Friday, March 28, 2014

Be The Exception

This past weekend I was speaking in Spokane, Washington at the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference. It was my first time at this terrific event and the fourth year for this conference. 

Besides giving a couple of workshops, I met throughout the day with various writers to speak with them about their book projects and to guide them about what they can do next to achieve their dreams.

I love this opportunity to hear about different books and help them learn more publishing. I heard about some wonderful books for different target audiences. In each case, I gave the author my business card and encouraged them to send me their material so we can consider publishing it at Morgan James. While I know our program isn't right for every author, our company has many unique benefits which I stressed during the meetings.
I've been meeting with authors at these conferences for years and here's what I understand: few of these authors will carry through and actually send me their material. If they do, then they will be the exception. I'm actively looking for terrific authors that I can champion to my publication board and get them a book contract. For the last two years, I've been sending contracts to authors almost every week.
Yes we receive many submissions at Morgan James (over 5,000 each year) and less than 3% of those submissions are actually contracted and published. It's a long shot for every author—but here's the reality: you can't get published if you don't send in your proposal or part of your manuscript. You have to take action as an author to achieve your dreams.
During the conference, I saw a woman who looked familiar. Over a year earlier, we had met at the Seattle conference and talked about her book idea. She reminded me of the idea and I expressed my continued interest to champion this author and her idea.
“What happened to your book?,” I asked.
“Oh, life got in the way and I haven't sent it anywhere,” she admitted.
This sort of situation happens much more frequently than you would think. People are amazed at my number of published books (over 60) or the number of magazines that I've had articles published (over 50–-I stopped counting a long time ago).
This type of publishing success does not come from being the best writer in the room or the most skilled communicator. I am persistent and I do follow through on the open doors. If an editor says to me, “That's a good idea. Write that up and send it to me.” Then I take that editor's statement at face value for the opportunity. I go home, write up the material and send it to the editor.
Yes I get rejected and not every one of my submissions get published. Rejection is a part of the process of finding the right opportunity at the right time at the right place. Yes a number of rights need to line up for that opportunity to happen.
You can't get published simply cranking out the material on your computer and leaving it there. You have to take action and follow-through and send it to the editor. If you do this simple step, you will be the exception and give yourself the best possible chance for success.
You have to do the work and craft an excellent manuscript. Writing is hard work and takes a lot of effort from you as an author. But you have to take one more step—connect with an editor and follow-through on what they requested.
I'm hoping you will be one of those authors in the small percentage who actually send in their material and get their books into print. It is possible for you if you will be the exception.

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