Sunday, May 20, 2012

"no means nothing"

Today I came away from the annual Pennwriters Conference feeling encouraged, energized, and eager to get back to writing. For three days we were connected with like-minded writers, editors, publishers, and presenters, all of whom shared wit and wisdom with us. We learned about the art and craft of writing, about technique and tools of the trade, and about the publishing industry. We were motivated and inspired by the success of authors who started out just like us...meaning that we confronted the issue of rejection.

We learned that even best-selling authors (the ones who make it look so easy) have endured rejection after rejection on the path to eventual success. You may encounter rejection because the agent is having a bad day when your query comes in--his bum knee is acting up, or she just discovered that her husband has been on the prowl, or that the biopsy came back bad.

Perhaps the agency has just taken on a YA paranormal suspense thriller and has no immediate need for yours.

Maybe your book actually is the next "great American novel" but your query letter somehow doesn't make that clear.

Good manuscripts are rejected all the time for reasons that have nothing at all to do with the quality of the work. Bobby Carducci ( explained, "No means nothing!" Her advice is to keep trying. Never give up. Continue to query. Have your work critiqued and be willing to make the necessary changes. Continue to learn the craft. At the right time, with the right person, you will find success. She is certain of it.

My question is this:

If your work is rejected over and over again, how can you be certain of that? For example, I have no talent for math.

No matter how hard I study or practice, I will never understand calculus. I've tried. Similarly, some people truly have no talent for writing and probably shouldn't go on and on wasting their time at it, laziness and arrogance aside. How can a writer know if, in truth, her work is just that bad, that it will NEVER succeed...

...because I think we all wonder about that from time to time.

When does "no" mean "never"?
"No means nothing."
--Bobby Carducci--
I have three MAJOR projects started. I need to decide which one to move ahead on. Hopefully, I will have decided by the time I post again, next week.
ps: Thanks, Bobbi!


  1. It's a question I've often pondered as well.

  2. If you have always longed to write then you should write.

    There's a quote that goes something like - the difference between a published author and an unpublished author is the published author didn't give up.

  3. sue--don't waste too much of your writing time on it :)


  4. Sounds like the weekend was very inspiring. I could have used it.

  5. Jan, the quality of your work is excellent. You don't need to ask the question.

  6. Thanks Dennis. Sometimes, though, you just have to wonder...