Last week, I was inspired by a post from Michael Hyatt titled, The Power of Asking the Right Questions about a friend of his that after a year of being out of work and landing interviews (but no job offers), became discouraged and began asking, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why won’t someone offer me a job?”
Michael reminded me that our minds are powerful tools: what you put in is what you'll get out. By feeding our brain negative thoughts, the results will simply spiral us into self-doubt and despair. Instead, we need to nourish our mind with the right questions, such as, “What can I do to make my interviews more memorable?”
I realized this great advice could also be applied to writers who are all too familiar with rejection letters. When this happens, if you find yourself questioning your writing abilities or consider abandoning your story, then hopefully replacing them with these questions will put you on a more successful path:
“Does my book/query letter need additional editing?” It’s often difficult to be completely impartial on your own work, especially if you’re a first time author. Two things are most critical: your first chapter and the one paragraph summary/description. In today’s world of sound bites and 140 character news snippets, it’s mandatory that you hook your reader in early, using the fewest words possible.
“How can I create attention grabbing text?” If you don’t have a background in marketing, it’s pretty difficult to write a query letter on your own. Maybe all you need are a few techniques and tweaks to get the attention you need? Having these skills will also be necessary even if you sign a book contract. Today, most marketing is the author’s responsibility.
“Should I publish this myself?” If you’re passionate enough about getting your story told, the many rejections could be a sign that you’re simply on the wrong publishing path. Fortunately, it’s never been a more exciting time to choose this option.
How do you remain positive when faced with rejection? What questions would you add to this list? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Okay, I have a friend (no really, it's not me) who self published her book a few years back before it was all the rage, and then got picked up by Barnes & Noble Publishing - every self published author's dream come true, right
?!At the time, I had just started writing my book, Say Bump and Take a Left. How I Birthed a Baby and a Business after a Huge Bump in the Road, and I was imagining all the wonderful success that awaited me: my pick of Agents offering Publishers who fight over the right to publish my manuscript through a six figure advance bidding war
...Now a word from our Reality...My friend started emailing me asking for my opinion on "the new book cover the publishers are using". Frankly, I liked her cover better, and was confused as to why B&N wanted to change it. Didn't they choose her book because it already had success with a brand? Why would they throw that away? And that was just the beginning as my friend emailed often with changes being made to her book (along with her disappointment). But, at least she had her advance, and the publishers would be taking over the marketing, distribution and sales, right?WRONG!
She still markets her book, even today, and she still distributes and sells the version of her book she already self published
and printed in bulk (prior to the advent of POD), because, of course she isn't going to just throw them away!Lessons:3.
You accept that advance and sign your name on the dotted line, and you lose all control!2.
You are still totally responsible for marketing your own book (aka sales)!1.
Who's baby is this anyway?I thought, "This won't happen to me...(eyes glazed over slipping back into the pick of agents, 6 figure bidding war dream) they will love my book just as I've written it!)
So, I finished my book, and started sending out query letters.And more query letters...And more query letters...Sound familiar?I was despondent.
I really, really
didn't want to learn another profession all over again - I did that with MommyLoves - and I readily and gladly told everyone so when they suggested self publishing. Oh, how bitter my words tasted. If I really wanted my book to go out into the world proclaiming my little, '
2 broken legs while 8 months pregnant' life lessons, I was going to have to self publish.Enter stage left, big sigh, and dig in...I did it...Had a wonderful friend (who also happened to be a professional copy editor) edit my manuscript...Made changes, and edited again...Made more changes, including the title, and had a cover created with one of my own pictures...Learned how to format for all online readers. I self published, and never looked back.Back to the Number One Lesson I learned above ~ It's My Baby!Three months ago, I had an amazing experience with one of my readers. A gentleman who read my book, contacted me to tell me how profoundly my words had touched him and his wife. He thanked me, tearfully, for writing my experiences, and said that he and his wife were rearranging their life goals to have one of them stay home with their infant son and raise him, rather than working to pay a nanny to do so.I cannot express how touched I was by the knowledge that my words had so greatly impacted another life - three lives, actually. I wonder, would the impact be the same had a publisher taken control of my baby and sent it out into the world with their message?Who will determine the message your baby tells the world?
Mary Kathryn JohnsonAuthor ~ Entrepreneur ~ MomSay Bump and Take a LeftMary's Blog
Writing is a solitary activity.
When you are ready to publish, you still feel like you are alone, because the traditional publishing world is blocked by iron-clad doors with thousands of locks to which there seem to be no keys. So, you decide to self publish. Where do you start? Do you now need to add 'editing', 'cover art', 'formatting', and 'marketing' expert to your 'author' title? Just do a Google search, and you are surrounded by the noise of this new world of self publishing.
Take a deep breath. It's not as difficult, or as easy as it may seem. There are some specific steps you need to take to establish your credibility as an author, and have readers begging for more of your written work. Here are a few:
~ Please . . . Please have your manuscript professionally edited by someone outside your family!
~ Rewrite your book based on the recommendations you receive from the editor. If the advice you receive goes against your instincts, you decide whether or not to take it, but I suggest you seek another edit from a new source. If this source says the same thing as the first, REWRITE!
~ Have your reworked manuscript edited again.
~ Based on the new version of your book, see if your title still fits, and change it if it doesn't.
~ Have two professional covers created in the correct size and format - one for eBook and one for POD (Print On Demand).
~ Have your manuscript professionally formatted for eBook and POD software.
~ Secure a domain name and create a website for your new "Author" persona. In this electronic age, this step is a must to attract readers and have a professional place for them to congregate around your writing.
Now you can self publish and put your written work out into the world for all to see. Are you ready . . . scared . . . excited . . . impatient . . . ?
That is why Help Me Self Publish exists! I felt the same way when I self published!Welcome to the self publishing bridge. Let's cross it together.
Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom