First Impressions

You’ve sent in your masterpiece and are expecting a contract in the return email. Instead, you receive a notice that your book has been declined. You stare at the monitor, wondering how this could happen. Didn’t the fool on the other end of the message read the book you’ve labored over for half your lifetime?

Your first instinct is to write back to this idiot and demand to know if they read the whole book. Did they bother to understand the elegant prose? Did they notice how well you blended several different time periods with multiple characters? Where is their head at?

Instantly, your fingers are flying across the keyboard. You’re composing a tart but eloquent email, in which you demand to know why they rejected your book. Aren’t you good enough for XYZ publisher? Are they so stupid that they think they can actually sell books without yours leading their sales?

Without bothering to proofread, you hit send and sit back, satisfied they’ll soon change their minds and send you a contract.

Reality check. You are not Snoopy typing out a sarcastic letter to a publisher. You are Joe Smith, unknown, unpublished author. And you have just made the worst mistake of your writing career.

First, close your inbox. You won’t get a response for a day or two, if then. You’ll be lucky if that response is restrained to let you know your manuscript was thoroughly vetted and it wasn’t right for what they produce.

Second, strike that publisher off your list of potentials for the next time you submit. You will probably never have a chance with them again.

Now, reread the rejection. Was advice offered? If there’s an invitation to resubmit, ignore it. It’s probably no longer in the offing.

What you should do at this point is take any advice offered and move on to the next publisher. Hold your hat in your hand. Lose the arrogance and remember this…

You only have one chance to make a good first impression.


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