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Monday, 23 April 2018

Dealing with rejection by going Full Tea Towel.

Now comes the stage in your publishing career where you have to send your book baby out into the wide world - which is why I've called this bit 'rejection'.

I know you think your book is perfect. Of course you do! You wouldn't be submitting it otherwise, would you? You think it is the shiniest thing that ever shone and it's amazing and wonderful and original and lots of other adjectives that can otherwise only apply to Lord Tony of Robinson...
Just tell me if he isn't the most adorable thing you've seen since my appearance in the penguin onesie...
So, you've got your book all shiny, and now you need to send it out to people who might just put it out into the wide world. And how do you go about that?

Firstly, go and buy yourself a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. Honestly. it's full of Really Important Information like names of agents and publishers and their submission details, and, if all else fails, it makes an excellent doorstop. You can make a list, if you like, of all the agents (or publishers if you're going the direct route) that deal with the sort of book that you've just written. If you are really keen you can do a spreadsheet, but I've never really got to grips with those, and just end up with lots of little boxes which get all mangled and it looks like a wall built by someone who'd rather be knitting.
Like this. Only with words in.
And then you go online and you look up the agents and/or publishers. Their websites will have their submission guidelines - pay close attention to these. If they ask for you to send the first three chapters, then send the first three chapters and not a word more. Honestly, there's very little that annoys a publisher or agent more than people who don't read the guidelines, and you don't want to make them any more purple-faced with rage than they already are, because the publishing industry is the sort of industry that brings out the purple face of rage more readily than any other.

You submit your work, and then you wait. And yes, it's all right to send it to more than one place at a time (although it's only polite to tell those you are sending it to that this is what you have done). Submission guidelines will tell you whether they want a covering letter, a writer's CV or a synopsis as well. Do make sure you've put it all in the envelope before you post, there's nothing worse than toddling back from the post office, or pressing the SEND button, only to find that you left out a vital piece of requested information and having to send it separately (see: Purple Face of Rage).

Now is the time to lay in a supply of chocolate, lots of biscuits, some very good friends and a vocabulary laden with invective. I'm particularly fond of 'hamfisted amateurs with the imagination of a brain dead dinosaur'. Because when your rejection comes, you will need every last, sweary, chocolate-stained word, but that's fine. Honestly. Channel your inner Malcolm Tucker. Go Full Tea Towel. (If you've never heard of Tucker's Law, then it's here but not for those who are easily offended).

Then you smile, and send it out again somewhere else. And you keep doing that.

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