07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Are you passionate about getting published? If you are reading this blog you are obviously passionate about writing.  The icing on the cake, the thing to really strive for is publication. It isn’t an easy road. It can be fraught with heartache and disappointment. You need the passion to soldier on no matter what. You have to have a hide like an elephant. Look adversity (by that I mean rejection) in the face and spit in its eye if necessary (figuratively speaking of course). You have to be prepared to accept rejection, or the glimmer of hope with a “nice” rejection letter. If you are passionate about your stories and never give up, one day you will “GET THE CALL.”

The following is part of a talk I gave at my local writing group. We all have to give these talks from time to time. I was scared witless when my turn came. I hate public speaking, but I had the passion. It allowed me to ask questions and to confess a few of the devious things I did, tricks of the trade I deceived myself into believing. In reality, it showed my total inexperience.
You have written a fabulous novel, your mother loved it and your girlfriend said it was the best story she had ever read.

Now, who is the lucky publisher? You know everyone will want it. The dollar sign lights up in your eyes. Six figure advance, well maybe you would take five for starters. You are already debating what you will wear to your first book launch.

Who will play the lead role when your masterpiece is made into a movie?

These are the questions you ask yourself.

Believe you me I have tried just about every gimmick known to man (or woman) as the case may be.

I have had so many near misses, I could write a book about it.  A publisher accepted my book then was taken over by another publisher who didn’t want my work.  I got myself an agent who unfortunately died. I finally got published and my book was out for a couple of months then the company went out of business.

What do you do?  Lie in a corner in the foetal position. Kick, scream etc.

NO, throw yourself a pity party if you like, have a few chockies/drinks and get on with it.

I have sent manuscripts to the large category romance publishers. The bigger the better I thought and received rejection letters, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. I could paper the side wall of my house with them.  Along the way I entered and won, or was commended in, unpublished manuscript awards so I was reassured that I had some talent.

In desperation (before the e-book revolution), I posted off a manuscript that had been rejected a few months earlier, but this time I used my maiden name and my mother’s address. It was returned. Then I decided to send the manuscript off again and pretended to be my husband. I wrote a little introductory note saying I was a male nightshift worker at an international airport, (which he was).

A couple of months later the manuscript was returned from the junior editor saying she quite liked the storyline, I really did write like a woman, but they had read something similar only a few weeks previously.

My blood was up; the bit was between my teeth.  I had to get my story out of the “slush” pile and on to the Senior Editors desk. But how?

A few weeks before Christmas a friend of ours, who was a sales representative, proposed a daring plan that couldn’t fail. He said. “Wrap the manuscript up in Christmas paper, put a fancy ribbon on it and send it to the senior editor. No junior editor would dare open the boss’ Christmas present.” What a master stroke I thought, the man was a genius.

Well, a couple of months later, said present winged its way back to me, pretty ribbons intact, sticky tape untouched by human hand. The brief note said. Thank you for the gift, but we don’t accept presents. Merry Christmas etc. etc. The devastation was killing. I felt like the world had ended.

Then I got smart.

I joined a local writers group, attended conferences, and honed my skill, researched the markets and found Whiskey Creek Press and The Wild Rose Press. I now have eight novels published, so my passion and hard work (without the devious manoeuvres) eventually paid off.

Perseverance and passion is the key. Don’t ever give up on your dream of publication.


Sarah Raplee said...

Your passion took you in some interesting directions, Margaret! i enjoyed your post.

I totally agree that perseverance and passion are keys to success in this field. And a lot of study and hard work!

Judith Ashley said...

Wow! you are one creative lady outside of novel writing!!! My involvement in RWA, my local and long distance chapters, and Romancing The Genres has certainly improved my writing. Thanks for the reminder of how powerful perseverance and passion are in this business.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Judith and Sarah,
Thanks for dropping by, I apprecite it.