Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Right Fit Takes Persistence

By Terry Whalin

Change is the only constant in the publishing world. Its like playing the childhood game of musical chairs. The players are constantly in motion and change positions and roles. Its one of the reasons for writers to read the trade publications which report significant personnel changes. Editors become literary agents. Literary agents change and work for a publisher or they become a freelance editor. These examples are just a couple of the continually shifting landscape. 

As a writer, you have a dream and a desire to publish your words. It takes a lot of perserverance and persistence to find the right publisher for your work. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series is one of the bestselling series in the English language. Most people have forgotten their challenging beginning. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected 140 times before they located a publisher. That is a lot of rejection in the search to find the right fit.

There is only one way your book doesnt get published or your story doesnt appear in print or your book stops selling. Its when you as a writer give up on your dream and stop. 
* You stop meeting new editors at a conference or on LinkedIN or through an online group.
* You stop reading about new publishing houses and new publications. Change can mean opportunity for your book and your writing--if you dont stop.
* You stop pitching your writing or your book to literary agents and editors
* You stop writing a book proposal and query letter. If you havent read my Book Proposals That Sell (The Revised Edition), I encourage you to download the free ebook then read it and take action on the information. 

I dont encourage anyone reading these words to stop but instead to choose to keep going until you find the right fit for your writing. 

Last week I heard a published author with an agent tell about her devotional going out to numerous publishers (40 is the number I recall) and getting rejected. The agent and author could not find the right place to publish this idea. Then one of the editors moved to a different publishing house. This editor remembered the authors pitch and asked for the proposal. It was published along with three additional books. Her persistence paid off with four published devotional books. 

Also last week I met a new magazine editor. One of my friends had written an original story for that magazine and never received a response. Her experience was a common one. When I asked this editor about another editor who attended last year. I learned he was no longer with the magazine. I asked if my friend could resend her article to the publication. The editor said this friend should send it directly to her and use my name with the submission. Will it get published? I dont know if it will happen but now my friend has another opportunity. As with the book author, it takes persistence to find the right fit.

In these articles, Ive mentioned how books pour into my mailbox for possible review and from other authors. The volume is way more than anyone could possibly read but Im grateful for each one and the opportunity. I was sorting books which is an ongoing process to keep them organized and limited so it doesnt overwhelm. In the sorting process, I realized that I had two copies of a book. I reached out to another writer asking if she wanted it and she did. Then I packed up the second copy and put it into the mail. I tell you this little story to ask what is sitting on your bookshelf unused that you can pass along to someone else. No matter where you are in the publishing world--a beginner or a seasoned professional--each of us have opportunity. I encourage you to be aware of it and take action. 

Many writers are following the “Field of Dreams” action plan. Im referring to the movie where they build a baseball field then players and people come to it--even in an Iowa cornfield. Writers believe if they pitch to the right literary agent, their book will get traditional published. They believe if they build a great website, people will come. Or writers have many other fantasy ideas which are not based in reality. You have to actively be looking for the right connection and the right fit through your email, phone calls and much more. When you locate a possibility, take action and explore it. For example, last week I spent a chunk of time reaching out to the writers I met at a conference. One of those people emailed me back which was great. She pulled my email out of her spam or junk folder. What is sitting in your spam folder that could be an opportunity?

Do you see the opportunity in publishers and publications when the personnel changes? If you seize the moment, change can provide a fresh opportunity. How have you learned that it takes persistence to find the right fit? Let me know in your comments.

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