get a rejection, remember that there is probably an agent who will love it.
The pitch is your one-on-one 10-minutes with an agent. It's nerve-wracking and intense. But if you get the chance to pitch in person, try to relax and enjoy the moment. This is an opportunity to not only meet an agent, but to convince her to fall in love with your work.
June 1, 2022
|Photo: Fine Mayer from Pixabay|
Before the pandemic, I used to listen to music as I worked out in the gym. I never made a playlist. I'd listen to whatever played on Spotify. Whenever I rode the bike or lifted weights, I'm Turning Japanese by The Vapors would play ninety percent of the time. It was crazy. Mysterious. And predictable. Back in 1980, it was the favorite song of a former boyfriend.
So why did I hear this song—forty years after we dated—fifteen years after his death? Perhaps his spirit had always been trying to send me a message. Now this song easily reached me through Spotify. Hearing the song played repeatedly made me feel like it was his way of emphasizing how sorry he was about our messy breakup and for my heartache.
Another song caught my attention recently. My husband and I enjoy the show The Charismatic Voice. Producer and vocal coach Elizabeth Zharoff discussed the song Kashmir sung by Robert Plant. While watching, we learned about the compositional structure of the song, the boldness and carelessness of Plant's style, the timing of the vibrato, the decision to slide or stick a note, and the giving of generosity (of his voice) when he approached the microphone.
A day after watching The Charismatic Voice, I went to physical therapy. As I warmed up, Kashmir played. This coincidence registered with me. But why did I hear this song again? Was there a message? I took a closer look at the lyrics and found that the song is not merely about a place, but about a journey. After having received a rejection on one of my beloved manuscripts, I found that the lyrics served to remind me that writing is a journey, so be patient and enjoy the steps along the way.
While on the subject of the writing...my husband and I attended an Elton John concert last month. When Elton sang I'm Still Standing, it resonated with me more than ever that night. Hearing him sing the song gave me chills. But why this song and why now? The power of the song reassured me that I am still standing, still persevering despite rejection.
I haven't been back in the gym since the pandemic or go to concerts often, so listening to music regularly doesn't happen often. However, while grocery shopping, going to PT, or watching a television show, I may have the opportunity to hear a song that can be meaningful. And if I hear that song frequently or if it touches me to the core, I attempt to find the spiritual connection to the music, to be more in touch with my life journey, to 'get' the message.
Amanda Meder of the Spiritual Living Blog says, "Songs can elicit in all of us intense positive emotions and stir up wonderful memories, so they can be a great way to get a message across. Songs can also cause you to rethink things, too. They can shift your outlook, mood, and entire day—which is why they are a very typical ‘sign’ that is sent. They activate the soul. If you hear the song synchronistically, this is a sign that you are becoming more in touch with your life path, keep going."
That's what I aim to do, to be aware of the synchronicities and the spiritual power that they hold. Synchronistic experiences give comfort, guidance, and faith. And if I pay attention, I may understand the perfect timing and the deeper meaning of songs.
À la prochaine!
November 19, 2012
Actually the opposite is true. I will be more likely to hand out a rejection if I receive a revision too quickly. It tends to shows me that the writer did not spend enough time on editing the piece.
There's no need to hurry the process along. Even if you have a deadline, don't speedily re-submit your work. Plan ahead so that you have the time it takes to properly revise. Revision may take weeks, and that's okay. Give yourself the gift of time. In doing so, you'll have the opportunity to provide the loving attention your manuscript rightfully deserves.
May 27, 2013
October 8, 2012
While you await the editor's decision on your work, read more books, blogs, and articles on the craft of writing for children. Afterward, you'll find that you have gained a different perspective. This is because you’re growing as a writer. So learn from your mistakes. Dismiss your regrets and move on. Consider this experience an opportunity to improve your writing skills.
April 15, 2016
Calvin Coolidge --“When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tide’ll turn.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe--“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
Louis Pasteur--“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."
Maya Angelou--“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Billie Jean King--“Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.--“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."
Orison Swett Marden--“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”
Lou Holtz--“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”
Jim Watkins--“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."
Confucius--“There are two ways of attaining an important end, force and perseverance; the silent power of the latter grows irresistible with time.”
A special thank you to Michael Pollock. More quotes can be found here: http://www.michaeldpollock.com/inspiring-quotes-persistence-perseverance/
January 31, 2013
2. They argue that what they’ve written doesn’t need revision.