Welcome our Guest Blogger: Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse!!!!!!!!


I’ll never make it.
I should just quit.
I am a total loser.

Bleak words, aren’t they? Still, a familiar echo to anyone receiving the soul-consuming rejection letter.

A perfectly good day can go sour at seeing, ‘Dear Author’. Our breath cuts off, our chest tightens, the shoulders sag and despair slams us down. We ask ourselves why we put ourselves through this, why we can’t just catch a break.

Unfortunately being rejected (or e-jected) is just another part of the writing gig, like metaphors and modifiers. Rejection is out there, it will come for us at some point. Some letters hurt, others can devastate. All of them challenge our self belief.

Staying positive in the face of rejection is tough. Each time our confidence is scraped, the rejection a message that our writing isn’t good enough to take on, which we translate into meaning WE are not good enough.

Sometimes moving past rejection is as simple as firing out a few more queries, tightening a synopsis or revising that first chapter for the 900th time. Other times, rejection can cause our foundation of determination and self-belief to quake. We feel like we’re letting everyone around us down, including ourselves. Maybe we should face facts and pack it in.

During these black moments, it’s important to find a way to shift our thoughts out of the self-critical mode. This is difficult, but it can be done if we look at the rejection in a different light: as opportunity.

I know what you’re thinking—rejections are closed doors. What opportunity could their possibly be from a ‘sorry, not for me’ type rejection?

There are always things to learn, even from form rejections to queries. The trick is shifting the way you think from the negative to the positive. When a rejection pulls you down, consider these questions:

What does the agent/editor need?
What is my responsibility to them?
What can I learn from this?
How can I see this rejection differently?

Let’s look at each one of these for a sec.

What does the agent/editor need?

The sarcastic answer to this is, ‘Not my work, obviously.’ But if you can set aside the hurt and place yourself in their shoes, there’s insight to be had on their side of the desk. Pretend you are the agent or editor opening this query—what do they need from you? What will make them successful?

They need to see a compelling query, well written with a character and voice that calls to them. They want to find something different, something that peaks their interest & makes it a no-brainer to scribble a note telling you to please forward the book. At the end of the day, this person wants to sign great writers, and they’d like nothing better for this query to make them tingle in anticipation! They need a strong story and polished writing. They want to see a query from someone who has targeted them specifically because of who they represent/publish.

What is my responsibility to them?

It is the writer’s responsibility to write a strong, inviting query that offers enough information to make the agent/editor NEED to know what happens next–not too little, not too much. Give them the shape of it, a strong sense of the character, voice and style. Your best work shows them you are dedicated to this story being published. You do this by slaving over the query, polishing it until it shines as brightly as your belief in the book itself. You also show that you chose them specifically because they are a great fit, not that you spammed them with your query, hoping for the best.

What can I learn from this?

Once again, turn an honest eye to the query. Evaluate whether you satisfied the editor/agent’s needs and fulfilled your responsibilities. Is there something you can do better, or did this query simply hit your ‘good enough’ meter at the time you sent it out? Have you done all the research on the market that you can, do you feel a niggle of guilt over a corner you may have cut somewhere? Did you edit enough, critique enough, tweak enough? Have you done all you can to make this query a success, as well as any materials you sent with it (synopsis, bio, first chapter, etc?)

How can I see this rejection differently?

Of all the questions above, this one is the most important. When depression hits over a rejection, asking yourself this will lead you to a balanced perspective again. Because a rejection is in essence a negative, this question challenges you to find the positive.

Think of the positive things this rejection symbolizes for you, or write them down if you like. First, it shows you had the courage to send out your work. It proves you believed in your story enough to get it published. This leads you to think about how far your writing has come, how your talent has grown, how many stories you’ve written or how long you’ve worked to perfect this one.

Seeing the rejection differently sets you on a path that allows you to re-appreciate your own growth as a writer and your determination to reach your publication goal. How many writers have you helped along the way? How many writers believe in you, cheer you on and know you can succeed? Focus on your strengths and your accomplishments.

Finding the positive in any circumstance can revive confidence, lighten mood and bolster determination. Too, your body responds to positive thinking, helping to slough off despair and doubt. Breathing is easier, tension leaks from the muscles. Posture straightens as thoughts return to moving forward, and what can be done to ensure success. Suddenly the rejection is put back into perspective–one person’s opinion, not a career-ender.

Try this for yourself the next time a rejection hits you hard–it really does work!

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Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman is a Canadian who writes on the darker side of Middle Grade and Young Adult and is a strong believer in writers helping writers. She blogs at the award winning resource, The Bookshelf Muse and is co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, a writing tool which helps writers navigate the challenging terrain of showing character emotion. Covering seventy-five emotions, this brainstorming aid provides a large selection of body language, internal sensations, actions and thoughts associated with any emotional moment.

What’s Up…

Hey Everyone, I just wanted to fill you on in on what is happening in my writing world this coming week. Author interviews, guest bloggers and the winding down of the February Writing Challenge.

On Monday the 11th we will be having a guest blog post and the guest herself will be sticking around to answer and questions or comments that you may have!! Her blog is VERY popular and I am very excited that I was able to convince her to do a post for us!!

Later in the week, the writing challenge will be ending and I am very bummed that we don’t have any entrants yet. So fun and easy, maybe next time.

I will also be posting another author interview toward the end of the week and I love that!! I am always excited to hear from other author’s and what makes them tick and stuff. ha ha

One last thing, you may notice that when I make comments and posts, it may say from, “FRaPS: Family, Relationships and Personal Situations” …no worries, that is still me, but it is for my business (as my writing is for fun) and my company just expanded onto the internet and I will be blogging for them. I love WordPress, but I can’t seem to figure out how to have more than one identity at a time on here. Oh well. Either way it is still me that you are talking to. 😉

 

Guest Bloggers…

Good morning everyone! I have a question for you all and I don’t want anyone to laugh at me, BUT, when you are asked to be a guest blogger on someone else s blog with no “topic”, per say, what on earth do you write about?

Some blogs have pretty specific reasons for inviting you, but others?? What does an elderly person write on a mommy blog? Or a disabled person write on a hiking blog? These questions just keep running through me and I know that I shouldn’t even be worrying about stuff like this, and I don’t “worry”, I just think about.

Do they give you topic choices? Is there a rule of thumb to go by if they don’t? I am just curious. I had someone telling me that she was going to invite me to be a guest blogger on her site…but I have no idea what her blog is about. So I just want to be prepared just in case it is something I am not familiar with.

Thank you for all of your input. 🙂

Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Book Tours seems to be the best way to promote a book of any kind. Do any of you have thoughts on this? I am seriously considering it. It doesn’t even need to be a novel; it could be short stories or novellas or anything really. This is great considering I have yet to put my novel into writing.

So I have eBooks out there and they are selling pretty well, but still not enough to support my family. I need to change that. I am writing and publishing them for free, other than my time, so really it is straight profit from there. I don’t promote them though. Other than this blog, that I literally just started, and it is free, and twitter or Facebook.

So, I need to do some promoting for bigger sales while not taking food out of my family’s mouths. I need the best bang for my buck I guess. This thought brought me to Virtual Book Tours. The site that I am really looking into is Pump Up Your Book and the testimonials are very appealing.

Do any of you have experience with this? Is a three hundred-dollar investment worth it going this route? It sounds like it would be. I mean, just getting my name and the books name out into cyberspace should help, right? I have time to do interviews and guest blogging so that wouldn’t be a problem.

I found quite a few sites that do Virtual Book Tours, but there is just something about Pump Up Your Book that really has my attention. What do you all think? Like I have said before, this is all new to me so any and all advice will be taken seriously.

(and for the record, I have no affiliation with Pump Up Your Book in any way shape or form. I Googled “Virtual Book Tours” and that was just one of hundreds that came up.)

Thank you and I hope you all have a great day!!