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AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 03:12 AM
I think there's something wrong with me. I am afraid to send my books out for publication. How can I cope with this?

Michelle Hoppe
01-18-2007, 03:19 AM
Maybe you could start by listing the reasons you are afraid. It's easier to overcome a fear once you shine some light on it. If you're comfortable post them here, maybe others have had the same fear and figured out a way to step beyond it.

Cath
01-18-2007, 03:20 AM
It's a fear many of us face, writerdog. The only way to deal with it is to stick the envelope in the post-box and wait for the reply.

Understanding exactly what you're afraid of is a good start - is it that your work isn't good enough? or that someone will reject it?

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 03:23 AM
It's a fear many of us face, writerdog. The only way to deal with it is to stick the envelope in the post-box and wait for the reply.

Understanding exactly what you're afraid of is a good start - is it that your work isn't good enough? or that someone will reject it? I think it is the rejection. Mom keeps telling me not to worry. They would be rejecting my book, not me. I guess I do not know if I can handle it. I have never had what people refer to as that second skin.

Arisa81
01-18-2007, 03:35 AM
Funnily enough, I'm not afraid of the rejection. I am (well not so much anymore) afraid of acceptance! My reason for that was, if the piece were accepted, I would start freaking out about what people thought about what I wrote. Would they think I was stupid? etc. that doesn't happen much anymore though. It sounds silly I know, but that is the complete truth. Just wanted to share my fear with ya.

Cath
01-18-2007, 03:40 AM
They would be rejecting my book, not me. I guess I do not know if I can handle it.
You're right - it's your book they'd be rejecting - NOT YOU! Always remember that.

A rejection isn't the end of the world. If one person doesn't like it, you just send it out to someone else and start working on something better. And the more you collect, the easier it gets. Honestly.

Cath
01-18-2007, 03:42 AM
I am (well not so much anymore) afraid of acceptance!

:Shrug: Can't help you with that one. :D

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 03:43 AM
Like I said, I don't have the extra skin.

Shadow_Ferret
01-18-2007, 03:45 AM
I think it is the rejection. Mom keeps telling me not to worry. They would be rejecting my book, not me. I guess I do not know if I can handle it. I have never had what people refer to as that second skin.

As John Cale sang, "Fear is man's best friend." Not sure what that has to do here, but there you are.

I know exactly how you feel. I've felt that way for years. It's why I've not much to show for my writing career. Fear has cost me many valuable years of my writer's life.

Don't let the same thing happen to you. Submit. The worst that can happen is you get a rejection. So what? That's their loss and is no reflection on you as a person. You send it out again. And again. And while you're at it, you send out another story. And another. The more stories you have going out the better your chance for acceptance.

The only way to get accepted is by submitting.

Don't let fear win.

Cath
01-18-2007, 03:47 AM
Writerdog - I do understand, but sometimes you can't develop another skin unless you open yourself up to rejection. You'll then realize that you can survive it, and next time it's not so difficult.

maestrowork
01-18-2007, 03:59 AM
It's not uncommon. I wrote about that a while ago. We have fear of failure (what if they think I stink?), fear of success, and everything in between. We fear that we'll be discovered as frauds.

But do ask yourself this question: What's the worst thing that could happen if you do send them out? You get rejected -- they do say you stink. So? You're still not published, just like you are now. So what's the difference?

The difference would be: You get to improve by doing it. You now have the bragging right to say "I DID IT" instead of sitting on your hands like many others. Many people talk about doing something and they never do. Do you want to be one of them?

And how do you know if your writing is up to standard if you NEVER send them out? There are worse things than someone not liking your writing: never knowing one way or another.

Print it out. Put it in an envelop. Address it. Put a stamp on it. And send it out.

Then forget about it.

And keep writing.

greglondon
01-18-2007, 04:14 AM
I think there's something wrong with me. I am afraid to send my books out for publication. How can I cope with this?

No, you are well inside the bell curve. Congratulations, you're normal.

How do you overcome it? Depends on how you relate to fear. Do you just push through fear, like jumping out of an airplane skydiving? You might ask yourself if avoiding rejection is worth giving that up whatever reason you wrote the book in the first place. Or you might look at the process as a trial by fire that will make you stronger in the end. Just submitting in the face of your fear, whether you get published or not, means you overcame your fear and became a stronger person for it. Or you might note that this fear is completely normal for authors and therefore you should continue on to the next thing that's completely normal for authors and submit.

Or, maybe you can invoke Nike and "Just submit it" with no mental gymnastics.

Whatever works for you, pick that one. and then no matter how it turns out, submit your work.

blacbird
01-18-2007, 04:16 AM
But do ask yourself this question: What's the worst thing that could happen if you do send them out

The end of the Universe as we know it.

It might not be connected with sending out the manuscript, but it could happen, anyway.

caw

tenpenynail
01-18-2007, 04:22 AM
You are so right-on! I am afraid of both failure and success. But now, I don't let that stop me.

At first, I was afraid to send out my book because it is so personal. It is a memoir--so I felt it was me. But you know, it isn't me. It's my story--written by me--but it's not me. And some people will like it and some won't. And as a rule I've gotten very nice rejection letters!!! I know that sounds strange, but most aren't form letters. They say they think I write well, it's a good story, just too big for them right now.

I try and send out 2 queries for every rejection I get--haha--and that keeps my hat in the ring.

As for success, I think I used to be afraid of all the legal stuff--but now I know I can get advise and if needed, hire an attorney.

GO FOR IT!!! I'm still researching Self-pub--whilst sending out queries galore.

Let's hope it a publishing year for everyone on this thread. Hear! Hear!

blacbird
01-18-2007, 04:37 AM
There are worse things than someone not liking your writing: never knowing one way or another.

Everyone not liking it is another.

I'm in somewhat the same place right now, but at the other end of the chain. For me, the block against submitting isn't based on the as-yet unknown, but on the known. On a loooooong stretch of nothing but rejections, for a whole bunch of things. The futility of it all has got me pretty down. I wrote a 2500-word therapeutic essay about it just a couple of nights ago. Nobody will want to read that, either.

caw

maestrowork
01-18-2007, 04:44 AM
Are you sure that of the 6 billion people in the world, no one will like it?

badducky
01-18-2007, 04:56 AM
In this case, what you need is a good set of beta readers. Do you know any good writer groups in your area?

ChunkyC
01-18-2007, 05:01 AM
The first time I got rejected it stung, sure. But like everyone has said, it's the book, not you. They don't know you. And there are many reasons why they might reject it, some that have nothing to do with your writing ability. Their list is full, they may have taken a similar book recently, the particular editor prefers books somewhat different than yours, and so on.

One thing is certain, you'll never get accepted if you don't send it out. :)

Tallymark
01-18-2007, 05:24 AM
I'm currently applying to grad schools; just sent out the last of the applications. And sending them out is terrifying, because I'm absolutely positive I won't get in, or at least, that I won't get in with enough funds to actually attend.

But, if I don't apply at all, then I definately won't get in.

So, the worst that can happen is that they say no and I don't go to grad school, and my fate is the same as if I had not applied at all, except that I know I'd better up my scores and beef up my resume and my application before I try applying again some other year. The best that can happen is they say yes.

I'm done beating you over the head with the analogy now. But still, really, there's no negatives at all to applying, except a little slap to the ego, which is something you just have to take into perspective--most people hear no the first time around. Which means you make it better for next time. The positives for applying are infinate.

Now, I've got the opposite problem, in that I'll revise for ever and ever, certain that it's not ready yet, and so never get around to submitting (which is why I guess its a good thing those applications had deadlines XD ).

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 05:32 AM
The ironic thing(for me anyway), is I have been published several times before. I did it then. What has stopped me now? I realize only I can answer this, but I feel whatever the answer has been masked someplace within my head.

Pamster
01-18-2007, 05:35 AM
I understand that fear, I too was afraid and I guess that is because I might be irrationally thinking that I am a failure at other things, pretty much everything else but writing so that if I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag and was not able to get published that would be bad, and that would reflect on me. I know I am not a failure or anything, I am just saying it feels like it sometimes. I have to believe my writing is worth something because of all that has happened in my life.

I mean as much as an accident can disrupt a person's life this accident I had at 19 left me permanently disabled physically and emotionally it was hard to come back from the PSTD (If you don't know what that means it's for Post Stress Trauma Disorder and you get it from events like that) and get to where I could drive efficiently again. At first I wasn't able to, but I got over it. That is how I got over this fear to submit.

Taking it in baby steps. First is finishing numerous stories, having multiple ones to think about and writing more all the time. Then comes SENDING one out...Sending it out with a SASE and a prayer for it to sell. It probably won't, but at least you get over the hurdle of having your first rejection slip, a piece of paper, a letter, probably form letter, stating they liked it but no thanks. That doesn't hurt at all, it's not physical unless you really did send out with postal SASE and heard back that way.

I got my first rejection in email and it didn't hurt at all. Now three months into looking for an agent I am getting things back finally, so I can even say I got my first rejection now with personal comments. I was so pleased, my first one with a personal touch, I was so excited. I always am but I tell myself it's the big "R" before I open emails with my query line in the subject. ;) Hang in there Writerdog, if you keep writing and send out things via querying you are going to find the right fit for your work. Hope something I posted helps someone else.

Another fear that was mentioned is the one we dream about, getting it sold and making more to sell and so on, and so on. I am still unsure of how to deal with success but I am going to do the best I can and hope for good results. What more can we do except to keep writing more inventive stories to entertain and share a vision with our readers. :)

jodiodi
01-18-2007, 06:51 AM
I waited forever to send out my first ms and when it was rejected, even though I expected it, I was still terribly hurt. I've always taken rejection in any form as utter failure as a person so I don't have that thick skin yet either. However, I've gotten a few more rejections and learned that what I did before wasn't right so I'm working on it again. Just accept that if you get a rejection the sun will still come up tomorrow and you can go on to something new.

Good luck.

limitedtimeauthor
01-18-2007, 07:10 AM
I wish I could help you Writerdog, but I'm right there with you. I work as a freelance writer, part-time - a steady gig that I enjoy very much. But I've never queried in the traditional sense, so naturally I've never been rejected in the traditional sense.

I was sharing that with a friend of mine and she said, "But you have to know, they aren't going to call you up and ask you to send them something."

In my mind, I thought, "Well, maybe they will." That's how much I don't want to do it the traditional way.

But then again, I do have moments where I feel very secure in myself and a rejection wouldn't kill me. If I only had a finished query and a stamp at those moments....

ltd.

johnzakour
01-18-2007, 07:49 AM
We all have fears. One of the better ways to get over your fears is to face them. So send out your manuscript. The worst that can happen is one publisher rejects it, in which case you just send it to another.

blacbird
01-18-2007, 10:34 AM
In this case, what you need is a good set of beta readers. Do you know any good writer groups in your area?

Been through several of those. On-line groups, too, including this site. Everybody seems to like the stuff I've presented, by and large. Hasn't helped a dambit. I think people being requested to read stuff feel like they have to approve of it, regardless of its inherent crapitude. The people who really count, editors/agents, are uniform in their view of its worthlessness.

Of the six billion, half are illiterate, half of the literate half don't read English, half of those who do don't read, period, and most of the remainder want to read about Britney Spears's latest divorce. The remaining six dozen or so have passed judgment, and found everything wanting.

caw

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 10:47 AM
The only way to get over it is to close your eyes and submit. Don't close your eyes until you're at the mailbox though, or it could be very bad indeed.

It's a natural fear. "What if they don't like me? What if they don't think I can write? What if they don't want it? What if it really isn't any good?"

They're paralyzing questions to think about, which is mostly why you should try not to think about them. Think about putting stamps on the envelope, putting the story in it, putting the address on it, putting it in the mail. Then, go write something to keep you occupied.

Out there, somewhere, is someone who loves stories so much that they're willing to read the Really Bad Ones, in search of a few good reads. They're not going to passionately hate you. For that matter, they're not going to passionately hate your story. They just aren't going to be able to use it, which isn't the same thing at all.

Shadow_Ferret
01-18-2007, 06:28 PM
The ironic thing(for me anyway), is I have been published several times before. I did it then. What has stopped me now? I realize only I can answer this, but I feel whatever the answer has been masked someplace within my head.

You are eerily a lot like me. Which is why I say with confidence, get over it quickly or you will end up like me. With more time behind you then ahead and a satchel full of regrets.

greglondon
01-18-2007, 06:45 PM
The ironic thing(for me anyway), is I have been published several times before. I did it then. What has stopped me now?

Maybe your current story has more emotional attachment for you?

Sometimes, people will hold back and play at 80% or something, so that if they lose, they can say "Well, I could have won if I had really tried." The thinking is that if they play all out, 100%, and if they don't succeed, then they have no one left to blame but themselves. But fear is a funciton of your own mind. You can learn to control it. But sometimes you have to identify it. The fact that you posted about it here would say you've already started that process.

Courage is acting in the face of fear, not getting rid of your fear. If you feel no fear, then your actions are not a result of courage. If you feel fear and go for it anyway, then that is courage.

Here's a thing I wrote in response to the terrorism that seems to have gripped the world. It isn't about getting published, but it is about how to relate to your fear and who controls it.

http://www.couragevow.com/

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 07:06 PM
[quote=PeeDee]The only way to get over it is to close your eyes and submit. Don't close your eyes until you're at the mailbox though, or it could be very bad indeed.quote]

You're right on that one. Then again, I am often scared of venturing outside on my own. Not because I fear the outdoors. I have epilepsy. I often have siezures where I black out. No one wants to crack their head on cement. Do they?

To the person that asked if I'm emotionally attached to my story, I do not know if that can be held true for myself. I think it's got to do with the fact I was picked on as a school girl.

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 07:14 PM
Well, if you don't want to take the submission to the mailbox yourself, can you ask someone to do it for you? Or else, there are e-mail submissions, those are dandy things. I tend to revert to those in the winter months, although my mailbox is inside right now, so I have no excuse.

Getting picked on in school -- which I did, and mostly I got picked on for my writing -- is probably what kept me going. Laughing at me is up there with telling me to stop doing something on the list of Things That Don't Make Me Do Nothin'.

If you got picked on in school, then there's your reason to submit. Submitting and getting published is therefore one big "ner ner ner" at they who picked on you.

jodiodi
01-18-2007, 07:22 PM
To the person that asked if I'm emotionally attached to my story, I do not know if that can be held true for myself. I think it's got to do with the fact I was picked on as a school girl.

Being picked on in school usually has some sort of lasting effect even if it doesn't seem to. Like PeeDee said, publish so you can rub it in their faces. If you're afraid of being publicly embarassed should you be rejected or even if you're accepted, then write under a pseudonym so your 'character' can take the hit, not you.

I fully understand being afraid. I was terrified to send in my first submission but I did it and even though I was rejected and it hurt, I now know I can take it 'cause I survived it.

Good luck.

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 07:24 PM
That makes sence. Now if only I could stop being such a wussy.

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 07:25 PM
I can tell you it'll generally work out, but otherwise I can't help you with that bit.

You can show someone a diving board, but you can't make them dive off it into the swimming pool, if you see what I mean. All I can do is assure you that there aren't any sharks, and you won't drown.

Shadow_Ferret
01-18-2007, 07:49 PM
If you got picked on in school, then there's your reason to submit. Submitting and getting published is therefore one big "ner ner ner" at they who picked on you.

Not to pickon you but it's either "neener neener neener" or "nyah, nyah, nyah nyah nyah." :tongue

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 07:51 PM
Not to pickon you but it's either "neener neener neener" or "nyah, nyah, nyah nyah nyah." :tongue

Not necessarily. I picked the phrase "ner ner ner" out of a pair of Terry Pratchett books. So there.

Oh, by the way, I want your lunch money.

steveg144
01-18-2007, 08:15 PM
Like I said, I don't have the extra skin.

If you want to be a writer, you'll need to grow several more layers. When you send your work out, you'll get rejected. A lot. It hurts. A lot. But you will not die from it, and if you believe in your work you'll keep stamping those envelopes and sending out your work, over and over and over again. If you have talent, you'll get published.

Shadow_Ferret
01-18-2007, 08:18 PM
Not necessarily. I picked the phrase "ner ner ner" out of a pair of Terry Pratchett books. So there.

Oh, by the way, I want your lunch money.

Like Terry knows. :rolleyes:

And you have to catch me first. neener neener neener

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 08:25 PM
You people are weird!

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 08:34 PM
You people are weird!

Shhhh! Don't tell anyone int he real world, or Ferret and I won't get reelected ever again...!

Shadow_Ferret
01-18-2007, 08:40 PM
You people are weird!

Come join us, WD.

We could sit around a campfire and sing,

I am a fine musician,
I practice every day,
and people come from miles around,
just to hear me play,
my trombone, my trombone, they love to hear my trombone,
whaa whaa whaawaawaawaa whaa whaa whaawaawaa!

Freckles
01-18-2007, 08:43 PM
Writerdog - I do understand, but sometimes you can't develop another skin unless you open yourself up to rejection. You'll then realize that you can survive it, and next time it's not so difficult.

Cath hit the nail on the head. It doesn't sound logical, but rejections will help you build a thicker skin. The first one is hard, I know from experience. It's no fun. :( But once you get over that hurdle, you'll see it's not so bad and move on.

I always tell myself that you'll never get published if you don't keep, keep, keep sending your work out.

AllyWoof
01-18-2007, 08:50 PM
Where am I joining you all?

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 08:55 PM
Come join us, WD.

We could sit around a campfire and sing,

I am a fine musician,
I practice every day,
and people come from miles around,
just to hear me play,
my trombone, my trombone, they love to hear my trombone,
whaa whaa whaawaawaawaa whaa whaa whaawaawaa!

He does. I sit on a street corner.

Ohhhh, I'm a stewbum,
And I'm okay!
I marinade gently,
All the live-long day

Slip me a dollar,
Slip me a buck!
I'll buy some whiskey,
Or a.....roast duck.

ChunkyC
01-18-2007, 09:12 PM
writerdog -- I can tell you from experience that as a beginning writer, you learn a lot from rejections. I am one of the few who had their first 'professional' submission accepted. It was when I applied for and was given the job writing my movie review column. I had never thought of trying to be a published writer before then, it just sort of fell in my lap.

I didn't start really start learning how to write well until I decided to try my hand at fiction and wrote my first novel and submitted it ... and was summarily rejected. It was only then I realized how much I had to learn.

Nowadays I look back at my first column and I'm embarassed by it. While the sentences are readable, the grammar basically sound, it's not even close to the work I'm doing now. I can attribute the improvement not only to practice, but to becoming aware of what it really takes to be a pro writer. And I only started looking at my writing with a truly critical eye after I got that first rejection letter. Up until then, I thought that what I was doing was good enough. Maybe for a 500 word column in a small town newspaper it was. However, had I not 'woken up' to my shortcomings, that would probably have been the best I would ever be.

I have now set my sights much higher, and thanks to that first rejection, have real hopes of reaching my goal of becoming a published novelist.

jodiodi
01-18-2007, 09:31 PM
I did the same thing, ChunkyC.

I started as a reporter for a local newspaper and radio station and though I wrote quite a few articles during my years, I didn't really have much guidance or criticism. Like you, I found I had a lot to learn when I started writing fiction for publication. Without the rejections I'd probably have never looked at my work with a serious eye.

ChunkyC
01-18-2007, 09:38 PM
A kindred spirit! :)

It's akin to a kin telling you how wonderful you are. It does little to help you improve. Athletes, for example, need a coach to help them get better. But for a writer working in isolation, sometimes the rejection letter is the only coaching we get.

Of course, we're lucky in that we have AW to turn to for guidance.

maestrowork
01-18-2007, 09:42 PM
For kids, encouragements are wonderful. Do tell them they're beautiful.

But we aren't kids anymore.

ChunkyC
01-18-2007, 09:44 PM
Right, Ray.

Encouragement is the other part of the equation. I believe we need both. If we find it hard to see where our weaknesses are sometimes, it's often just as hard to know, without feedback, when we've hit the nail on the head. And sometimes that will come in a rejection letter, which again you'll never get if you don't submit. :)

JIMBOS
01-18-2007, 09:45 PM
I've never been rejected...well maybe once or twice. Or was it three...never mind.

MidnightMuse
01-18-2007, 10:07 PM
That's the thing about rejections and the thick skin we all need. You really only develop a thick skin by being rejected and/or criticized. Hopefully, before you submit to agents, you've heard some harsh things about your writing from groups or betas or somewhere, that helped you prepare that skin - but until you send out your first (or second, or third, or seventeeth) query with the deep-seeded hope that this will be the one, then find that SASE in your mailbox - you'll still feel a little soft.

So don't hold off submitting until you grow a thick skin -- just allow for that skin to grow as you accept the rejections that may come.

And always remember - they're rejecting that piece, not you as a person.

Oh, and chocolate is our friend.

Or rum, if you're old enough.

Shadow_Ferret
01-18-2007, 10:16 PM
Bear in mind that some of us never develop that "thick skin." Every rejection feels like a personal assault. But if you want to be published, you have to deal with the trauma of the rejection notice.

It's like a fear of flying or a fear of spiders or a fear of walking into a cold metal doorknob in the dark while naked. Some people never get over those fears, but we do have to learn to live with them or we'll never function as a human being.

So send out those manuscripts and when you get the rejection, curl up on a fetal position in a dark corner, suck your thumb, hug your blankie for an hour or so and then get right back up and submit another story.

ChunkyC
01-18-2007, 10:22 PM
Yeah, Shadow, that's good advice too. Allow yourself a little bit of time to get over the sting of the rejection (keeping to yourself all the nasty names you call the editor), then move on.

When I get rejected, I like to pig out on Oreos while laughing at Billy Crystal's writing students in Throw Momma From the Train.

MidnightMuse
01-18-2007, 10:24 PM
When I get rejected, I like to pig out on Oreos while laughing at Billy Crystal's writing students in Throw Momma From the Train.

What a coincidence! That's what I like to do after running into metal doorknobs in the dark, while naked :D

But I agree - some self pity, thumb sucking, and/or ranting is allowed - for 24 hours tops. Then you shake it off and submit somewhere else :)

PeeDee
01-18-2007, 10:25 PM
Rejection spurs me onward. A rejection letter is a guarantee I'll do a whole bunch of writing that day, even if I haven't the time or the energy.

(for which I'm grateful.)

maestrowork
01-19-2007, 12:34 AM
(holding a cigarette) Whut is dis rejection thing you are talking about?

priceless1
01-19-2007, 12:52 AM
John Lescroart tells the story about how he wrote his first novel and stuffed it in his drawer. He didn't think it was any good and feared rejection. His wife dug it out and sent it in to a publisher where they accepted it. It wasn't a huge seller, but it did get him launched.

I see all kinds of submissions cross my desk, and I have never felt any of them were frauds. Believe me, agents and editors understand the tough leap writers make to put their words out there for review and critique. While some may be less than gentle about the rejection process, they are mindful about what it takes to put a stamp on the envelope. Only you can decide whether you're ready to take that leap.

badducky
01-19-2007, 01:23 AM
When I get rejected, I choose an appropriate wine per the publisher/magazine, and drink the wine.

For instance, you've been rejected by Roc... Drink something with a pinot noir with a roc-like chicken on the label! If you've been rejected by Orb, Look for some sunny Riesling, since it has a big, yellow on the label!

That's what I do.

Then, I look at the manuscript again, and resend it. You're not really afraid of failure. You expect failure. You're afraid of losing control of your book.

johnzakour
01-19-2007, 02:05 AM
WD, one thing is for certain, you can't get you new work published if you don't send it out. So, send it out. The process is simple:

1) write piece
2) edit piece
3) send piece
4) Wait...

If piece gets rejected
5) see if you can learn anything from rejection
Repeat from step 2

If piece gets accepted
Celebrate!

Yes, there is a little mental pain with each rejection, but they help you build up sort of an immunity to them. (The old whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.)

Believe me the gain is well worth the risk.

Shadow_Ferret
01-19-2007, 02:07 AM
Really? *checks his notes*

My #5 says "Repeat #3 until accepted."

johnzakour
01-19-2007, 02:12 AM
Really? *checks his notes*

My #5 says "Repeat #3 until accepted."

If the rejection is personal and has useful advice, you might want to consider step 2. (Heck, I'm still editing my books that have been print for years...)