Over the last few months I have been asked by three authors if I would mentor them. I was flattered even though I had to say no.
I use to mentor authors for free or rather I offered and offered. I wanted to help those get to where I was at the time. Not a single person took me up on it. Even if it meant me taking the time out of my busy schedule, putting in extra work and coordinating times and places not a single person raised their hands to take me up on it. Not one.
If any author who was higher up than me had reached out I would be on their front porch before their sentence was done.
I didn’t know what to make from this. So, I stopped offering. Taking a class about learning our worth I decided to start charging for my services. The minute I did that people reached out to me. Sadly the ones who I repeatedly asked over the years finally reached out not knowing I now charge. They were not happy. But I didn’t budge. After four years of trying to help for free that ride was over.
It takes a lot of time for me to mentor an author from start to end especially one who is not published yet. And more especially one who has not been published and their book is unedited. To do that means to walk away for a bit from my family and my business. That seminar taught me to hold firm and to value what I know.
It doesn’t help that some people want the magic bullet. This means they not putting in the work that one needs to do to get to the results they want. If I am going to give you that much time I do expect it back.
So, when three people asked me to mentor them I expressed it simply. I mentioned that it involved a lot of time and effort from me and a true commitment from the author. Plus that I now charge. But I did leave them with three nuggets of information that I feel is imperative to getting your book out there and making the progress I have made.
Some will appreciate it while others won’t. That’s okay. Maybe in the future those who don’t will realize what all is involved and why I had to say no. Plus, why I now charge.
Yes, another post about query letters. This one concerns the letters you might get.
Anytime a publisher replies, even if it is a rejection letter, and they give you something to work with pay attention to what they are saying. These are nuggets of gold as I call it. Be appreciative of the time they took to write you back. With all the letters they get this is not a luxury they have, time.
If any gives you any positive reinforcement be appreciate of that as well for the same reason. You can build off of this knowing you are heading in the right direction.
I submitted Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure to quite a few publishers. I had one in the state reply to me. He stated that while he was saying no he gave me three points of what he felt I should do to make my manuscript stronger. Three. I was over the moon and floored. He was objective where I could not be. Plus he saw things my writer groups had missed. He didn’t have to tell me anything. He didn’t even have to reply. But he did.
I took the suggestions to heart and applied what he suggested immediately.. After having my editor fix the changes I added I resubmitted the book. Two publishers later someone accepted my query letter. That is how my first book was published by a traditional publishing house.
I was stoked. I was soooo stocked. I even included him in my acknowledgments of the book.
Again, I go back to authors who submit and give up easily. They also tend to not take a response with tips seriously. But they should. I have had publishers give me encouragements, give me points of what I was doing right and with my first book the lane to turn into to having it published.
If you are fortunate to get a positive reply from a publishing house, regardless if it is a rejection letter, pay attention. It may be the step you need to achieving the goal you are reaching for.
A local writer began a few years ago to send out query letters to publishers. She, like everyone else who does this, started to get rejection letters.
When I asked her after some time how it was going she informed me she was quitting, I learned she sent out six. Nothing I could say or do would convince her to keep going.
To be honest if you are going to give up that readily how serious are you wanting to be traditionally published or get a literary agent? How badly do you feel your book deserve a shot?
I was just really surprised how easily she gave up on herself and her book. Rejections from publishers are a rite of passage. It will happen. No one is immune.
To date this writer has not sent any more letters.
When I was submitting “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure” I received a lot of rejections. Some didn’t even send me a reply back. But I did something apparently that was odd according to other writers. I saved all my rejection letters. People tend to give me a weird look when I tell them that. But I have and will continue for any other manuscript I submit. To me it shows I am still trying, still believing in my book and myself and knowing that there is bound to be someone who loves my book as much as I do.
My mantra is still the same as it was when started. All I need is one yes, just one. In fact I have that taped up to my cork board by my desk. For if you don’t love your book, and I mean truly love your book, why would anyone else?