Warning: Trick Question

Posted Date: 16-May-2017

A query letter for your memoir has been sent out to 18 agents without a bite. That’s nothing. Chicken Soup for the Soul received 140 rejections stating Anthologies don’t sell”. 

You know you won’t give up.

However, you’ve turned your manuscript over to a developmental editor, a man for whom you have the utmost respect, for his suggestions before you continue pitching. He has promised to send you his edits by May 15th, but when you touched base with him, he requested an additional week which you immediately granted.

You had set goals with your accountability partner and writers group to revise your query letter based on this professional’s feedback, but until you get his edits, it feels like wheel-spinning and counter-productive to even attempt this exercise. Your deadline with these groups is tomorrow.

Do you force yourself to complete your goal anyway? Because you’re a good girl and you always complete your goals? Or do you give yourself a pass because if it were anyone else, say a friend of yours, you’d offer her compassion and understanding and tell her to go have fun for a few more days until she gets back the new information she needs to continue.

16 thoughts on “Warning: Trick Question”

  1. I think I know the answer! The right action is more important than the goal date. The good girl should go enjoy a few more days until the needed feedback arrives.
    What do I win? 😄

  2. Would you go on a date without the resume of the person you are dating? Would you go to shop for a party without a list? Would you write a query letter without the information you need to make it the very best?

    I’ve decided this submissions business is like dating. Tell them a little about yourself but be sure to show interest in what the other person does. I haven’t been doing that.

    The process is just that: there is no perfect just evolution. Let yourself evolve with the best support possible. No wet noodles. The reality of this work often belies whatever goals we may set. I’m up to 12 rejections – if I were JK Rowling, I’d have 45 more to go before a bite!

    1. @Suzanne – Thank you! I ‘went through’ 100 matches before I found Dave. Why would I expect less for something almost as important as a mate?!

    1. @Sheri – Thank you for the permission! No matter how old I get to be, I still need that OK from someone who knows. Pass accepted!

  3. This reminds me of the toy business. I used to joke that my middle name was “rejection.” As for people not keeping promises as to when they will get back to you… par for the course. However, I just sold something I’ve been trying to sell since 1995!! So you have to keep plugging. I would recommend giving yourself a pass on the goal delivery, but also not to let the editor off the hook too many times!! After I finish writing this, I’m giving someone a fourth nudge to set a presentation date.

    1. @Mary – You are my role model for persistence and revisiting. Congrats on your sale! I’ve always thought you were a genius in the industry. Sounds like the industry has FINALLY taken notice.

  4. Immediate and total response: give yourself the break! Absolutely. If you’re still feeling guilty (even after all these lovely permission-granting comments), read some of the fabulous books you regularly stockpile. Reading Break 🙂

    1. @Diane – As always, I LOVE your advice! I read/listened to This Close to Happy by Daphne Merkin about her depression. Maybe not the best choice 🙂

  5. I would say the delay that is out of your control is the message to pull back, take a deep breath (or two or three) and take the pressure off yourself. Sometimes continued “pushing” is counter productive and builds up more frustration in you. You will circle back after a break and return with a renewed and maybe redirected energy. Hang in there Jane!

    1. @Bonnie – I love what you’ve said about ‘continued pushing.’ I recognize that behavior in my self as ALWAYS counter-productive, but somehow addictive. This was a good opportunity to practice abstention!

  6. Wait until the week deadline appears. If he hasn’t come through, call him and say, “No thank you.”

    1. @Rosalea – It wasn’t a question of his delivering the goods. It was what to do in the meantime. We had our conference call on this Monday, and I’m re-ignited.

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