Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

Writer Cautions: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

Announcement: Today’s post is by Karen Saari, it’s the 3rd place winner of the “You Deserve to be Inspired” writing contest! She’s won an Amazon gift card and a full scholarship to the “Writer’s Crushing Doubt” online course. Congratulations, Karen!

I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to sit at my desk and write stories left and right, mailing them to publishers hot off my printer. I’m good enough to be able to do it too. (I told myself)

I’m also a quilter. I make quilts, design them and write the instructions. At the time I was more of a quilter than a writer. I had come up with a book idea and decided to complete a proposal packet from a publisher who specialized in craft books. That alone was hard work.

They asked me for a sample Introduction Chapter. It was supposed to talk about where you got your inspiration, and how you developed your idea. And I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t know. I just got the idea. It’s not like I was in the South of France watching the waves and it came to me.” So, I started by writing a little story.

Of course the story grew and grew until I had a chapter of the story, for every quilt in the book. There was no other quilt book like this. I was suddenly very excited about my idea. I knew a writer had to have a lovely collection of rejection slips before they could hope to be published. I was just going to start my collection with this book proposal. I wasn’t hopeful at all.

Some weeks later, my sister was visiting and we had planned a lunch for all of the ladies in our family. As I pulled out of the driveway, I stopped to check the mail. And there was a large manila envelope from the publisher. I was crushed. I wanted to enjoy this lunch with my family and now I had this rejection slip. I opened it and dropped my teeth. They wanted to publish my book!

I drove to my lunch and I couldn’t wait to share my news.

I’ve heard it said many times that your first proposal will be rejected. Your first submitted story will be rejected. Your first everything will be rejected. It’s not true! Your first story has a chance of being accepted. How can you make that happen?

  • Do your homework. Make sure you’re submitting to the right publisher for your content.
  • Take their proposal packet, or query process very seriously. Do everything they ask you to do, very well, but nothing more. Don’t be cute.
  • Invest in your own future. Hire a good editor to go through your story/book/query letter.

If you simply cannot afford to hire an editor, go to the library and find books on self-editing. Or do a search for self-editing.

I designed each quilt and wrote the directions. I needed help making all the quilts, and a few of my quilter friends stepped up. I wrote the story for each chapter. It was a lot of work. The final product – my book – was beautiful! I couldn’t believe this was my book. My baby!

Trying to continue my momentum, I asked my editor about doing another book. She was positive they would publish another book from me because mine had done so well. It even had a second printing. I worked up another proposal, and turned it in. They rejected the idea. Ah well – at least I had my coveted first rejection slip!

I worked up another proposal, and turned it in. They rejected the idea. Ah well – at least I had my coveted first rejection slip!

The “Writer’s Crushing Doubt” online course is open for enrollment until 11 June. Check it out here.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins
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  • Anne Marie Claes

    Congratulations Karen with your article and price! I am glad for you that your first book wasn’t rejected. It must feel good 🙂 I like your sense of humour about the rejection slip.

    • Thank you Anne Marie, it was quite an exciting day! 🙂

  • 4 Season’s Farm

    Congratulations Karen on your prize and having your book published! Enjoy your writing course.

    • Thank you 🙂 l’m looking forward to the course!

  • Congratulations Karen! A well deserved recognition!

  • Conratulations Karen!