Diana Cosby ©2018
When I began writing, I remember sending out my first partial, smiling, telling everyone the manuscript’s title, and that my book was going to sell. Then how, months later, I received a rejection letter. I was devastated. How could a publisher not want the book of my heart? And the rejection letter, Dear Author . . ., it could have been written to anyone!
Over the years I discovered that I had a deft skill for acquiring rejections. I remember one day my oldest son, who has now served a tour in the Marine Corps, carrying in a manila envelope saying, “Hey, Mom, you received another rejection.” 😊 Gotta love kids. After 100 rejections, I quit counting. I decided I knew how to acquire a rejection.
Throughout the years, regardless of the frustrations and doubt, I never gave up. Not only is it important to never give up, but I believe it’s essential for you to RECOGNIZE that with each passing year, you’re growing more knowledgeable in the craft, plus, you’re connecting with fellow authors and industry professionals, which is networking. Once you sell, your experience and contacts will prove invaluable. I never realized until looking back, the benefits of selling later in my writing career.
I feel passionate about this topic, because I wish someone would have sat me down and said, “That you write is well and good, but let’s say you sold, what’s your plan?” Plan? Why to write of course. It’s critical that after we sell that we keep on writing, but it’s also important to build a readership along with a list of reviewers. The hard reality is that unless you sell a book through a high visibility venue, few people will know who you are, much less buy your book. So, if you’re a new writer, don’t worry over about rejections, they’re a part of writer’s life, but plan for the day when you sell. Use your time accrued to your benefit, your success is no accident.
What is your exact goal? Define it. Plan not only make it, but make it a success. So, what can you do? My thoughts:
-If you have a website, great. If not, place it on top of your priority list. Let it reflect the target market you are writing for and will eventually sell to. If you’re going to blog, great, but stagnant blogs turn away readers.
-A Brand. What tag to do you feel is the essence of what you write, regardless of the line, era? My tag is, “Romance Edged With Danger.”
-Business Cards. Keep them professional. I have two different business cards, those I hand out to readers that have my website and e-mail, but not my home address and contact information. The other business card has all of my contact information, which I give to industry professionals.
-Bookmarks. I think bookmarks are one of the single best marketing tools a writer can have. I always say that if someone takes one and really doesn’t want it, odds are they’ll leave my bookmark somewhere – to be found by a reader who’ll scoop it up. Also, I send bookmarks to conferences, booksellers, venues that feature the type of book I write such as medieval gatherings, and anywhere I feel it’s beneficial.
-On-line social media pages.
-Conferences: Keep networking!
-Marketing. I’ll give you two bits of advice, choose what you LOVE DOING, and what’s within your budget.
After 9 1/2 years of writing, I sold. I found that in addition to writing an intense, multi-layer story, came the challenge of fitting in time for promotion. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. This is where preparing early in your career for success comes into play. Your well-planned foundation won’t add time onto your day, but it will give you a significant edge as you work hard to help your career take off.
As I look back, I’m thankful I didn’t sell early on in my career. After 9 1/2 years of writing I thought I was ready for the challenges after I sold; in essence, I was clueless. The years accrued before I sold gave me time to strengthen my writing, meet industry professionals, and to make friends who were a not only a bedrock in the enormous transition of becoming published, but who are truly a blessing in my life. So, next time you receive a rejection letter, set it aside, and focus on building your career. Last, always believe in yourself! I wish each and every one of you every success!
Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
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