By Lorraine Beatty
It’s the end of October. Two months since the ACFW conference and the point at which editors are back on track with reading submissions. How many of you sent in the proposals or full manuscripts that were requested? If you have, three cheers. It a scary thing to do but you can’t get published if you don’t submit. Every year I hear editors and agents comment that of all the things they request only a few are ever sent to them.
Those of you who haven’t sent in the requested material – why not? Have you convinced yourself that the editor or agent didn’t really mean it and were just being nice? Or are you worried that your manuscript needs a few more months or years of polishing? Or are you simply afraid to face the criticism that might come?
If you want to be published then submitting your work is part of the process. Like any other job there are parts of the writing life that are enjoyable – writing the book, seeing it in stores and getting that check – but there are parts that are difficult – facing rejection, (yes even after you’ve sold) dealing with revisions, and struggling with rewrites. Even if you self-pub you have to hire an editor to go over your work and they will suggest revisions too.
I confess, even after 18 books I still wither inside when my editor sends revisions. Sometimes I’ll even make my hubby look at the email and read over the comments to soften the blow. I can tell you those feelings are normal. Every author I’ve met feels the same but we’ve come to learn that those edits and comments always make our book better so you develop a begrudging respect for the process.
As writers we cut off little pieces of our heart and weave them into our stories hoping to evoke an emotional connection with the reader. Unfortunately that connection makes the rejections more emotionally painful. It feels personal. But remember they can’t reject you. They don’t even know you. They spent ten minutes with you in an interview then moved on to the next appointment. But something about your one sheet or your story description caught their attention. Hold onto that.
Think of it as an audition. It’s not a you being turned down, it’s that story wasn’t right for them at this point. The way a tall dark actor isn’t right for the role of a short blond pixie.
The Bible tells repeatedly to “fear not”. We’re admonished to not hide our light under a bushel. We reminded that He did not give us a spirit of fear. It’s time to stop saying it and start believing it.
So if you have a dream of being published you have to start the journey through the process and that means sending in the requested manuscript. It’s hard. It’s scary. Don’t let the voices of doubt detour your trip. Yes, they did want you to send in the proposal. No, they may not like it for their line right now. But they might ask to see more of your work. They might also give you some very valuable advice on how to improve your story.
He knows your insecurities and fears but he doesn’t want you to be held captive by them. He gave you the story, now take courage and let it go. Start your journey to publication and you will be amazed at the things you will learn along the way.
Lorraine Beatty is a multi-published bestselling author of over fifteen inspirational books. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio She now calls Mississippi home. She’s the proud grandmother of five and loves to spend time with them when not writing. She and husband Joe love to travel. Her most recent release is A Mom for Christmas.