On Negativity

“I hate writing queries”

“The dreaded synopsis”

“Waiting is driving me mad”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar? I think we’ve all complained about something on our submission journey. How could we not? It’s a tough road!

Let’s be real though. There are things we have to do if we want to sell our work. Research and Query Letters. Correct formatting. Direction following. Some of us have to write a synopsis. All of us have to wait. These are parts of the total package that we have to put together if we want to sell our work. We signed up for this when we decided to try to sell our work to traditional publishers. So why all the negativity?

“I hate writing queries”

I can’t tell you how much it drives me mad to hear people say they hate writing query letters. Yes, query letters can be a bugger sometimes. Other times they can flow easily. It can sometimes depend on how strong your hook is. Maybe not being able to write your query letter is telling you something. It could be that you need to do some more thinking about your book and maybe do some revisions to make it a more salable manuscript. It could mean that you need to quit being shy and think like a salesperson. Or maybe it means you need to study query letters… or take a break and come back and try later… or just accept the fact that you need to write a query letter and do it!  It helps to remember that query letters can take a long time and lots of revising. It’s part of the process. A fun part in my opinion but I’m weird like that.

“The dreaded synopsis”

Don’t even get me started. I have read that phrase so many times that sometimes I feel like that’s what it’s called. NO. It’s just a synopsis. You wrote the book, you can write a synopsis of it. No dreading. Yeah, it might be hard. It is going to take time. It is going to be work. But heck, it’s freaking exciting. It means you’re getting close to submitting! Buckle down and do it. (Or maybe you did it when you were prewriting and plotting and just need to revise it. Yay you!) If you need help there are tons of resources out there. You’re online, look it up!

“Waiting is driving me mad”

Of course there’s the ever-present I want to know right now syndrome. Perhaps Twitter pitch days haven’t helped all that much with that because how fabulous is it to pitch something from the comfort of your own home with the chance to get a request the very same minute? Don’t get used to it. Publishing is one of the slowest businesses there is. And guess what? You can wait. Time has a way of passing, especially if you work on other things and *poof* suddenly you have heard back.

Yes, all of these things can be hard. I am sorry! But hey, if they were easy everyone would be doing it. Things can be made harder (or easier!) depending on your attitude. If you think something is terrible… you talk about how you hate it… you look at it in a negative way, then you’re already putting blocks in your way to achieving it. No, having a positive attitude isn’t going to write something for you, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt. Stay positive. You can do this!

2 thoughts on “On Negativity

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  1. We can write query letters because we’re writers, and they’re only letters. And if we know our story, writing a synopsis should be like sitting down with a girlfriend and telling her about our cool new book. It’s like telling someone about a movie you just watched. As for waiting… it teaches us patience. Plus, if we just get on with the next project, we might forget about the one we just sent and (however many months later) be surprised when an editor says “yes!”


  2. Heather, this is spot-on! It is tempting to dread parts of this process, or complain about the speed or imprecision of some of the steps, but you are so right about our mindset making all the difference. Thanks!


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