Friday, January 15, 2016

When an Editor Says They Like Your Writing

It’s so much fun when I receive an acceptance letter on a client’s behalf, and I get to give the news and celebrate with the author. But I also consider it a potential win when I receive a letter from editors that goes something like, ‘Although this piece doesn’t suit our needs at this time, we would like to see more of your writing.’ I immediately turn around and send that editor some more of that writer’s work.

But apparently for some writers, women in particular, this kind of letter doesn’t prompt immediate action. Instead it seems to cause for a lot of inner questioning. Apparently, men are more likely to take the editors at their words and send them more writing right away. Women don’t. Why?

An article by Kelli Russell Ogodon titled Submit Like a Man: How Women Writers Can Become More Successful says that women overthink it and it get lost in a quagmire of self-questioning. She imagines it goes something like this:
“Maybe I should wait a few months so I don’t seem desperate or so I don’t irritate them by submitting so fast. Do they really want to see more work, or were they just being nice? ...I wouldn’t want to be an imposition and it would be better manners and more respectful to wait a bit. ...I wouldn’t want to impose.”

And then the few months pass and that plan is forgotten. Meanwhile the men are receiving acceptance letters for subsequent submissions.

If you have been so devastated by a rejection letter that you failed to notice an embedded invitation, go back through letters you’ve received from editors and see if any invited further submissions. If so, stop whatever you are doing and send them some more of your work!

We women have inherited a lot of passive traits that don’t serve us. Many of us were raised to wait to be invited into the dance of life, so we sit like wallflowers. As writers, women may find rejection too hurtful, and may not even read the words of encouragement in the letter, or assume they are not sincere. My writer clients confess that either they have never sent their writing out, or they have sent it out but have been so devastated by the first rejection letter that they put their writing back in the drawer and couldn’t muster the courage to send it out again. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to pull those pieces out and send them off into the world again. If you haven’t a clue where to begin, I’m at your service.

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