Monday, February 18, 2013

Seize Your Opportunity

Last week a writer told me about working on her book project for months at a stretch. I asked a few questions about it and learned it had not been published. 

Our correspondence was on my personal email address and not my work email. I seized the opportunity and told her about my work at Morgan James. As an acquisitions editor, I'm actively looking for well-written nonfiction and fiction to champion to our publication board. We receive about 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 150 to 200 books.

If you look at those numbers, you can see there is a limited opportunity for you to succeed and a 97% chance your material will be rejected.

Yet if I champion your book (that means I promote and pull for it with the publication board), then you “could” get a book contract from Morgan James. One of the exciting aspects of my work is each week I send book contracts to authors and help them through this aspect of the publishing process.

For the writer in my opening paragraph, I moved our interaction from my personal email address to my work email. Then she would have my Morgan James information and it would be clear where she could send her manuscript. I found her response “interesting.” She wrote, “Let me think about it and get back to you.”

It was a fair response and hopefully she will send me her material for consideration. It is not the response, I would encourage you to do as a writer. If you get an opportunity and request from an editor to submit your material, I encourage you to seize it.

You should be aware when you send your material out into the market, you will get rejected. Welcome to publishing because it happens to everyone. I love this article from bestselling novelist James Scott Bell called Rejecting Rejection. He makes four solid points in this short article and it will help you get over rejection and move forward.

To succeed in publishing, you are looking for the right connection at the right time and the right place with the right material. I understand I overused the word “right” in that previous sentence. If you aren't in motion, then that connection will never happen. The old saying is true: you can't sell a manuscript that remains in your desk drawer or in your computer. It only sells when it gets into the right hands.

One of my writer friends wants to find a literary agent. Into his busy schedule, he has researched and located 46 possible agents. He individualized each submission and in early January sent out the submission packages. As of about a month after that submission, he wrote saying he had received 22 responses. Twenty of those responses were rejection. Two agents requested his manuscript and 26 agents had not responded.

I admire the tenacity and persistence of my friend to find the right agent for his novel. He doesn't have it figured out yet he continues to work toward his goal.

Are you seizing opportunity? Are you knocking on new doors or old doors with new material to get the attention of an agent or an editor? If you are working on a book, are you also writing shorter magazine articles and seizing that opportunity to reach an audience?

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1 Comment:

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Audrey Left a note...

Terry, thank you for this post. It's what I need to read right now. Rejections are hard, and sometimes it actually seems easier (and kinder to my psyche) to simply not submit. But, I know that reasoning is flawed and I understand that it only stands in the way of my writing journey. I must write...but I must also submit. Again, thanks!


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