You might occasionally see your mailman deliver the mail. They’ll greet you with a smile, hand you any mail or packages, and they’re prepared to take anything you’re sending out. As a writer, I like to see the mail come and go. Even though much of our communication is done by email and by electronic payments, the mailman is a welcome symbol of the writing profession. There are still companies that send checks by mail, and there are even some that write real letters.
There will always be work for the faithful postmen to do. But I’ve come to realize a few things and I want to share them with you, because there are some things the postman won’t tell you.
They won’t have information on how to get paid more often by publishers or editors who have paid me in the past, or ones who might pay me in the future. All they can do is deliver news about work I’ve already done.
As writers we have to search the Writer’s Market guides and websites. We have to craft the pitches and articles and convince the editor and marketing department that our work is worth stroking a check for. There is another thing your mailman won’t tell you…
Why the manuscript came back
Unfortunately, the mailman will simply hand the letter or package to you. He will have no information on why it was returned. There is a good chance that there will not be any information inside either (other than “It does not meet our editorial needs at this time.”)
The author must take the hard look at the writing and dissect it. We have to take the time to see if there are reasons why it was rejected. If it needs reworking, we have to be willing to do so. If it is the best you can do, then you must send it back out into the world again. When I send something out, I also determine the next place I could send it to. This keeps me from throwing a pity party if it’s returned. I’ve hosted and attended pity parties. They’re truly miserable, and I’ve determined they’re not worth my time.
You haven’t sent anything out lately
I will admit there are times I go to the mailbox with anticipation, and there are other times when I don’t expect to find anything more than junk mail. Why? Because on those junk mail runs, I know I haven’t sent anything out. The postman won’t tell me this. He will probably just say, “Nothing today, maybe tomorrow.”
He’s not going to mention that the reason that you didn’t receive anything from a publisher or editor is because you haven’t sent anything out since Aunt Matilda encouraged you to a year ago. I have to encourage myself. You have to motivate yourself, and stay in the process. It’s a numbers game.
Regarding rejections, it is much easier to accept a rejection when you have ten others items still in circulation. It’s much harder to accept when you’re pinning your hopes all on one idea. I really respect the work our mail carriers do. I think they deserve a smile and shout out when you do get to see them. But there are just some things they won’t tell you.
Until next time, write on.