As many of you know, I have been working towards publication for some time. I have edited, revised and submitted countless queries to endless numbers of agents and publishers since my aspirations began. In terms of my 'rejection number', I have no idea. I dont see the point in keeping track of my failures, instead focusing on new avenues, revising my work, and trying to better myself as a writer.
Rejections are part of the business. You're going to get many, before you get a full request. And even then, it will probably end in a rejection. As disheartening is it is, it is the business.
Unfortunately, not all wanna be writers see it this way.
Today, a 'writer' took to his blog to document rejection #319 in a cruel, misogynistic rant about the agent who turned him down now. Jennifer Johnson Blalock is that agent. Face to face at a conference, David Benjamin did a speed dating version to the query pitch. Of course, by the sounds of it, he broke all the rules of said meetings, and after becoming peeved that Ms Johnson didnt remember his query...God knows how long ago he sent it, and the fact he expects any agent to remember one query in their inbox of hundreds is ludicrous. But, it would seem that was his expectation, and when Jennifer did not take to his pitch, he turned to the keyboard to join the ranks of the internet warriors.
To say this was career suicide would be the understatement of the year. The rant, which has already made the rounds on Twitter and other literary blogs and media, has all readers convinced Benjamin is a self righteous fool who has effectively shot himself in the foot. All agents I have seen talking about the matter have searched their inbox for his name, and have crafted what I am certain are creative and definitely not form rejection letters.
The lesson in this? Agents do read their queries. They are people with a job, and just like anyone else do not deserve to be degraded for a choice or decision just because someone feels they have the right to representation. Additionally, the literary world is much smaller than many realize. Agents talk. They talk about their successes, failures and especially the 'writers' who make all the wrong choices.
Many agents and agencies were reluctant to post the blog info or screen shots, not wanting to give this fool anymore attention. But, some have, primarily to showcase the abuse that some agents face, and that such behavior is career suicide. Additionally, in my opinion, it is simply the stupidest thing I have ever read.
If you want to know more, you can read the blog post HERE, or check out a summary from New Leaf Literary HERE
In this case, it would seem that David Benjamin's #319 rejection will most definitely not be his last.
If you follow any author / writer / agent / editor Twitters, you may have noticed your timeline flooded with images, tweets and info on recent writers conferences. The most recent of which being the Romance Writers Association convention in San Diego, for those up and coming writers it is another fuel to the writing flame...to be able to attend a conference, mingle with others with the same passion, and promote your work.
One of the biggest writers conferences in America is undoubtedly Writers Digest. Held annually, it has a little bit of everything a writer could be looking for to promote themselves and their work.
Here is a little bit about the conference, in case anyone is interested in attending this year!
LOCATION: New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Ave, New York NY
DATE: August 12-14, 2016
DETAILS: Multiple keynote speakers, PITCHSLAM, one on one opportunities with agents, and more!
Check it out HERE
Many aspiring authors, such as myself, use blogging as a way to build a platform while working towards that elusive book deal. It is an easy, intriguing and diverse way to get your name out there, and a platform to show readers and agents alike the your style, thoughts and expertise.
I recently spoke with a fellow aspiring author from the Wattpad world about making that step from Wattpad to traditional publishing and all the avenues and tasks necessary to make the transition. Querying, proofing the manuscript, writing the synopsis. Researching agents, comp titles, more, more more. It isn't just about writing a good story...its about building an audience and showing agents and publishers that you are worth their effort.
In keeping with this 'building your audience' idea, I've decided to do a little compilation of how to build an intriguing blog, and attract readers in a few easy steps!
1) BE UNIQUE - don't blog about what everyone else is blogging about. Mix it up! I talk about my own work, pitch parties, writing...but I have also discussed literary classics, book to film heroes, and more. Everything stems from books, because that I what I love,. But it isn't all just about my own, or what is popular. Think about the kind of topics that interest you, and if there aren't a lot of articles about it...change that!
2) AVOID TENSION - people tend to get riled up when you discuss politics, religion, etc...so, my advice? Don't do that on your blog. It may stir the pot, and anger new readers before they have ever had a chance to appreciate your work. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot.
3) VISUAL IMPRESSION - using images and the like tend to give articles and blogging a visual impact, rather than just words. Post covers, stills, etc to bring in other factors of your content
4) SHARE THE WEALTH - to avoid blogging burn out, and also to diversify your posting, have co hosts, and guest bloggers. Interview other writers, and discuss topics with them. Their new viewpoint and fresh stance will have other readers taking note, taking part, and possibly checking out your cohorts as well
5) RECOMMEND - if people are fans of your writing, and your blog, why not recommend what YOU love? Favorite books, top ten lists, films and the like that you found inspiring, and maybe even inspired some of your readers favorite stories of yours. Share that insight to yourself, and it will make your readers feel even closer to you
These are obviously only a few of the various different techniques and suggestions for writing an interesting and audience grabbing blog. Others, such as continuity, frequency, topics and the like change with each individual, since as a romance writer myself, I have little knowledge of the sci fi world...so for me to start writing about it would seem disingenuous. Keep your blog fresh, with variety, but be true to you and your readers!
Random thoughts from me on books, writing, news and more!