Feb 25, 2011

How To Completely Psych Yourself Out

I entered my one paragraph pitch in a contest a couple of weeks ago. I didn't make the finals. But not ONE of the ones I picked made the finals. I met a new friend there and her pitch was my favorite - it didn't make it either. I read her book and it was fabulous. Like depth of story and incredible writing Fabulous. When it gets published, I will recommend it to everyone I know. It was that good. And out of only 100 entries, hers didn't make it to the final ten.

What's more, I didn't love any of the ones that did win. It had nothing to do with the writing, they simply weren't my thing. So, go figure. It really is a matter of taste!!

I think that when we're putting ourselves out there by sending queries - and attending conferences and making pitches - that it really all is a matter of taste. Well, and timing.

But in the end, it all comes down to us making ourselves crazy over something that we really have very little control over. All we can do is to write our stories in the best way we know how. Send it to the agents we think have the best chance of liking our work. And wait. And wait. And then wait some more.

On the flipside - I was at an agent's blog and she was asking how to best phrase a form rejection.

From my end, my favorite was "Thanks Jolene, but this isn't for me."

Keep it simple.

So, I guess my advice is - for those who are there and those will be in my shoes soon - don't go crazy.

Enjoy the process.

Writing is fun.

Hope all you conference goers are having a blast!
I'm reveling in my newly signed contract with Cedar Fort :^D
And I can't wait to hear all the happy news and fun blogs of those of you who are attending!


  1. You know the best part of your "Thanks but..." It isn't personal that way. I like it.

  2. I agree with Terri! Congratulations once again on your contract. woohoo! I appreciate your words of wisdom. I will tuck them away for when I am in the position.

  3. My favorite rejection was from Kelly Mortimer, who's going to be at the ANWA conference this weekend. She said my story had an interesting premise and my writing showed promise, but it wasn't quite what she was looking for. I didn't take it so personally.

    Thanks for this encouraging post. It really does boil down to a matter of taste, and sometimes being in the right place at the right time. I was discouraged at first for not making it through to the 2nd round in Amazon's breakthrough novel contest. Then a few lovely sisters reminded me my kind of story probably isn't what this particular contest's judges prefer.

  4. I remember my first phone call from a LDS publisher telling me I got the greenlight....it was Horizon at the time, within one month it was bought out by Cedar Fort. I don't think they call you anymore. Atleast they didn't for my second book. Its all email...and for weeks I didn't know I was accepted because I didn't check my email. LOL!!!! I want to congratulate you. Welcome to the world of publishing.

  5. Terri and Kari - Thanks! You're awesome! I can't wait to see my book!
    Your emails don't come up with your blogger profile page - so I'm answering you here.

    If the rejection is personal, you'd better say something really nice. Otherwise, just keep it simple :)

  6. I've just been skimming my email recently and haven't replied to much, but I did want to say congrats on your book deal, Jolene. Way to go!

    And thanks for the timely advice. It's hard NOT to take it personally when you've put so much into something, but agents are people, too. (At least, that's what I HEAR . . . )

  7. Congrats again. I hope to one day be in your shoes and I appreciate the tips.


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