My first rejections for my first novel manuscript came in this weekend, and I’m glad I have prepared myself for them. Discovering recent posts about rejection (some links to those here) and just being in writing groups for several years and getting a feel of this process was a big plus in the preparation. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for is the actual giddiness and . . . dare I say . . . elation I felt receiving them. For those who’ve done this before, you may never have felt this or don’t remember feeling this. I can only attribute it to me knowing that someone has read my work (other than my friends or my beta readers –which are, for me, friend-adjacent) and commented on it on a professional scale. And – surprise! – they didn’t say it was crap! That makes me feel good. It makes me feel hopeful. And it prepares me for the next wave of submissions and inevitable rejections.
For those who are about to start the query process (or even if you’re in it), here are a few tips and some motivation that may help you through it.
Now that I am on the second wave of queries for my first novel, I’m looking at redrafting my query letter. This is a great tutorial for anyone stumped about writing a query from #WritersDigest.
A literary agent shares a real-life novel pitch that ultimately led to a book deal—and shows you how to query your own work with success.
Source: How to Write the Perfect Query Letter – Query Letter Example
As I was looking over my Facebook Author page activity, I noticed several gems of advice and articles for writers that are only present in the FB world. If you are on Facebook, check out and “like” my Author Page (you can click below or click here to access.)
There are also some great comments only on Facebook for my first Q&A on my “Writer’s Insight” Monthly post. If you missed what Writer’s Insight was all about, you can check that out HERE. If you missed the first Q&A, that’s HERE. And if you want to ask a question for future “Writer’s Insight” posts, then ask it in the comments below.
Q: Can you help me inspire a class of 3rd graders to write? I’d love to promote authorship this year.
A: First of all, what age are third-graders? I’m kidding. No, really? I remember in 3rd grade my teacher would punish us by making us write a sentence a 100 times (Think Bart Simpson), or define 100 words. She also taught us phonics every morning, which is the reason why I don’t sound like I’m from the Backwoods somewhere.
I say that last sentence to say 3rd graders, especially in the digital age, are discovering the wonders of sounds and making music. (Who didn’t take piano lessons or have a friend who took piano lessons when they were around 8?) Why not tie in a lesson about writing their own song (introducing poetry, word rhythms and sentence flow, and talking about language)?
Third-grade kids are starting to understand how they connect with the world around them. Any writing prompts you give should further that exploration. “Write down what you had for lunch yesterday. What do you think an 8-year old had for lunch in Japan? Write a story about eating lunch if you were in Japan/a Japanese student eating lunch here/going to school in Japan/ etc.” (introducing research)
They’re also inquisitive about right and wrong and why we’re supposed to do certain things a certain way. So moral and ethical topics (simple ones) are also good ones to use for writing prompts (their own “lesson-learned” kind of story).
This is also around the time of the simple book report, if I remember correctly. Never forget to connect reading and writing. Good stories don’t just appear; people write them. And you can too, 3rd graders! (Write a story on the same topic about which they read.) Also, writing does not always have to be about story: more now than ever wanna-be journalists and commentators are everywhere, because they have the platform to do it. The book report is the start/exposure of exercising that desire. Also, it’s a good time to talk about ethics in writing.
*Writing Insight: is a Monthly Q&A post on this blog. Have any burning questions about the craft of writing, teaching writing, muses/inspiration or anything writing related? Ask me in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter (links below).
Are you unsure about how a manuscript should look when you submit it to a publisher? These posts detail how a novel manuscript and how a short story manuscript should look when you submit your work to agents and editors. These are awesome guides for the amateur and self-starting writer (like me) who’s using the internet to teach her about publishing:
This one is for short stories:
Thanks to http://meerkatpress.com/ for including this in your submission guidelines.
Also thanks to Cindi Myers (I linked to Meerkat Press from her blog) for helping connect writers with publishers looking for writing.