Have you ever considered that finding a publisher is just like dating? Oh, it is so similar, and the rejections feel just as sharp!

Well, folks I’m back at it in more ways than one! This is my first blog post back for the year (excuse my tardy start, the holidays and the back to school frenzy had me floored!), but I’m also back to writing. I’ve started my latest manuscript… and I’m back to finding a publisher (after submitting the 2019 manuscript late last year)…

Yikes! Yes, it’s true. In the vein of ‘authenticity’ online, I’ve received a couple of rejections over the past months and they’ve varied between encouraging to confusing… But, this path is no different to anyone else wanting to make it in the arts or business. So, no pity party for me! 

I have taken the time to assess the feedback, think about my manuscript from their perspective and also, consider other options — as the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat!

And I couldn’t help but draw a conclusion that getting published is just as tricky as dating!

It’s not you, it’s me…

One of the loveliest emails I got back from a publisher was that I actually have a good writing style that’s of ‘high quality’ (phew!), but that the timing for them isn’t right. They already have lots of new writers and similar stories, so much so, I probably wouldn’t get a look in with them for at least two years!

Publishers receive so many submissions they could spend every day of the next decade reading them and doing nothing else! So, a story really needs to stand out and present as something different to the ones they already have on their shelves.

I take heart that I’ve written something interesting, that I can do it, but that the timing isn’t right.

What someone likes about you, another might not…

This has been tricky to accept but just like tastes in ice-cream, sometimes what an author presents just isn’t to the taste of the publisher or the house they work for.

I had one publisher say the loved my style, humour and details, while another said they weren’t fond of quips and wit in the way I had used them. Ouch!

So, that example alone shows you that you, your writing or your genre might simply come down to literature preferences. Don’t become vanilla if you consider yourself to be mint choc chip! 

There are plenty more fish in the sea…

While I do feel like I’ve been ‘swiped left’, I think that, perhaps, sometimes getting published is a numbers game — that blend of luck, timing and opportunity.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have definitely received some valuable advice that has already shaped my writing style and I have applied some of it to my manuscripts, but just because a handful of publishers have said ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ doesn’t mean it’s game over.

In fact, taking rejection on board has made me consider other publishers in Australia, overseas opportunities and pushed me to explore self-publishing too.

When I worked in public relations I hated making phone call after phone call to the media outlets to get the publicity we’d promised our clients, but I did it. My boss at the time almost thrived on hearing ‘no’ because she would just say ‘I’m going to look for another way in’. 

I think the same attitude can be applied to becoming a published author — if you get a no, move on. Find the publishing avenue that is right for you! If this is what you really want — like I do — then, your true match awaits!

J x

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