It's time for another Wow Wednesday, and today's guest blogger is Michele Corriel, an award-winning journalist, freelance writer, book reviewer and--as of next month--debut author. Michele's middle grade novel, Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery, comes out in July 2010, and her debut picture book, Weird Rocks, will be out this fall. She is also the Regional Advisor for SCBWI's Montana Chapter and conducts writing workshops throughout the year. She is represented by The McVeigh Agency. Keep reading for her insight on getting published....
Giving Up Is Unforgiveable
by Michele Corriel
If I were to give one word of advice to writers trying to get his or her book published I would say don’t give up. I recently heard a quote that I LOVE:
“Failure is inevitable but giving up is unforgiveable.”
Failure is inevitable. Of course it is. I should know. I could probably repaper at least one room of my house with my years of rejection letters. So, yes, failing is really quite easy. It’s inevitable. It’s inevitable because we learn from our mistakes. We learn to write better queries. We learn how to meet agents and to go to conferences. We learn to be better readers and we learn to be better writers. And we do it all by failing miserably.
But then one day, the phone rings and it’s an editor who loves your manuscript and wants to publish it. And you start to realize that all those years of hard work, all those rejection letters that you cried over, all those hours, days, months spent alone in front of your computer talking to yourself didn’t mean you were crazy – it meant you hung there. And finally you’ve climbed one mountain and are looking out at the world from the top.
It may not be the highest mountain. It may not have the best views. But you got there.
Of course once you’re there you can see all these other mountains you want to climb – higher ones, prettier ones – but now you know you can do it. If you keep your feet on the trail and put one foot in front of the other, you can make it to your destination.
For me the important thing is know it’s possible. Because I am relentless. And I say that with some pride. (Of course, some people don’t think of that as a good quality.)
Okay – so, in brief, here’s my how I am living proof that going to conferences, doing my homework, and not giving up got me two book contracts in one week. (Yes, two in one week!!)
I’d written this funny mystery and I really loved my main character, Thomas Weston, a hard boiled reporter with newspaper ink in his veins. I rewrote the manuscript at least four times, and I was still getting rejections letters. But one day I got a rejection letter that suggested I change the ending. So I did. Then I took it to a conference where I met the publisher of Blooming Tree Press. I told her about the book and she asked me to send it to her. Nearly a year had passed and I hadn’t heard anything. Then one day the phone rang and it was Miriam Hees saying she wanted to buy my book!
Later that same week, I got another phone call from Mountain Press about a non-fiction picture book I’d sent to them two days before. They wanted to buy that book! Two offers for two different books in one week after YEARS AND YEARS of rejections.
So just let me just say this: Failure is inevitable. It is. We are human. And because we’re human we make mistakes, we fail. But we also learn. And that’s the important thing.
But giving up IS unforgiveable. If that manuscript is sitting in your computer or on your desk no one is going to see it. It is just that. Sitting there. So do your homework, accept the fact that you will fail. But don’t give up. You will succeed.
Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery
Blooming Tree/Tire Swing Press