Why Submitting Your Work Helps Your Writing Career—Even If You Get Turned Down

Every few months I go through a round of querying agents. Currently, I’m submitting queries for my third completed novel. So far, no one’s biting.

How is this helping my writing career?

Well, in three BIG ways…

Business Writing Skills

Writing a query letter, and a synopsis, and an author bio, and a summary of why you’re qualified to write this or that book, most definitely falls into the category of practical, self-promotional content. As a writer who deals in fiction, this is challenging for me. I’m not used to laying out the nuts and bolts of my projects and my writing past.

Submitting our work pushes us to create material outside of our comfort zones.

Even after you get your book published you’ll need to write this sort of stuff about yourself and your books. Published authors today see their writing as a business. And successful writers know it’s never too soon to get started on your promotional material.

Preparation

When I first started querying a couple of years ago I had no idea what I was doing. Every new thing I discovered that I needed to submit to agents seemed difficult and intimidating. As a result, I procrastinated. A lot. But now I know through experience that I can write a solid synopsis in one afternoon.

When we feel prepared to do the work in front of us, we are less likely to fall prey to fear and procrastination.

Because I’ve written so many different query letters, I have an entire file to work with when I query. Having the materials I need at my fingertips makes submitting my work to agents much more efficient, and makes the experience much more pleasant overall.

Growing that “Thick Skin”

Writers hear it all the time. It takes a “thick skin” to survive in this business. But how do you get that essential armor if you’re not naturally born with it? The answer is experience. Doing the same thing over and over again desensitizes a human being to any process.

Once your brain can’t process something as “new” anymore, it just doesn’t have the same effect on you.

My first rejection hurt. My second stung a bit. Now I’ve gotten so many that I’ve lost count, but each one is hardly a blip on my radar. I make a note of it and move onto the next.

When you begin to submit your work—whether you’re querying agents or sending short stories to magazines and journals—it’s scary. But it gets easier. It really does.

And once you’re over that first big hurdle of starting the process, you never have to go back to it again. Because the world will show up with new challenges for you, and your writing.

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