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10 Ways To Wallpaper Your Office In Rejections (and how to prevent it)
by Kathryn Lay
Everyone has heard the saying, "I could paper my
walls in rejection slips." If thats your decorating plan, its easy to do. Or,
you could do the opposite and paper it with acceptance letters.
1. Dash off a quick query letter. Make sure that
in your letter you beg the editor to read your article, bribe them with cookies
squeezed into the envelope, and let them know that your Mom loves the story
(Alternative: Create an enticing, exciting,
well-thought out query that makes the editor want to see your article or book.
Let your writing, idea, and credentials speak for themselves).
2. Start with the As. Dont research for the
best publisher, just keep sending your manuscript or query out to everyone under
A, then move on to B name publishers.
(Alternative: Spend time researching the market
for your type of idea, article, story, or book. Study similar pieces and learn
the name of the editor).
3. Your story or article is great the way it is
and you dont want anyone telling you to change anything. Never let anyone read
your work before you mail it out.
(Alternative: Join a critique group. Be open to
suggestions from other writers and listen, consider, and rewrite).
4. Assume that you know best what the magazine
wants. Youve been a reader for a long time, so make sure and send in your
completed article whether its what they usually buy or not. Let the editor know
you think they need a change and your piece is just what they need.
(Alternative: Be flexible and send a query
first. Maybe the editor will like your idea, but not your slant. Maybe she will
want different experts or require them if you havent suggested using them in
your piece. A flexible writer is one an editor comes back to again and
5. Send an epic when they want a skit. The
magazine may say they want stories from 1000-1500 words, but they just dont
know how wonderful your 6,000 word story is unless they read it. After all,
their guidelines arent written in stone, are they?
(Alternative: Believe that editors mean what
they say. Dont send a manuscript if they want a query. Keep to word counts.
Always send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. Make an editors life easy and
theyll remember you.)
6. Guess your facts. Who will know? You are
pretty sure you heard somewhere that all dogs are color blind, but you cant
remember if its a myth or a fact. But since lots of people say so, its
probably true so just put it in that way. If its wrong, an editor will fix it.
(Alternative: Talk to experts when you are
stating facts or statistics. Keep records and contact information. Your editor
will probably check up on these things and will know if its been guesswork on
7. Make sure you work stands out. How about a
cool looking font? If you print in 8 point you can get more on a page, or in 16
point your editor can read it really well. What about a colored envelope or cute
drawings on the corner of your query letter? Getting noticed is your first line
(Alternative: Keep everything professional. Use
12 point, Courier or Times New Roman, and stay away from the hot pink and
eye-popping purple stationary and envelopes. Your ideas and writing should be
what stands out.)
8. Bug the editor. Check every week on the
status of your work. Gosh, if its online, they should be faster, so email them
every day in case they forget you.
(Serious alternative: Never harass an editor. If
your idea has been on their desk for a lengthy period of time, perhaps 2-4 weeks
beyond their listed response time, send a polite letter or email, then give them
another 2-4 weeks to answer. When you decide to withdraw your manuscript, be
tactful and dont burn your bridges.)
9. Send your first draft. After all, its
straight from your heart. If they like your idea, then its time to dash out the
manuscript and send it in immediately.
(Alternative: Look over any ideas they might
have mentioned for changes in your original query. Think about the best way to
set up, research, and write down your article. Keep your promises. If you
promise 101 Ways, dont give 85. Let your writing cool and take a fresh look at
it before dropping it in the mail or hitting that send button.)
10. Send out dozens of copies of your story or
article to every magazine you can think of at once. Youre not getting any
younger and you cant afford to wait 3 months to hear back.
(Alternative: Keep accurate records of when and
where youve sent your writing. Unless its time sensitive, give the editors a
chance to get to, read, discuss, and consider your piece. Dont be afraid to
follow-up, and then send your piece elsewhere if you get no response. Instead of
shooting one manuscript 20 places, try working on another while the first is
being considered. And another, and another, and another.)
Your office doesnt have to be papered in
rejection slips. Think of the alternative instead. And find some soothing
wallpaper for the office.
© Copyright 2004, Kathryn Lay
Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through firstname.lastname@example.org
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