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Buried in the Slushpile

Today I did that scary thing all authors have to do at some point if they ever plan to publish their work (regardless of whether they go the traditional or indie publishing route). I opened myself up to rejection. In my specific example, I submitted to an agent. Now, submitting to a single agent is not exactly a huge feat. But she is just the first of I suspect many, and with each submission the chance for rejection exists. (The chance for acceptance also exists. We must stay positive.) So why did I take so long to submit? Well partly, because last year I had to conserve my energy. Working on others people work with CBAY was more important to me than getting my own work out. Now that I feel better I can prioritize both CBAY and my own stuff. So what was the pep talk I gave myself as I sent my things into the wide world?

  1. The worst that can happen is that they might say no. True, this is the very definition of rejection, but to paraphrase one of my brilliant writer friends who just signed with an agent: I’m no worse off than before I queried.
  2. They can’t say yes if I don’t ask. Let’s face it. The agents are not going to coming looking for me or you. We have to let them know we have something to offer. They are neither omniscient nor omnipresent. They have to know we exist.
  3. This is not a personal rejection. This isn’t a statement on me as an author or even on my writing. It’s a statement on whether or not the agent is passionate about my work.

Of course, once we decide to submit, we have to keep it organized .  To get a blank version of the checklist I use before sending out a query, click here.

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