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She Likes It

Well, I’m having a mixed reaction. I received a rejection on one of those manuscripts that I’ve been telling you about. The thing about that is, I feel inspired. Form rejections are pretty common I hear. In the past, I’ve seen my share, but lately they’ve slowed down. I’m much more careful where I am sending my queries. My writing is improving, and I am learning.  So, I hold on much more tightly to my projects.

About the rejection. It was so nice. It really was. I have a pretty good imagination, and I can see agents at desks overflowing with slush, email inboxes blinking large red words like *TILT*.  There just isn’t enough time to read everything carefully, without bias, in a good spirit, and then respond thoughtfully. BUT, this agent whom I entrusted my precious with, was kind. She was guarded, and careful with her response, but what I saw  was that she really did like it. I knew when I sent it that the genre isn’t exactly flying off the shelves. It will take something miraculous to get it into print, but it is good. It’s fun and ornery, and mischievous. Its good, but its no YA paranormal romance. That would sell.

OK, back to agent. She liked it. She got it. She told me so in the covert way that she can. It was daring on her part really. What if I freaked her freak and started YELLING AT HER??? If you liked it, why not agent it?? Huh??? Huh??? I’m guessing that agents get a lot of that. Anyhow, like I said, I have a big imagination. But, it tickled me that she tried to tell me, and so I sent her a line telling her that I appreciated it.

I do appreciate it.

Another day, then.

For today, I am smiling, rejection or no. She liked it.

Bad advice is everywhere

…especially on writing.

One piece of awful advice is getting under my skin this morning. I have come across it again and again and so will you if you are navigating this culture. The advice is this, and PLEASE don’t take it: Wall paper your office with your rejection letters.

Why on this amazing, promising, blessed earth would anyone do this??? Why say such a thing? What’s worse is that so many people say that they are doing just that, and they seem pleased with themselves for doing it.  If you do this, please comment below, tell me why? How can that possibly help you?

Bad.

It would be the same thing as a sports player watching his failures from every preceding game on video in the locker room before the new game. This is not smart. It is more like psychologically defeating. It is NOT motivational. So many people think that is why they do it. They are wrong. Being reminded of past failure is like having your ex boyfriend or little brother taunt you again and again. It’s self deprecating.

Motivation comes from a good place. Motivation is the exuberant and triumphant feeling that lifts your heart until you are certain that this time will be different, and it really will be if you keep trying.  I suggest papering your immediate area with all the compliments and cut off the downers. Put pictures of your support network up. The people who believe in you are good motivation. The people who didn’t are just small pieces of a larger picture. Most rejections are form letters anyway. I don’t even read them anymore.  Once I get to the “sorry for the informal nature of this response.” I hit delete. They have no words of wisdom. It’s just a blank letter. There is nothing to glean from it. Don’t try.

Now, there is merit, certainly, in the rejections who actually give you advice. Type up a sheet of one liners that will be useful and keep them near for editing. Cut out the rejection part, keep the “Great action sequence, liked the pacing, could use a flying elephant.”

Compliments remind you that you have a gift to share. Suggestion for flying elephant should be held onto. It may make the difference one day. The rejection, rejection, rejection, is part of the publishing process. It happens to everyone. You live and learn and grow as a writer and a human. Rejection builds character. Life experience builds wisdom. If you are trying to write while surrounded with walls of rejection letters, please, I implore you, take them down. Keep the useful, recycle the rest. You will be glad that you did.

There are just so many of me!

Ever typed your own name into a search engine? I have. It’s nuts. Since setting up this website, I have been trying to make it so that if someone searches for Julie Anne Lindsey, they find me. That is no easy task. Part of branding yourself as a writer, or as a circus clown, or whatever it is that you want people to associate you with, is that they need to find you. Epiphany moment? I had never considered it. I assumed that I would set up my site and people would find it. Not true. There are dozens of websites already set up to various Julie Anne Lindseys and they all come up ahead of me. I don’t even show up in the Yahoo search yet. Sure sure. It’s only been 2 weeks. I’m just saying, if you are trying to follow all of the agent and publishing advice out there,  and you are preparing a website to brand yourself, or to display some of your writing, then this matters.

The good news: it is possible to climb the list. In fact, there is a plethora of information on the topic. Plenty of others have been in the same situation and blogged about it. For starters, quit being anonymous. I know, someone may steal your identity or send you rude things. What can you do? Consider it a hazard of the job because it’s impossible to brand yourself while hiding, unless that’s your brand, like Where’s Waldo. So, here are a few humble suggestions:

1. Stop hiding. Ditch the fake names and bogus details.

2. Register with social media sites and meet people, talk about yourself and what interests you, network.

3. Write something everyday. Don’t set up camp and then think it will grow in popularity all on its own. It won’t.

4. Try a giveway or contest.

5. Ask fellow bloggers to do a guest blog post on your site, or send them a questionnaire for you to post as an interview.  Getting your web address on their sites is great for climbing search lists.

6. Write articles for e publications. It gets your name out there and makes a link back to your site.

7. Tell people. That’s the hard one. I mean, how pretentious can one person be, right? “Oh, I have a blog. You want to read it. I’m so self important that I think everyone should know me.” That’s what I felt like when I told people about this. I had to hold my breath and just do it. I also told myself, “You have nothing to say. You stink and you will fail, and everyone will know.”

If this happens to you, square your shoulders, lift your chin, and know that you are following a dream. Judgey people don’t get that. I do. I support you. I’ll guest blog. I’ll answer an interview request.

We dreamers have to stick together.

What is that which I say about Waiting??

If you recall, I recently sent a full manuscript to a literary agent who represents Christian fiction. I was confused and ecstatic to hear that she enjoyed the first three chapters and wanted the full. Mostly this was true because she had those three chapters for months. I assumed a rejection. I was wrong. It took me a week to get my act together and send the entire manuscript, but I did. I kissed it and squeezed it and said a prayer over it all before hitting send. That was eight days ago. I have since settled in to wait. Once again I assumed to wait several months. I certainly wasn’t going to be a pest. Well, today, she writes me. I open the email somewhat defeated. The only way that she has had time to read my book among all the rest is if she didn’t. I imagined her reading several pages before realizing it wasn’t quite what she had hoped. I was wrong. (This is another trait which I am discovering. I am frequently wrong). She loved it! She called it a great story! She wanted me to know this and said that she will be back in touch in a couple of weeks after her editorial team reviews and hopefully agrees with her opinion.

What’s this? Wait? Again? Yep. Wait.

Once my children performed CPR and used those electronic paddles to re start my heart, I was / am flying. Regardless of the outcome (which I of course will pray for getting published) I am still hitting the highlight of my career (?) today. An honest to goodness, real life literary agent liked my book.

I can wait a couple more weeks. It’ll take that long for my regular breathing pattern to return anyway.

Ix-nay the Unflower-Say

My blog has been up about two weeks. For most of that time, I have had a little sunflower in the top corner. I didn’t like the sunflower, but it went with my color scheme. Before choosing the flower, I had searched thousands of images for something relating to a slush pile. I originally found a bookcase to stretch across my page, but that just didn’t suit. The sunflower was next, but its days were numbered. Finally, I found a cute little stack of books that does the job nicely. Ta-da. Books again, but the right ones.

Now, in the process of designing my site, I have learned something else about myself. Here it is: I have a really convoluted view of who I am. If you ask me my favorite color, I’ll tell you pink every time. But, I couldn’t set up a pink website. Who am I Barbie? Hello Kitty? Strawberry Shortcake? You see the problem then. I tried to think of another color that said something about me. I was shocked to find that the orange/red scheme was so energetic, busy, upbeat, and fast looking. It fit and I loved it. I was shocked. Though none of the colors are anything I’d wear. I’d never have chosen them, but I did.

The colors seemed off still because I’m not into them.

We’ve been having a ton of summer storms lately and I love storms.  I frequently dance in the rain, stand in the rain, sing in the rain. It’s true. Having kids with me makes the neighbors worry less, but luckily have few neighbors. Anyway, I got the best idea. I should change my color scheme to one of purple hues with gray and black touches. I’m still excited thinking about it, though I know how that went. I found an awesome picture of a thunderstorm in just those colors. It was my muse. Then, I spoke sweetly to my web master who had no problem with the change, and we began.

You know how some of the best ideas just aren’t. This was one of those. About two and a half hours in to changing every tiny line and character, I hated it. It looked ill. I didn’t like any of the shades of violet. The gray reminded me of someone’s skin who had been ill for a long while, and the overall feel of it wasn’t exciting or violently moody as I had imagined. Instead, it just didn’t work. It made me feel sad. So…I broke the news to my ever patient, and devastatingly sexy webmaster who began the retransformation. The process took the rest of the evening. Trying to get things back to where they were was a slow process, but he did it. I have a great team.

So, even my writer’s blog is teaching me about me. No matter how broody and mysterious that I think I may be. I’m not. I’m not a storm cloud. Sadly, I’m more like the stinky sunflower who I am thankful to be rid of. I am not ominous or dangerous. I am just unabashedly happy and hopeful. I have a temper, sure and my share of awful moments, but they are the side dish to a seven course meal of perky.

I am very annoying.

Shoot.

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