If you’re a writer without a rejection letter, you’re doing something wrong

imageI have a file full of rejection notes and letters from editors and publishing houses. Many are for my column when I was first starting out.

Others are in response to a murder mystery I wrote back in the late 1990s.

And one is from Miss October 1978.

In spite of the negative connotation a rejection letter conjures up in the mind of most authors — fine, every author — don’t overlook the more important aspects of what it represents.

To begin with, it means you’ve completed a written work. Given a choice between writing a 500-word essay or being tased in the buttocks, the average person would rather drop their pants than pick up a pen. The fact that you aren’t rubbing a bruised rear means you are a writer (Depending on your genre, of course). No number of rejection letters changes that. Regardless of whether its a 400-page novel or an 800-word opinion piece, you have honed and polished your words to the point you are ready to send it out to the world, either in the form of sample chapters, a query or by pushing the “publish” button on your blog or website.  Continue reading

Yes, I pretty much did my own stunts for this book cover

image As with firefighting, when it came to creating my book cover, I insisted on doing my own stunts. In this case, it meant gripping the top of a race car speeding in excess of 120 mph while simultaneously — and this was the tricky part — not messing up my hair. Oh, and I also had to hold up a cardboard sign with my free hand. We considered the idea of holding the sign between my teeth, but that idea was scrapped on the first attempt after driving through a cloud of mosquitos…

OK, fine. None of that really happened. But I would almost rather risk my life on the hood of a speeding car with a mouth full of mosquitos than promote my book, which I’ll be doing for the first time this weekend at a local book festival. It’s not that I’m one of those authors who likes to write about — but who doesn’t like being around — actual people. In fact, I am very much a people person. Not in a Hannibal Lector kind of way, but because I truly enjoy talking with and meeting new people. My anxiety over attending the book festival also has nothing to do with any fear of talking in front of large crowd, or in my case, a handful of strangers looking for the restroom as I read excerpts from my book. The truth is, I volunteer as a host for several community fundraising events each year, so being in front of a crowd — or even several confused strangers — isn’t the issue.

So what is? Continue reading