Showing posts sorted by relevance for query rejection. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query rejection. Sort by date Show all posts

October 11, 2018

Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer


I'm a graduate of the University of Kentucky, but I'm not much of a football fan.

Basketball fan, oh yes.  That's a different story.  I'm glued to the television whenever the Cats play basketball.  Football is harder to watch.  The team hasn't had a winning record in years...and then along came Benny Snell.  

Snell is like a bulldozer smashing through defenders when he carries the ball—every time he carries the ball.

A commentator explained why Snell is so driven.  Benny Snell envisioned playing for Ohio State.  Being an Ohioan, he wanted to become a hometown hero.  But his dream did not pan out.  During recruiting, Snell was told that other players were faster and more talented.  

In a Herald-Leader interview, Snell revealed that he got discouraged at camps. “I found myself at camps being the best one and still guys were getting the running back MVPs and all that, but I was the best one,” said Snell.  "I knew I was. So, from then all the way until now, getting a low ranking as a running back, me not being productive, me being at Kentucky, I’ll forever keep this chip on my shoulder and keep running hard.”

The doubters are the ones Snell remembers before every practice and then during every game.  That's what fuels him, gives him an edge.  He thinks of it every time he plays a game.  He is determined to be great and to give everything he's got with every single play.

“It’s something I think about all the time, but when I’m about to go out before a game, I think about, ‘OK, deep breath, now it’s time to go,’” he said.

Many players never make it to their dream schools.  The difference is, few use rejection the way Snell does.  Snell takes rejection and uses it for the best. 

This might be easier said than done.  But others think it's possible, too.

For instance, Brett Berhoff, contributor for the Huffington Post believes that good things can come from rejection.  He says don't take the rejection too seriously or too personally.  He makes several suggestions:  

  • Treat rejection as a learning experience.  Think about how you can improve.  What will you do differently? 
  • Use rejection to carve another path to your goal.  Take an optimistic approach.  Develop a positive attitude.  
  • Transform rejection into opportunity.  While rejection is associated with negativity, it can be used to generate positive action.  Utilize that energy and emotion with the next opportunity. 

Best-selling author and acclaimed speaker  Margie Warrell  is a firm believer that rejection can open other doors.  Warrell says, "It is vital to your long-term success not to let fear of future rejection keep you from putting yourself ‘out there’ and risking more of it," she says.  "As a little-known first-time author, I must have submitted my first book to over 30 publishers before I finally landed an international publishing deal." 

Warrell believes the more you put yourself out there, the better the odds you will achieve what you want.  She says that if things don't go as planned, stay open-minded and act on the feedback.  Use the feedback to move forward.  

Warrell's comments remind me of the struggles many writers face.  More often than not, writers hear "I'm afraid I must pass" or "It's not a good fit for me."  It can be defeating.  But even the best-selling authors like Theodore Geisel, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, and J.K. Rowling were rejected.  That did not stop them from getting their books published.

It takes courage for writers to continue to put their work in front of publishers after rejection.  They must channel the energy of the rejection to learn, to revise, and to submit again. And again.  

No matter what you are trying to achieve, you can use rejection to motivate yourself.  That's what Benny Snell does.  And it's working.  As of the first five games (and I might add, all wins) Benny Snell has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons and has broken UK's all-time rushing record.  Snell never gives up.  Ever.  

Remember this running back when you get a rejection.  Don't quit.  
Fire yourself up.  Be like Benny Snell.  Give your next attempt everything you've got.  Rejection is like stepping stones to your success.  Don't let rejection go to waste.  Use it.   

À la prochaine 

August 27, 2012

Don't Give Up

As I look over my nonfiction submission log for Stories for Children Magazine, I see that a few writers received a rejection.  When I send a rejection, I give those writers ideas on how to improve their work.  Writers are encouraged to send their revision to me.  Yet, these writers rarely submit again.  And I can't figure out why.

Maybe they feel totally discouraged or they feel that it would take up too much time to revise. What they fail to understand that if an editor has taken time to make suggestions, they should try again.  Giving up should not be an option.  Writers have some choices. They can revise their article exactly as suggested.  They can use some of the editor's suggestions to make their work stronger.  They can submit the piece to a different editor, revised or not.   

Keep in mind that many times, rejections are subjective.  And, few writers are immune to them.  Famous authors like J. K. Rowling and Theodor Geisel had their share of rejections.  Rejection rarely indicates that your work is not good.  In some cases, a rejection just means the editor already has a similar piece on hand.  Other times, a writer might receive a rejection if the concept is too advanced for the intended age group.   A rejection might be given if the article has failed to meet the guidelines.  

The key to remember when you receive a rejection is: don’t stop writing.  Writing for children means you've got to persevere.   After the sting of rejection has worn off, get back to work.   Learn from the rejection, especially if an editor has offered ways for improving the piece. Strive to improve and submit your work again.   

April 15, 2015

Never Give Up--Part II

A couple of months ago, I blogged about my rejection from a prominent Mid-Western educational publisher.  Specifically, this publisher compiles writing passages for testing children's reading comprehension skills.  I proposed six articles, but a few weeks later, the rejection letter appeared in my inbox.  Not ready to give up, I requested examples of published passages in order to improve my chances of an acceptance.  Afterward, I proposed more articles—and another rejection letter came again.

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

Submitting to Agents

Are you submitting your work to agents?  Bravo!  Hopefully, you will hear good news. But what if an agent is not too eager to take on your project.  How would you be notified? Here are three scenarios:

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.  

3.  The rejection letter with a little note.  These emails are personalized and give advice or a word of support. 

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

Curses! Rejected, again!

Today, author Traci McDonald shares her thoughts on rejection and inspiration.

I can’t stop reading the letter over and over. "We appreciate your submission; unfortunately it does not meet our current publishing needs.” But when the words become branded across my mind, I no longer need to read the rejection again.    

I must be crazy. I am not a writer. I’m a hack, an amateur, a dreamer. What was I thinking? All these thoughts plague my heart and mind as I wipe away bitter tears to hold my manuscript’s wake.

In the backlash of rejection, there is no room for inspiration. I drown in the desperate need to understand what went wrong. I’ve read that lots of published work should have been in the rejection pile. Why did others get published and not me? What can I do if I want to be a writer?  Do I possess the talent to write?  

The things that once inspired me now remind me that I am not good enough.  I am tired—tired of feeling like a failure, tired of being beaten down, tired of my defeatist attitude. Eyes drying and pity party complete, I have two choices. I can believe the doubt and fear and give in to despair, failure, and comfort food, or I can fight back. I can let rejection become my inspiration to work harder, learn more, and try again. I can find out what the publisher’s ‘needs’ are. I can find another home for my work. I can laminate the letter and keep it as a trophy for when I am a published author.

Walt Disney went bankrupt eight times trying to build Disney Land. Babe Ruth struck out more times than he hit home runs. If we believe the nay-Sayers are correct, then they are. If we take rejection and turn it to inspiration, then we are truly authors.

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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!

Book Lovers Blog Hop:
Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!

For the list of Hop Rules visit:

January 10, 2015

Never Give Up

Do rejections make you want to give up on writing?  A lot of writers feel this way from time to time.  When you have spent hours on a writing project, you are hoping for an acceptance.  But when that rejection note comes along, you may find yourself wanting to throw in the towel. 

Although rejections are part of writing/publishing process, sometimes they frustrate and discourage me.  I get downright grouchy about rejection (just ask my husband). 

Some rejections are harder to take than others.  For example, I can’t figure out why one Midwestern educational publisher keeps rejecting my work. Their guidelines state to submit a description of an article in one to two paragraphs.  Since reprints and multiple submissions are permitted, I submitted descriptions of three articles that had been published in respectable magazines.  These pieces have been used as testing passages and in books to improve students’ reading skills.  And yet, all three of the articles were declined.

Despite the rejection, I submitted again to this publisher.  And, more “no thank you” emails came my way.  But this time, the rejection note included a message:  “Your writing was strong and engaging and very close to what we're looking for.”  They even sent examples of the kinds of articles they had published.

So what would you do?  Would you give up or try again?  For weeks, I put off approaching this publisher because I didn't want to set myself up for another rejection. But, I decided to submit once more because this editor appeared genuinely interested in my work.

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

Riding out Rejection

Usually, I have a pretty tough skin when it comes to rejection.  After all, it is part of the writing life. But one particular rejection shook my confidence.  It happened after going to a writers' conference. I pitched my novel to an agent and he requested a partial.  Several weeks later, I sent the first three chapters of my manuscript to him.  When a couple of months passed with no response, I sent a follow up letter.  I never heard a peep from the agent.  That crushed me and made me question my writing talent.

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

The Power of No

How do we feel when we hear the word no?  When a publisher or an agent says no (as in a rejection), it stings us temporarily.  We move on and submit again because rejections are part of the writer's life.  But how do we feel when an acquaintance or a relative tell us no?  Often, we feel miserable for quite a long while.    

People use the word no to assert themselves or to feel superior.  As a result, this little word invalidates our remarks and leaves us speechless, powerless, and crushed.  This is a form of bullying—intimidating someone verbally, through e-mails, or with text-messaging.   

Most writers have experienced rejection from a publisher or agent, but this is not a form of bullying.  It is a method that is used to convey that a submission is not up to standards. However when we deliver the perfect manuscript, that rejection can turn into an acceptance. 

On the other hand, people who habitually say no have developed a trait that can rarely be changed.  Anything we utter (or e-mail or text) will and shall be met with nope.  So, to shield ourselves from being hurt, we can focus on what we can change.  We can steer clear of toxic people.  We can politely limit contact and conversation.  Then when we do so, we can surround ourselves with people who communicate with more respect.     

Coming Feb. 15:  A post on tips for choosing titles 

December 10, 2012

Words of Wisdom

I never attended a seminar led by the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, but if I had, I would have eaten up all of his advice, especially the words of wisdom about dealing with rejection.  For me, rejection often breeds negativity and defeat.  It makes me wonder if I will ever publish a children's book. 

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."
"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."
"There is little you can learn from doing nothing."
"If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost."
"Expect the best.  Prepare for the worst.  Capitalize on what comes."
"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." 

Zig Zagler was born on my birthday, November 6th.  He passed away on November 28th, 2012 at age 86. 

June 15, 2017

Three Reasons for a NF Rejection

You submit an article to a children’s magazine.  Several weeks later, you receive a form rejection. This news sucks.  It's not only depressing, it's vague.  The letter doesn’t explain why your work was rejected.  The chance to re-submit to this market is slim because you don’t know how to improve your article. 

Children's magazines reject articles for a variety of reasons.  Some editors will reject a piece if the research isn't sufficient.  Other editors may find the subject of a submission inappropriate for the age group.  

At Kid’s Imagination Train e-zine, we rarely hand out rejections but if we do, we give an explicit reason for the rejection.  When it comes to nonfiction, there are three top reasons for turning a piece down:  the word count is not within the expected range, an expert review is missing, or the vocabulary and grade level is too advanced. 

If the word count is over 500 words, the writer needs to tighten the piece.  This can be achieved by removing unnecessary words and irrelevant facts.  If the word count is too short, then the author will need to do a little more research and add pertinent and interesting information.

For KIT, all nonfiction requires an expert review.  Depending on the topic, a writer can find experts listed on a university website or a zoological website, or associated with a professional organization. Having an expert review gives the assurance that the research presented in the article is accurate.

Often times, KIT receives articles that are too advanced for our audience.  Our readers are kids ages five through twelve, but sometimes we get pieces that are more for high school students.  Writers can use the Flesh-Kincaid scoring tool ( to calculate the grade level.  If the score is too high, the author can lower the level by turning compound sentences into simple sentences and by using grade-appropriate vocabulary.

KIT doesn’t send out form rejections.  Our philosophy has always been to explain why a piece is not ready for publication.  We offer suggestions for improvement.  Writers who submit to KIT often get a second or even third chance to submit their work again—and this indeed is good news.

I'm excited that my debut picture book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell will be released this summer.  For news and updates, check out: and

February 15, 2018

12 Ways to Avoid Rejection

Why was your children’s story (the one you loved and slaved over) rejected by a magazine editor? Maybe the editor wrote:  it's not right for us or I'll have to pass. These replies make matters worse because you have no clue as to what (if anything) was wrong with your work and you don't have any idea how to revise it. 

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.
 And a few more tips:
  • 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? 

So read over the tips again.  Did you find the reason for your rejection?  If so, revise your work.  But, if your story passes the check list, then simply submit it again to another publication.  What are you waiting for?  You love your story. Find out if a different editor will love it, too.   

I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.

December 1, 2017

Turning Down a Nice Submission

The other day I received a nice submission for KIT.  The author had a remarkable 
bibliography, so I could tell the article was well-researched.  But there were multiple 
reasons why this piece was turned down.  

  • 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.   

It's very possible if this writer had taken a look at our guidelines, a rejection could have been avoided.  

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

Oh, those writers’ guidelines

I've written about following the writers’ guidelines many times on this blog, but the topic is important enough to share again with readers.  

Writers' guidelines help you learn what an editor wants in terms of a submission. They can be usually found on the homepage of a publication. Sometimes, you will have to look in the subheadings labeled "About us" or "Contact."  

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. 

Contact information:
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:  
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.

Cover letter:
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.

You want to get published, right?  Then, always check the writer's guidelines before writing and once again before submitting.  Sometimes, the requirements have been changed.  Make every effort to adhere to the rules.  I guarantee you that following the writers' guidelines improves your chances of publication.

March 1, 2015

Pitching an Agent

Last month, I pitched a literary agent for the first time at the Kentucky Writing Workshop. The night before however, I got maybe two hours of sleep because of a pounding migraine.  Pitching the next day was not going to be easy for me.  But you know the old expression:  the show must go on.

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

spirituality, music, synchronicity
                                                                                                                                                 Photo: Fine Mayer from Pixabay 

Whenever I hear certain songs that play repeatedly or strike a chord with me, I believe spiritual synchronicities are at work delivering a message, providing guidance, or giving reassurance that I'm on the right path.   

The best way for me to explain is through some examples.

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 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! 

* The Kiki Dee Band  

November 19, 2012

Don't Rush Revision

Most people know that I have two submission pet peeves:  improperly formatted bibliographies and articles that fail to follow the guidelines. But another pet peeve surfaced when a writer asked how soon I'd like her revision.   Pet peeve #3:  a revision sent the day after editing suggestions had been made.

I can’t quite figure it out.  Why do writers feel the need to hurry revision?  Are they afraid that they will earn a rejection if it's not delivered quickly? 

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.  

Rushing revision is unprofessional and gives the editor the feeling that you’re desperate.  Put your manuscript away for a few days.  Let it simmer.  Then come back to it with fresh eyes.  Edit it again, if necessary.  And again.   Let someone else read it and make suggestions.  

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

Little Glitches

Recently, I searched for a graduation card that I had squirreled away.  With graduation fast approaching, I wanted to wrap my daughter's gift and add the card.  But the card was nowhere to be found.  I searched the  basket where cards are always kept.  I rifled through the stack three times, but without any luck.  The card had disappeared.  I was crushed. No other one would do.  It was after all, the perfect card.

This little glitch was ruining my day.  I questioned why this had happened.  Finally, after realizing that complaining about it wasn't going to help me find it, I accepted the fact that losing the card was meant to be.  The solution:  to drive back to Target with the hope that an identical card would still be available.  Since I was hell-bent on finding the exact card, I dashed out that very day to buy one.  While I rushed out, I decided I would make the most of my time.  I'd run two errands: one to Target and the other to Macy’s, located just a few minutes away.
"Look out world. Here you come!"

Luckily I found the exact same graduation card.  Perfect!  Amazing!  Unbelievable!  Then I drove over to Macy’s to make a return.  On my way out, I noticed the shoe saleslady who frequently waits on me.  Over time we had gotten to know each other. On the occasions that she fitted me for shoes, she'd often talk about her son's health.  So before rushing back to my car, I stopped to ask about him. She shared with me that he would be needing major surgery soon.  I listened quietly as she described what would be involved.  Before leaving, I told her I’d keep him in my prayers and for this, she hugged and thanked me.

I firmly believe things happen for a reason.  When the graduation card was lost, it put me on the path to connect with an acquaintance who needed some support.  I adopt this belief to my writing as well.  When I get a rejection I try to remember this was meant to be.  I tell myself to consider editing my work or to start searching for another market.  Rejections are little glitches, that if I let them, can ruin my day.  But when I remember there’s probably a good reason for a rejection, then I can move on and focus on what is supposed to happen because of it.

October 8, 2012

Writer's Remorse

Now you’ve done it.  You realize after the fact that you’ve submitted an article to a children’s magazine editor before it was ready.  Of course, at the time of submitting you thought it was perfect, oh so publishable.  So how did you discover the piece went out too soon?  Clue:  Several months have passed and you've yet to hear back from the editor.  

This prompts you to read your article again.  And then that’s when you discover the piece could have been better.  You feel lousy.  Paragraphs could have been constructed more sensibly.  The word choice could have been livelier.  As a whole, the writing could have been tighter.  But it’s out of your hands and now awaits an editor’s decision or at worst, has landed in the rejection pile.

At first, you might feel regret or even embarrassment.  But this is only a little stumble on the path of publication.  It happens.  Though you can’t change the situation, you can have a new outlook. 

Don’t give up on the manuscript.  Review the piece.  Ask yourself what can be improved.  You might need another reader to point out parts that need tweaking.  You may need to read the work aloud and edit places where the pacing is lost or where a reader might trip on the wording.  You may need to overhaul the beginning to hook your audience better.  Or, you may need to wrap up the conclusion with a tie-in to the opening paragraph.

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

Inspiration along the Writing Path

Writing is like riding a roller coaster.  As you know it’s a journey of highs (acceptances) and lows (rejections).   During the low times, it’s hard to stay on the writing path.  Dealing with rejection is incredibly difficult. We wonder if writing is worth all of this despair.  We often ask ourselves: should we give up? Keeping busy with other writing projects can help weather those low times.  But sometimes that’s not enough.  That’s when inspirational quotes may help.  

I hope the following sayings will help lift your spirits, inspire you, and keep you on the writing path.

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: 

Coming May 1st:  Writing on the Left Side of Your Brain

January 31, 2013

Would You Revise?

You’re lucky.  You’ve submitted an article to an editor and instead of rejecting the piece, she offers suggestions for a revision. 

When I had received articles for Stories for Children Magazine and now, when I read submissions for the Kid’s Imagination Train, I try to work with writers so that their work can be improved for publication.   Some writers like this approach, other don’t.  Below are some of the choices that I’ve seen writers make regarding revision: 

1.  They apologize for what they’ve written.
2.  They argue that what they’ve written doesn’t need revision.
3.  They give up on their submission and never get back in touch with the editor.  
4.  They ignore the editor’s suggestions and submit their work elsewhere.
5.  They send the exact piece back, with no revisions (REALLY!)
6.  They take into consideration the editor’s suggestions and try to revise.

While I’m a “hands-on” editor who likes to edit submissions, many editors don’t have the time or the interest to help with revision.  It’s easier for them to send a rejection if a submission isn’t quite right for publication; others may not even respond at all.   

Trust me.  When an editor sends you advice on how to improve your work, take it.  If she has specifically told you what your manuscript needs in order to be published—perhaps more facts, better descriptions, or livelier language are required—then work on those points to improve your submission.  She has made time in her busy day to help you.  Help yourself by taking her advice.