Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Alien Slave, Clans of Kalquor 5

     When your heart has been broken because someone pushed you aside for another, it's going to rattle your self-esteem for a period of time.  Some of us take such knocks a little harder than others.
     Alien Slave features a Kalquorian who is still suffering the sting of rejection after many years.  Yes, one of those accomplished aliens has trust issues.  In his youth, Krijero was unceremoniously dumped for another Imdiko by the Dramok he had every indication would clan him.  His current clanmates are still dealing with the fallout:

     Gelan exchanged a look with Wynhod.  The Nobek put his handheld down and wrapped himself around Krijero once more.  His fierce nature was masked as he stroked the Imdiko’s tousled hair like a mother calming a nightmare-inflicted child.
     Gelan also pulled closer to his clanmate.  “She’ll be an interesting challenge for your skills,” he encouraged.
     Krijero refused to look at him.  “I’m a criminal psychologist.  I analyze law breakers.  I don’t fix traumatized Mataras.”
     Of course Wynhod cut right to the chase.  “And you’re afraid of getting your heart broken again.  Admit that’s your biggest objection.”  Despite his harsh words, his tone remained gentle, his touch soothing.
Krijero cringed anyway and didn’t answer.  Gelan’s rage for the pain his Imdiko continued to feel over the past … over the way his trust had been trampled on … woke anew. 
     The Dramok growled, “I swear if I ever meet that man, I’ll pound him senseless for clanning another Imdiko.  He was a fool to give you up.” 
     Krijero sighed.  “It doesn’t matter now.”
     “It shouldn’t, but you’re still hurting after all this time.  There’s no reason to think you’re unworthy, Krijero.  We didn’t reject you, did we?”
     Wynhod snorted laughter.  “Reject him?  We were the ones chasing him for years.”
     Krijero finally found a smile.  “Yes, you did.”
     “You made us work for it too, damn reluctant Imdiko.”  Wynhod hugged him close, and Krijero eased up. 

Last Day to Vote for TRR's Best Erotica

Alien Conquest and Unholy Union are up for The Romance Reviews 2011's Best Erotica in two categories, along with many other terrific books.  This is your last chance to give some hardworking authors bragging rights!  http://www.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - To the Market: Your Audience

Okay, either your book has been snapped up by a publisher, or you’re self-publishing.  Or perhaps you still haven’t landed that contract.  No matter where you are as far as the public offering of your work, it’s never too early to think about promoting and marketing.

And guess who just happens to have worked in professional advertising and marketing for several years?  That’s right, yours truly.  Granted, I don’t have all the answers, but I have a few ideas.  And they don’t all cost an arm and a leg.  Some are free.  Some are definitely off the beaten path.  We’ll start with the basic questions to start you on your way.

1.       Identify your audience.

Who are you writing for?  You need to have as clear a picture of your readers as possible.  Start with the broadest picture.  Early on I identified my erotic readership as mostly straight women, aged 18 and up, married and single.  They would be into science fiction and supernatural books and movies.  They would be open minded in their religious views and possess a great sense of humor.  Their tastes, or at least fantasies, in sex would range from experimental to downright kinky.

You will probably be surprised to find exactly who comprises your audience as your readership grows.  I wasn’t terribly startled to gain a substantial gay male following.  After all, the Clans of Kalquor series features multiple men who are bisexual.  Though because of my publisher’s dictates my books don’t delve too far into M/M encounters, there’s enough there to titillate.  The shock came from discovering how many straight men were reading my books.  It’s not a huge number, but it’s enough for me to take notice.  While my efforts at marketing remain geared towards women for the most part, I do keep the rest of my audience in mind.

2.        Identify where your audience is

You need to go where your potential readers are.  Sure, it’s great to join an authors group or friend a bunch of fellow writers on Facebook, but these aren’t the bulk of your customers.  These are more peers than audience. 

As an example on where to find your readers, look at the characteristics I identified for mine.  I would probably be looking to connect with women who are into everything from Star Trek to Anne Rice to the Trueblood series to Fetlife, along with fans of novels similar to mine.  Be open to joining fanclubs where your bookworms would congregate so you can mingle and make connections.

One of the off-the-wall places I found potential readers was in a game.  At one time, I was a Vampire Wars addict, the Zynga game you can play via Facebook and Myspace.  For those of you who haven’t been sucked into the black hole that is this online time eater, let me bring you up to speed.  Vampire Wars involves leveling up via accomplishing missions and beating up other vampires.  To play effectively, you need to have at least 501 fellow players in your ‘clan’.  And it also features a live chat board, where you can talk to other players.  The people who play VW and engage on the board tend to be flirtatious and don’t mind crude jokes.  When I signed Alien Embrace, I found it was an instant venue for discussing my work.  Now please note I was careful not to make VW my personal advertising forum, simply telling known friends online the high points of the process as Alien Embrace traveled the path to publication.  If the others among my clan saw my posts, so much the better.  When I found my fellow players were visiting my FB page to keep up on how everything was going in my literary pursuits, I cut down on the VW platform even more, finally phasing it out altogether.  I thus managed to not cross the line from promotion into haranguing, which would have resulted in a backlash.

It seems that for every subject one might write about, there’s a forum out there.  Spend some time examining all outlets that your writing might appeal to.  While it may seem a bit calculating to join groups simply because you want to get the word out about your book, remember that after publication, your writing moves from pure art to product that needs to be moved.  You are now all about business if you wish to score sales. 

3.         Be a Guest

Just because hobnobbing with other authors doesn’t necessarily yield high sales doesn’t mean you should ignore them.  No, absolutely cultivate those relationships, especially those who write works similar to yours.  Whether they germinate into genuine friendships or not, you need other authors.  Why?  Because their readers can become your readers as well.

I love it when I’m invited to guest blog or interview with another author.  This is free exposure to readers who aren’t familiar with my work, especially if my host allows me to post an excerpt of my latest book.  And this isn’t a one-way street.  My readers go over to the other author’s site to see what I might be saying, giving that fellow writer exposure and perhaps allowing them to snag some of my readers.  When I’m invited to guest on another’s site or blog, I always reciprocate, giving them another chance to invite my readers to check out their work (and drawing their readers to my blog).  It’s a win-win situation for all concerned.

I’ll discuss marketing via blogs in more depth on a future tutorial.

4.        Paying for Promotion

There is of course paid advertising, which is a valid way of marketing your work.  However I have yet to do it myself for my writing, which proves you don’t have to pay to be a bestseller.  Still, you may elect to give this a shot.

If you’re going to take out an ad, make sure you’re doing it right.  This means going back to points one and two above:  know who your audience is and where they are.  A great deal on an ad in a magazine or on a site that doesn’t attract people who would enjoy your writing is lost money.  For erotica, you’re better off spending extra bucks at a site with a lot of erotica reader traffic.  All Romance E-books comes to mind, as does Romantic Times Magazine.  Research on your own what they have and see what fits your budget.  Look at how the ads they post look like and which ones get your attention.  Tailor yours to match.  Once the ad comes out, see if your sales seem to be affected.  If not, that doesn’t necessarily mean buying ad space was a bad idea; it may simply have to do with the content, look, and placement.  And remember, the nicest thing about paid ads is the tax write-off, so make sure you keep track of that.


This is only the tip of the marketing and promotional iceberg.  I’ll be touching on this subject again (and again), because the opportunities to get your work in the public eye are so vast.  Until then, get your name out there and start making those connections.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Alien Conquest (Clans of Kalquor 3)


Nominated for Best Paranormal Erotica 2011 by The Romance Reviews!  Click here to vote.

     Cassidy suddenly realized that barring a miracle rescue, it was inevitable she would surrender to his clan.  She would be theirs for the rest of her life, their mate, their childbearer, their Matara.  She couldn’t continue to hold out, not when returning to Earth meant execution, a fate she could not simply resign herself to.  And especially not when her body thrilled at the clan’s every touch.  Not when her heart lifted at the men’s every gentle word. 
     I don’t really want to be saved anymore. 

Available from New Concepts Publishing, Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for Nook, Smashwords, Fictionwise, and All Romance E-books

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Create a Kalquorian - New Poll is Up

So here's how our hunky Imdiko is shaping up:  Nicely muscled, about 6 1/2 feet tall; long, wavy black hair falling to midback length, rugged manly good looks, and clean shaven.  I'll take two, please.

Now we have to put together his personality.  What is it about Conyod that makes him just a little less than perfect?  You have four choices; pick your poison.  Which of these would make you roll your eyes as he does it for the millionth time?  (You know you'll forgive him...after all he's got so many good points going for him.)

Rewind Repost: Erotica vs. Porn


(This blog first appeared July 8th, 2010)

     I've been asked the question, what is the difference between erotica and porn? My usual tongue-in-cheek response is erotic fiction consists of stories written by women in which people fall in love and bed; while porn consists of stories written by men in which people just fall into bed.
     Of course that over-simplifies things, but I'm a smartass. If given the opportunity to offer deep insight or an attempt at humor, I always go for the laugh. It's kind of tragic given I DO have some serious thoughts drifting through my gray matter. So for once, I will treat this question with some reflection.
     For myself, I understand the difference between porn and erotica on an instinctual level, but how to explain it to someone who just doesn't get it? After all, in both there's lots of sweaty sex in fantasy situations the average person will never find herself in. If you boil it down to the nuts and bolts, is there really a difference at all?
     Wikipedia defines erotica in this fashion: Erotica is the name given to fiction that deals with sex or sexual themes, generally in a more literary or serious way than the fiction seen in pornographic magazines and sometimes including elements of satire or social criticism.
     Well that sounds nice. I'm glad my work can be considered literary and serious, even though the word 'blowjob' shows up with alarming regularity.
     Let me approach this from my writing's viewpoint, as well as that of other erotica I've read. First and foremost is the romance. It's always there, even when the heroine is shackled to a wall and being disciplined for not doing what her dominating man wants. Even in such situations, the reader knows the characters are soul mates who would literally die of heartbreak if they were parted. And it's never one-sided; both are equally committed to each other. It's the true love of fairy tales with a lot of moaning.
     Okay Tracy, you say, but there's erotica in which the heroine ISN'T falling in love…she's just getting laid.     
     Well, that may seem so on the surface, but even in stories where the lady is going through men like her favorite tube of lipstick (hey, I re-apply mine at least five times a day), she's often discovering something about herself. She's reclaiming her sexuality, growing confidence in herself, or giving her right to pleasure reign. In short, she is loving someone-herself.
     Porn, on the other hand, is about conquest…typically from the male point of view. It makes sense; all male animals are driven to mate often and with many females. They're wired for survival of the species. It has nothing to do with love or sharing, which is probably why the porn I've read, while often hot, has an emptiness to it. It can rev up my engine, but I don't connect to it.
     The second criterion that separates the two is this: stories are better in erotica in that if you took the sex and hid it behind closed doors, you'd still have an engrossing tale to enjoy. We erotic authors take great pains to develop our characters and storylines so you get lost in the fantasy. Porn does have some plot, but it's often flimsy, a string of situations to get you from one sexual encounter to the next. Porn is like a hooker; you pay for your jollies and move on. Good erotica is more like a relationship. You immerse yourself in it and wish it wouldn't end.
     So there you have my thoughts on the subject. There are those who will continue to lump erotica and porn in the same category, and they are certainly welcome to their opinions. As for me, I'll write what I write and let them call it what they want. As long as somebody's reading, I'm not complaining.

Friday, November 25, 2011

First Four Friday - Alien Rule


    Jessica screamed as whirling darkness fell upon her.  The roar of the wind pressed everywhere, and she battled against the shredding sky as it pinned her helpless body.  “Lindsey!  Lindsey!” she cried, reaching for her sister.
    Thrashing, she fell off the lounger, tangled in the soft cover keeping her naked body warm. 


Available at New Concepts Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise, Smashwords, and All Romance e-Books

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Create a Kalquorian - Nobody's Perfect


We're wrapping up the physical aspects of Imdiko Conyod, and it's time to switch gears and look at the personality.  One of the biggest ingredients for crafting any major character is deciding on his flaws.  Yes, our sweet morsel of alien manliness needs a chink or two in his armor.  Just what Conyod's main imperfection might be is up to you.

Saturday's poll will be a list of potential shortcomings for our Imdiko.  Be ready to give him something for everyone else to complain about.  After all, perfection is boring, and we don't want a boring Kalquorian.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Netherworld: Drop Dead Sexy

Counting down to the January release!  I don't mind telling you, I'm terrifically psyched about this series.  Ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters, witches ... it's Halloween year round in Fulton Falls, Georgia.  I really think you're going to enjoy this gang.

Escort Brandilynn Payson is shocked to discover she’s dead.  Even worse, she’s the latest victim of the Fulton Falls Ripper, a vampire serial killer.  Death is no obstacle for fun however, and Brandilynn quickly proves she’s the life of the after-death party.  But her killer is still on her trail, and she learns there are worse things than death to worry about.

Excerpt:

     I knew day had dawned when Tristan appeared in the head librarian’s office door.  He stared at me and Dan.  Dan was engrossed in some Walt Whitman poetry that had just appeared on the shelves a few hours ago.  Apparently, the deceased writers and poets only had to wish their works into the places where the literature-starved dead gathered.  Sort of like how the King George Hotel’s chef fed us his memories of delicious cuisine.  The netherworld was magical when you got past the morbid aspects of it.
     I wallowed in frustrated enjoyment of a nearly-impossible Sudoku puzzle.  Doing battle with grids of numbers proved a pleasant way to pass the time once Dan and I had exhausted our more wanton urges for awhile.  Now my mind wanted a workout.
     I began to see the possibilities for the next several hundred years or so.  Languages I could learn, the books to be read, new knowledge to be gained.  Dan had told me he liked to, excuse the pun, haunt the local college and attend the lectures.  Surely I could put off the boredom that afflicted so many of the earthbound dead for several centuries.
    The movement at the office door filled me with dread.  Somehow I knew it was Tristan before I looked up.  I didn’t want to look at him, not after I’d seen him and Patricia go full predator.  I’m like Lot’s wife though.  I just have to look.
     Tristan stared at me, his too-handsome, too-human face worried.  And darn if my heart didn’t go pitter-pat at the sight of him.  It was like he was a set of twins; one all scary and evil, the other a disheveled angel. 
     I sighed.  When Tristan wasn’t a vampire, I felt as gooey for him as I did Dan.  Maybe he and I didn’t sing the same tune, but only because his nighttime persona freaked me out.  If not for the bloodsucking side of Tristan, I’d be equally besotted with him as with my Marlboro Man.
     I’m a smart enough girl to realize that my interest in Tristan kept me in Dan’s arms though.  If Dan had been my only option for romance, I’d be running for the hills, unable to deal with the terror of putting my trust in one man.  I also realized that this situation was terribly unfair to them both.
     Knowing something and being able to change it are two entirely different things. 
     I stood, putting my puzzle down.  I noticed how Dan kept his eyes on his book as I walked past the desk on my way to speak with Tristan.  I went into the office, and the vampire closed the door behind me.
     Without preamble, Tristan said, “I could kill Augustus for making you watch that.  I know he has his reasons for what he does and they’re usually very good, but that’s not how I wanted you to see me.”
     I studied him.  He stared at me with those dark, almost black eyes.  He looked so tormented.  Ashamed.  To see Tristan’s cool confidence stripped away like that startled me.  I had the feeling he didn’t let many people see this unsure side. 
     I fought off the urge to throw my arms around him in a comforting hug.  “I guess being a vamp isn’t so great sometimes?”
     Tristan considered my question.  I appreciated that he gave my words such weight.  To so many men, I’m just a Barbie doll, all form and no substance.  I’m not slighting them; I put myself in that position.  But I sure enjoy it when I’m taken seriously.
     When Tristan answered, most of his calm self-assurance had clicked back in place.  “Being a vampire has its good points.  I’m not going to lie in order to sound nobler than I am, Brandilynn.”
     “Honesty makes for nobility,” I offered.  I leaned against the desk behind me, strangely excited to get a more accurate picture of Tristan Keith.
     He folded his arms over his chest.  “I like the power that comes from being a vampire.  I like sitting on top of the heap.  I worked for powerful men when I was alive, but I didn’t have the money or social standing to claim that world for myself.”
     “You like the challenges being a vampire has opened up for you.”
     Tristan nodded.  “I won’t pretend I don’t enjoy taking the risks and maneuvering around the obstacles.  It’s a game I love to play.”
     Men.  Whether it’s over women or status, they just have to beat their chests.  My smile for Tristan was pure affection.  “Hey, I worked for those kinds of men in my own way.  Ambition doesn’t put me off.”
     He grinned back, the relief evident.  “Good because I enjoy your company.”  He glanced over his shoulder at the closed door behind him.  “You care about Dan.  I can tell.”
     A pang of guilt went through me.  But I’d been up front with Dan.  He knew what the score was.  Still, I felt the urge to remain true to him in words at least.  “Dan’s wonderful.  He means a lot to me.”
     Tristan’s eyes were as sharp as a hawk’s.  The eyes of a man who takes whatever he fancies.  “What about me?  I’m not someone who easily gives up what I want.  I’ve never desired a woman as much as I desire you, Brandilynn.”
     Even making myself imagine Tristan swinging from a vine with a wild Tarzan yell couldn’t keep me from shivering at his dark, possessive stare.  I tried to remember him as he’d been when feeding on his little blood bank the night before.  Nope, that didn’t cool my jets either.
     I was so screwed.
     I made a very unhappy sound.  “When you’re not sporting those sharp incisors, I enjoy your company too.  Dan’s not thrilled about sharing me, but he’s willing for now.  What are your thoughts on the matter?”
     Tristan closed the distance between us.  His fingers trailed through my hair.  The selfish expression had disappeared to be replaced by simple, warm need.  With real regret he said, “As much as I’d like you to be monogamous with me, I can’t ask you to make me your one and only when my hungers lead me to seek other women.  Blood and sex go together.  No vampire is exempt from that one-two punch.  But know this, Brandilynn, if I could be with just one lady, you’d be the woman for me.”
      Jeez, he’d stopped just shy of proclaiming his eternal love.  What did I do to make these men act like this?  I was Brandilynn Payson, a BDSM-loving, no-commitment making, high-end prostitute.  It made no sense Tristan and Dan would want a woman like me, not for keeps.
     I tried to play it off like my brain wasn’t twisting itself inside out over the situation.  “It’s just as well I’m polyamorous.  At the risk of sounding racist, I don’t go for bloodsuckers.  You really freaked me out last night.”
     “I know I did.”  Tristan’s smile was a bitter thing, one that didn’t sit well on his handsome face.  “We have the daylight hours though.  Look, Brandilynn, no fangs.”  He opened his mouth to show me.
     I laughed.  When he kissed me, I snuggled in tight.  So sue me for wanting to bang a vamp.  He’d been honest.  He’d been open.  He’d treated me like I was a real person with real feelings.  You don’t toss aside a man like that, no matter how long his teeth grew after the sun set.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday – The Agony of Rejection


There’s nothing quite so depressing than the words, ‘Thank you for your submission.  We don’t think your work is right for us at this time.” 

Rejection sucks.  It’s that simple.  No matter how kindly you’re let down, it is one of the worst feelings in the world.  Your baby that you slaved over for months, maybe even years, has been pushed away.  I should know about the pain of this; I dealt with 20 years of repeated no thank yous to several books before Alien Embrace was finally accepted. 

So how does one deal with rejection?

First of all, go ahead and feel miserable.  Cry, pout, yell, whatever.  You have every right to experience the disappointment you feel.  It’s okay.  Just don’t get bogged down in it.  A few hours, a day max is what you’re allowed when it comes to wallowing in despair.  After that, you’re in Prozac Land and need to speak to your therapist.

Once you’re over the initial shock, remind yourself that rejection of your story is not rejection of YOU.  You’re still the terrific person you were before some bonehead editor missed the genius that is your work.  You are not diminished in any way, shape, or form.

Neither is your story.  If you did your best and had the thumbs up from trusted proofreaders, you can pretty much keep loving your work. 

Now let’s look at that rejection.  If the editor was kind enough to give you more than the standard form refusal, you’ve been given a gift.  Examine what she says.  Perhaps she makes a suggestion as to what could have made this story worth her acceptance.  Perhaps she noted a major story element that she felt wouldn’t fly with her customer base.  Whatever details you can glean, see if you agree with the assessment as to why this particular partnership isn’t going to happen.

Sometimes the publisher likes your work, but simply can’t use it for whatever reason.  I’ve had editors say no to a project, but also invite me to send them other stories.  That at least tells me I’m on the right track with my writing.

Sometimes it’s a rejection that can be turned to acceptance.  Last month a friend of mine, just starting out on her writing career, called me when her first article was rebuffed by a magazine.  She said, “The editor said that if I made a couple of changes, it would fit her magazine better.  Should I make those changes and re-submit it?”

Oh, a resounding YES to that one.  If you can make a change that will give you a sale and it’s not going to put you in an ethical dilemma, most definitely do the alterations and send it out again.  My friend did so, and she is now about to see her article published.  You should have heard her screams of delight on my voicemail.

You really should pay attention when a publisher tells you a few changes would have sold your work, even more so if you’ve been rejected for that same reason before.  If their complaint is something you’ve heard over and over again, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate.  You can whine about your writing ‘style’ and how the publishing world isn’t getting you, but you have to see it from their perspective:  it’s all about the sales they can make.  What is art to you is business to them.  If you’re adamant that you cannot change your way of writing to fit the business, then you need to look at self-publishing. 

My background in television and film makes me more amiable than most novel writers when it comes to making advised changes.  When I write a script, I am not the last word on it.  The director and producer will alter it, then the actors have to put their spin on it, then editing can change it even more to fit time constraints.  In contrast, many book writers object strenuously to publishers wanting to make changes to their work, becoming territorial and blind to what might truly help their stories sell.  A fellow writer was offered a contract with a major publishing house because the core of his stories was quite good.  It was his delivery that was less than stellar, but when the publisher gave him a list of the changes that needed to be made, this gentleman took it personally and refused the contract.  He self published instead, and he’s done rather well at it … but I have read his books, and though the first one showed great promise, the next two were honestly terrible.  The way he writes is ponderous and tiring, and those beautiful gems that are the underlying stories are lusterless because of the lack of polish.  He missed a golden opportunity to not only make a ton of money, but to become a better writer by listening to established pros.

The moral of this story?  Get over yourself.  No matter how good a writer you are, there is always room for improvement.  Listen to what others tell you are problems with your writing and don’t blow off their comments because they’re not ‘getting’ you.

Moving on…

The form refusal is perhaps the most insidious of them all.  It leaves you not knowing why the publisher didn’t want your story.  It gives you absolutely nothing to go on, no improvements to contemplate.  You might have gotten this for no other reason than the publisher was so backed up with submissions that after only a cursory glance, it was put in the reject pile.  Do remember that publishers get hundreds of submissions a day, and there’s very few of them to handle that amount of work.   This is the most likely reason for not winning the publishing sweepstakes.  Also they might have been in a bad mood.  Maybe they had a fight with that significant other this morning.  Maybe their kid is flunking math.  Maybe the boss yelled at them.  Maybe they’re just drunk or badly hung over.  At any rate, your poor little book just happened to be there when they entered Don’t Give a Shit Land, and out went the form rejection.  It happens.

Ray Bradbury, the author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, is one of my writing heroes.  The man is hands-down brilliant when it comes to weaving a tale.  You’d think a writer of his abilities never would have tasted rejection, at least not a lot of it.  You’d be wrong.

One of the things that kept me going for 20 years was Ray’s story of how when he first started out, he got lots of rejection slips.  Hundreds.  And no sales.  It got so bad that he started believing the editors of the magazines he was sending his short stories to would see his name on the return address and toss his work out without bothering to read it.  So one day he sent in a short story, using a made-up name.  When he got the letter accepting his story, he immediately contacted the magazine to let them know it was actually him.

The only thing you can do with a form rejection is use it in lieu of toilet paper.  Toss it and move on, because it’s of no use to you. 

Once in awhile, you will be the victim of the really nasty rejection.  Some editor will write you a personal note, and it’s just plain mean.  Who knows why that happens?  Again, maybe this person is having a bad day or is hung over.  At any rate, they decide it is in your best interest to know they think you are an awful writer.  They will tell you in no uncertain terms you would better serve the world sitting in a corner picking your nose than unleashing your horrific prose on the world.

That may be true.  Most likely, it’s not.  But seeing those words aimed at you is going to make you feel very small, very bad, and very hurt.

The one rejection I received that kind of fits this description stated, “This story has been done before, and it’s been done much better.”  Ouch.  Had I not already won awards for my writing and those nice rejection letters that said, “This isn’t for us, but please send us anything else you think we could use,” I might have crawled in a hole and never come out.  Brutalized, it took me a few days before I could summon the courage to submit again.  But I did, and if you believe in your writing, you should too.

One of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard was about author John Kennedy Toole, who wrote A Confederacy of Dunces.  Rejection piled on rejection was the reason cited for his suicide at the age of 31.  His grieving mother campaigned hard, never giving up on her son’s dream, and the novel was published eleven years later.  It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and many are left to wonder what else Toole might have produced had he not given up on his writing and his life.

That’s the main thought I have for you here.  If you believe in your stories, don’t let even an avalanche of rejections stop you from continuing to write and submit to publishers.  It is hard to keep going when you feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall.  Lick your wounds and do it anyway.  I sincerely hope you’ll get that acceptance letter sooner rather than later.