pen and inkI can hear the wheels in your head screeching. What trick is this? Who would want failure? To give you a better picture, Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

In my Georgia Romance Writers Group, we have a program that honors rejection letters and at the end of the year, the writer with the most rejections receives a prize. What does this mean to writers? You are busy writing and submitting your stories/novels. You are continuing to do this in an attempt to get published. Courage? You’d better believe it. Embarrassed? Why? You are working hard, getting rejected, and you keep writing and submitting and  rejected until that special letter or phone call comes in…we want you to send the FULL manuscript…this little statement has made all the hard work worthwhile. Still, it is not a done deal. So, you keep writing and writing and submitting and submitting. As a writer, this is the blood that flows through our veins and keeps us going. Is this failure? It depends on how a person looks at the situation and themselves. This could happen to anyone, not just writers.

You apply for a position and feel confident about the interview. A week or two goes by and you hear nothing. So you wait a few more days before you make the call. You learn another person, more qualified, has been hired. Do you stop looking at the employment ads or do you keep sending in applications. The FAILURE would stop, but SUCCESS keeps reading the want-ads. However, instead of answering a bunch of employment advertisements, you list your qualifications, past employment history, make certain these are what the position involves, and be prepared. This is working from the success side.

As writers, we are in the same position. We are told it will be a rough ride to publication, and yet we find ourselves sending query letters to agents who do not represent our genre or maybe we hope they overlook this area. Wrong. One of the first things we learn…read the rules and qualifications of the agent and see if your work fits the categories.

As you proceed in your search, no matter what area, take a good look at your skills. Are you familiar with new technology? Do you need to brush up on your computer skills? How long has it been since you attended any conferences or meetings? Do you belong to any networking areas, a book club, or groups in your church or neighborhood? Do you volunteer for any events? These are avenues of successful people. Failure is sometimes being lazy and hoping you’ll get recognized. Success is taking your measurements and making certain you update these often.

Failure is not the end, but the beginning of a new way of thinking, being, and doing. Setbacks are sure to come along the roads you travel, but you can handle a detour. Sometimes they are as important as a straight road.

Happy Journeys.  Happy Detours.  Happy Writing.


Is Conversation in your Platform?

Platform. Platform. Platform. As writers, we hear this word over and over. This is a bio of you, your writings, which include articles, newsletters, your website and your blog. It is not about what you want to write; but about communication on an ongoing basis.

You have all this information out on the internet for people to read. You need to stop and ask yourself, “Who is my audience?” What subjects do you have expertise and could talk about? It is time for your homework.

Who is your audience? What organizations would be included in your audience. How can you reach these people? Wait. I’m lost. Okay, you write fiction, but what genre. Who is the reader of these books. Now, go directly to developing your presence with these groups.

Do you belong to writer groups? Do you meet with them? Do you go in and leave? Not any longer. You connect, talk, be friendly and open. Get to know your fellow writers and let them know you. Say, you connect with only two people; hey, these are two people you didn’t know and now they know you.

Have you ever answered a call to volunteer for one of your organizations? “I do not have time. My writing comes first.” But, if you do not have an audience, who will read your words?

Learn to offer to speak in public. “I can’t get up and talk in front of strangers or friends.” Go at this slow. If you write, you read. Check out book clubs in your genre. You can promote your book and speak to other readers. This could lead to an offer to read at a library and get other authors to come.

If you are aware of a conference, see if there might be an interest for speakers in your genre. You have done a lot of research on material for your book, fiction or non-fiction. You want to share this information with other writers, old or new, coming to the conference.

One last charge — update yourself constantly. Take advantage of every opportunity to get yourself out in the public and COMMUNICATE.

I don’t know about you, but if I speak in public and screw up, I want to be the first person to make fun of me.

Happy visibility to you and your work.