Rejection letters for J.K. Rowling?

(Photo credit: Sjhill, Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo credit: Sjhill, Wikimedia Commons)

Even __________ (insert name of mondo-famous author) gets rejections.

Did you know Dr. Seuss got rejected ___________ times? (Bigger the better!)

The numbers grew. The names changed. However, the talk remained the same in 1990s writing conferences. I wish such “chin up” assertions helped me. I was ready to hear the claim of “God’s Ten Commandments were rejected 101 times until he self-published and Moses distributed them.”

The news that J.K. Rowling would share any kind of rejection letter gave me that vintage flashback.

My advice today? Let that horse rest. Put the manuscript back in the stables. That as-is literary pony may win the next race, without a single tweak. Don’t over-analyze. Save your microscope for germs, not random rejection letters.



Write like Red Green

Red GreenNonfiction got you down?

Reality is overrated.

“How-to” reports can get boring.

Why not try writing how NOT to?

This could be recounting your true-life (mis)adventure.

There are readers who could relate.

Don’t believe me? Try searching “Ikea instructions humor.”

If it’s fun to write, the piece will be fun to read.

Author Debra Barton defuses toxic friendships

Barton Friends BookAuthor Debra Barton is back. She’s doing non-fiction right, choosing a subject many writers (and readers) would consider an emotional minefield.

Letting Go Of Friends: How To Recognize and Deal With Toxic Female Relationships is an exercise in creative courage. Barton surveyed more than 300 women to gain windows into friendships gone wrong.

I enjoyed the uplifting Dream Launch, her book debut. Barton’s newest has the same clear-eyed optimism, even though the subject matter gets much darker.

Barton identifies seven kinds of toxic friendships. Readers will nod as they find their own experiences reflected in “The Competitive Friend” and other chapters. Surveyed women even share their ages, allowing readers to see that a friendship can go sour at many stages of life.

Prepare for a jolt in “The Betrayer.” So-called friends have broken up marriages, sabotaged careers and tried other schemes that will raise anyone’s eyebrows.

The best part about Toxic Friendships is what Barton has left out of the book. She peppers each chapter with lots of helpful ideas for coping with friends who become anything but. However, the text is not stuffed with statistics or other impersonal lectures. Men would call Barton’s book a handy DIY Guide to Friendship Repair.

In fact, after reading this book, you may not think of Barton as an author. You may consider her your newest friend.



Paul McCartney & John Lennon, literary agents?

Beatles Rain 45I listened to Paperback Writer again this week.


Listening as a freelance writer gives one new appreciation for the words from Paul McCartney (with John Lennon’s finishing touches). Even today, the song mirrors the desperation of “authors” who’d do ANYTHING to get published.

The Beatles Bible” gives some fun insight about the making of the song.

Do you wonder how this one would do as an unsolicited submission for some publisher’s slush pile?

The reality of being a published author

George Washington bookWe’ve all had the dream.

Write. Get published by a mega-house.

Be careful what you wish for.

Scholastic pulled the plug on A Birthday Cake for George Washington, a picture book by Ramin Ganeshram. The publisher has “ceased distribution.”

In this first-person feature, the author explains how she was scapegoated and abandoned by her publisher. Racism? You be the judge.

Simply know that this could happen to you. You could take the blame for an illustrator’s misguided perspective. (Good luck finding any publisher who lets the author have veto power over illustrations, by the way.) Worse yet, your publisher may insist you stay silent, in hopes that protests will disappear.

This post isn’t about this book’s content. This is a wake-up call for authors. It could happen to you.




Clear your bookshelf for a new Chris Guillebeau!

Born-for-This-Final-CoverI enjoy his blog. I admire his candor.

I’m glad I own The Art of Non-Conformity and $100 Start-up.

Chris Guillebeau goes public April 5 with his Born for This. The new book features people with dream jobs they love. The author shares how these delighted folk found their calling through trial-and-error journeys.

Too many pundit-writers would choose to lecture readers on their ideas for seeking great work.

I’m confident Chris will employ the writing wisdom of “show, don’t tell.” He seems intent on letting the blissed-out workers divulge their own stories.

I’m ready to read. In fact, I feel “born for this” book.

Write what you know? Try writing who you are first!

Christina Fisanick Greer bookToo often, I see writers drowning in a years-old sea of research.

Even when writing fiction, they have been sucked in by the “write what you know” buzzwords.

Sure, anyone can fear that they’ll never truly know anything, and that their voice won’t be authentic. All the while, these worrying writers forget who they are.

Meet Christina Fisanick Greer. Look at what she’s created. Whose story is she telling? Her own!

Christina says:

“My coloring book was born out of a desire to combine my twin loves: writing and art. I love to create and to help others use their creativity to heal. Given that I am in recovery from binge eating disorder, I developed this coloring book and journal as a guide that other people in recovery could use as well.

“I have been teaching college writing for almost 20 years and am the author of nearly 30 books, so I developed writing prompts based on years of experiences. They encourage the reader to explore their recovery critically and compassionately.

“My next book, The Optimistic Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder, will be released my MSI Press in late summer. In addition, I offer a free six-lesson writing for recovery course on my website:”

“Coloring for Recovery,” Christina’s coloring book can be downloaded at her Etsy shop for just 99 cents by clicking here:

Potential authors struggle with identifying an audience of readers. Christina proves that it’s vital to create something for one reader first. That reader is yourself.