Saturday, March 06, 2010

Developing The Writer’s Thick Skin by Linda O. Johnston

Last month, I asked for questions, and I got a couple of excellent ones from Jeri Hoag. One of them was about how to keep positive in the face of rejections that often come when you start submitting a book for publication.
It isn’t easy, but it is necessary. Keep in mind that, no matter what stage of writing you’re in, there are always negative things that can occur. Published or not, you can receive rejections on your submission, by editors and agents. If you already have a relationship with them, they’re sometimes kinder in how they reject your work, but a rejection is still a rejection.

Once you’re published, though, you have a track record that follows you. I won’t lie. It helps. But remember that when you’re published your work is out there for more than a few people to look at. You’ll get reviews. Some are positive, which is always a kick.

But some will be negative. Sometimes very negative. Sometimes very negative and posted on Amazon and other sites from which you hope people will want to buy your books. That kind of review, one that can discourage people from trying your work, is always a real kick in the gut.

So... how to stay positive when faced with the knowledge that not everyone will like your writing? Well, one thing I’ve learned is that, once you’ve submitted something, always be working on something else. That was one of Jeri’s questions, too--or at least she asked if it’s okay to start a new book while editing the one before. I’ve always found starting a new project helpful. Why? Because even if you get rejections or bad reviews, your mind will be at least somewhat focused on your new work, so maybe it won’t hurt as much. Hopefully.
The best advice I can give is to just keep at it. Let the hurt roll off as well as you can. And always keep in mind that you’re a writer. Everything you write has quality, and each thing you write helps you learn to make the next thing better. Opinions of other people, whether agents, editors or readers, are all subjective and individual. Try to aim for those who really appreciate what you do--and keep at it!

Anyone have questions I can address next month?    

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 15 romance novels and several novellas, including a current Nocturne Bites, with 2 more Nocturnes upcoming. She also writes the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. HOWL DEADLY, the newest title in the series has just been released.