Sunday, October 10, 2010

Running Into A Brick Wall With Your Writing

Are you sending your query letters to magazine editors and only hearing silence? Or maybe you are trying to get a literary agents attention and your submissions seem like they are disappearing in a black hole because you receive no response. You are not alone in that feeling. Experts estimate that during any given moment, there are more than a million book proposals and pitches circulating in the publishing world.

It's easy to understand if you've ever visited an editor or agent in their office. Many people only know their editor or agent from the phone or email but I've been in a number of these offices over the years. Often I've seen stacks of paper submissions and manuscripts. Now that many of these submissions arrive electronically, it's not as visual but the information is still stacked into someone's email box for consideration. It is not surprising that files are lost or misplaced. In this "hurry up and get it done yet done right" world, it is important to build relationships with editors and agents when you see them at conferences. That relationship could be the difference whether your email or submission is read or ignored.

Here's three keys to moving beyond this roadblock to your writing:

1. Understand some things about rejection. I've written about it in other entries in The Writing Life. The reason for rejection may have nothing to do with you. Your responsibility as a writer is to simply persist and continue perfecting your craft and looking for the next opportunity to get published--large or small.

Whenever I feel like I'm running into a brick wall with my writing, I re-read James Scott Bell's article, Rejecting Rejection. Notice what he writes toward the end, "I wrote for three solid years before selling anything. I wrote a small landfill of stuff—novels, screenplays, plays, articles, essays, jingles, poems and shopping lists. Part of this was my dues; I was learning the craft of being a writer. I was also learning the discipline of production, sitting down each day and doing a certain number of pages. This was invaluable education and training."

Are you willing to write "a small landfill of stuff" and persist for three years before selling anything. Jim Bell's discipline to the craft has paid off in his current writing and success of his fiction. You can follow the same well-trod path.

2. Open A New Opportunity. Are you attempting to write a 100,000 word novel and not finding anyone to read it? Or is your poetry not getting published? No matter what type of writing you are doing, here's the simple idea: try another type of writing.

If you are looking for a list to spur new types of writing, I recommend you read the free excerpt from my book Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. This chapter includes an extensive list of the various types of writing. You may discover that you have a bent toward something completely off your radar. If you try it and find success, then keep writing that type of material. It may be just what you need to move your writing in a new direction. Head over to this location and download this excerpt. Print it out, highlight and study it.

3. Begin To Create and Sell Your Writing Online. This third option may be outside of where you are thinking. I've written for more than 50 print magazines and published more than 60 books with traditional publishers. You may know that I have thousands of pages of free content online which has helped many people. While I am committed to the traditional forms of writing such as books and printed magazines, there are other types of opportunities for you as a writer online. I'm not talking about blogging or some other means where you give away your information. I'm suggesting you create and sell how-to information.

There are several reasons for moving in this direction with your writing. First, how-to information continues to sell online and there is great opportunity for you to sell your specialized information. Second, it is something you can do on your own with a shoe-string/ minimal financial investment. Third, you will be paid much more rapidly for such effort than through traditional print media. If you write for magazines, they are typically at least 30 to 90 days away from payment after acceptance. If you write books, typically you receive a modest advance then earn any additional funds on your royalties. Many traditional publishers pay once a year or four times a year (quarterly) at best. If you create and sell information online, the customer pays for it and you receive the money in your account. There is no middle man to hold then give you the funds. If you use a paypal button, then the funds go immediately into your paypal account.

Here's the best help I can give you to start this process of creating and selling online information. Last month, I interviewed my friend, Bob Bly. For everyone who registers, Bob gave a 52-page special report: How to Make $100,000+ A Year Selling Simple Information Online In Your Spare Time. This teleseminar was recorded and you can have immediate access to this report and the recording at www.AskBobBly.com. For the question, put "no question." You will reach the replay page and have immediate access to this recording and free special report. Listen to the teleseminar since Bob gave great details in this session. Then study the special report and apply it to your own writing.

Take action on this third key and it could change your writing forever. I know it has for me and I continue to work on my online promotion.

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