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Avenging Rejection: 9 Authors Who Prove Its Never Too Late

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Article by Caren Kennedy © 24 January 2012.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

The standard rejection letter is the worst part of the writing business.  When you receive one (and everyone does at one time or another) wise writing heads will nod and tell you it happens.  It’s not personal.  It’s business.  Get over it.  All true of course but how do you ‘get over’ it exactly?  You don’t.  At least not initially.  Instead, you enact a campaign of revenge.

The trick is to change your mental attitude to the point where if you don’t receive at least one rejection letter every week, you feel rejected. When this happens, and after you’ve stopped feeling sorry for yourself and calling all editors ‘shits’, you type a fresh cover note and send the piece out again. Don’t waffle, brag or beg for mercy. Simply state your case, back off and forget about it. If the reject letter arrives, repeat the process. In the meantime, you get on with writing something else and when done, you get this circulating also. And so it goes.

Granted this level of output is only practical for short stories, essays and articles etc., but the same principal applies to novels. As soon as the first one is out and about doing the rounds according to the listings contained in the Writers & Artists’ Yearbook, you get on with writing your second novel. In this way, when the first one has been well and truly consigned to The Reject Pile (a process which can take up to two or three years) you can exact revenge on all those who rejected it by sending them a copy of your second one. And so this goes also.

In other words, and as any writer will tell you, so long as you’re sure your work is good enough, keep sending it out and sooner or later you’ll get a break.

But here’s the rub. Developing a writing career takes time and plenty of it. Moreover, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, bouncing back from rejection is hard work, and harder still for anyone attempting to kick-start a career late in life. Many feel they need to get places now before it’s too late and as a result are more likely to get disillusioned early on. Let’s face it, if you’re plus 40, as I am, and touting your first manuscript around town, then ‘sooner or later’ can’t come soon enough. If this sounds like you, then think again and read on.

Janet Evanovich didn’t start writing until she was in her thirties and for the following ten years got precisely nowhere trying to write ‘The Great American Novel’. After someone suggested she switch to romance, she read a few and gave it a shot. She wrote two romances and submitted them for publishing and … nothing. Evanovich then stopped writing and signed on with a temporary employment agency. Several months later and bingo! she received an offer to buy her second manuscript for $2,000 and the rest, as they say, is big bucks history. She is now the best selling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, 12 romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and graphic novels, Wicked Appetite (the first book in the Lizzy and Diesel series) and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author.

Similarly, Sue Monk Kidd was 53 when her first novel The Secret Life of Bees was published in 2002. Since then, it has sold more than 6 million copies, spent over 2 ½ years on the New York Times bestseller list and been published in 35 countries. It was awarded the 2004 Book Sense Paperback Book of the Year; nominated for the Orange Prize in England; and chosen as Good Morning America’s Read This! Book Club pick.

The Huffington Post lists seven other late blooming authors, each one proving it’s never too late to turn a fledgling writing career into a success story. To find out more, click here.

For more about Caren, visit: www.carenkennedywrites.com


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CAREN KENNEDY runs writing.ie's Word Play blog and is the creator of a television series currently in pre-production with Warner Bros TV and co-author of Fake Alibis (BenBella Books, 2009). As well as being a regular contributor to Journal.ie, publishing credits include local, national and international publications. In conjunction with The Inkwell Group, Caren also gives one-to-one mentoring on how to begin writing for television in her online course: http://www.inkwellwriters.ie/workshops/writing-tv-treatments. She is represented in the US by Vamnation Entertainment and TriadaUS Literary Agency.

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