Friday, November 18, 2016

That’s Not Why You’re Getting Rejected

I keep hearing the same misinformation, so I want to address it. You don’t need connections to get a book deal. You don’t need publishing credits to get a book deal. You don’t need to live in New York to get a book deal. If your novel keeps getting rejected, it’s not for one of these reasons.

How do I know this? Well, I got a book deal without any connections or impressive credits. I didn’t live in New York, and I didn’t travel there for conferences. I never met my agent or editor in real life before signing my contract.

This wasn’t a fluke. I’ve spoken to a lot of other authors, both face-to-face and online, and my situation was pretty common. Agents and editors like debut authors, and because everything’s done online these days, location doesn’t matter.

Nevertheless, I keep hearing these misconceptions.

Some people might have outdated information. I’ve heard that, in the past, writers were advised to develop some credentials writing short stories before seeking a book deal. Location may have mattered more in the past, too.

I think there’s another reason behind the misinformation, though. Nobody likes being rejected. If people can blame something that’s outside their control, they might feel a little better. I get that.
The problem is that this type of excuse making can keep people from the fixing the real problem, which is in their control.

If your novel keeps getting rejected, it’s not because you don’t know the right people, have the right credits, or live in the right place.

It may be because your query needs work. Do more research on queries and seek feedback.

It may be because your writing needs work. Work on your craft and, again, seek feedback.

It may be because your novel is difficult to market. Maybe you’re writing a genre that everyone’s sick of. Maybe your plot doesn’t stand out. Maybe you’re not following the standard conventions for your chosen genre. If the problem is severe, you may need to start over with a new book—and that’s okay. 

Once you identify the problem, you give yourself the power to fix it.