The journey to finishing a novel starts with one word. Why not start today?
What I Did: Worked on the outline for my new novel, SINGLES VS. BRIDEZILLAS
Sent out more queries for my prior novel, QUEEN HENRY. Received 12 rejections this week.
What I Read: I’m Not High by Jim Breuer
Helpful Links This Week:
What better way to learn about rejection than to hear it from someone who doles them out?
77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected provides inside information on rejections as it was written by a guy who has issued thousands and thousands of them. He has also published more than 40 books and received more than 2000 rejections of his own. The author is Mike Nappa, Founder and Chief Literary Agent of Nappaland Communications. He also served as Chief Literary Agent for three publishers.
This was a fast, breezy read that is packed with informative tidbits on exactly why many books and book proposals get rejected. It seems that a lot of the advice is aimed at nonfiction proposals, though the book doesn’t specifically say so. Still, there is plenty of valuable information that applies to fiction and nonfiction alike.
Nappa reminds writers to never forget that books are published for profit (tattoo that behind your eyeballs, as William Goldman would say). Publishing is a business and the writer who forgets that is an unpublished one. He says the most important people to impress are the Publisher, the VP of Marketing, and the VP of Sales.
Nappa’s book doesn’t merely provide tips on avoiding rejection, but provides details on the thinking of the editors, publishers, and what makes them issue a rejection. Not only that, for each scary tip on why your book may be rejected, he includes a What You Can Do About It section. After all, if you are aware of the reasons for rejection, you can avoid many of them.
Some of the reasons for rejection include:
- You Lied to Me
- You Insulted Me or My Company
- Your Book Tries to do too Much
- Your Word Count is Too Long or Too Short
- You Didn’t Do Your Homework
- You Are Lazy
- I Had a Fight With My Spouse and/or Children Just Before I Read Your Proposal
- I’ve Rejected this Book Before
- Your Project is Unoriginal
- You Have No Idea What it Means to Market a Book
- You Have No Legitimate Means for Marketing a Book
- You Have No Internet Presence
- There’s Too Much Competition For Your Book
- You Aren’t Able to Significantly Differentiate Your Book from the Competition
- You Have Unrealistic Expectations about Your Publishing Potential
- You Don’t Know Why People Buy Books
- You Want Too Much Money
- You Self-Published Yourself Into Oblivion
- Other Books Similar to Yours Did Not Sell According to Expectations
- Nothing Similar to Your Book Shows Up on Industry Bestseller Books
I highly recommend this book to find out the inside reasoning for the above rejections, as well as the other 57 reasons Mike Nappa warns your manuscript will get rejected.
You can find the book here.
“I didn’t get into this so I could talk about my work. You become an actor to act.” – Kevin Bacon
Networking does NOT mean endlessly promoting your blog, book, or reel. Make it worthwhile for people to get to know you. Ask yourself, what’s in it for them?
What I Did: Read out loud Chapter 16 to the END of my novel. After 8 months of writing, drafting, revising, critiques and blood, sweat, and tears – 361 pages, 100,988 words :
I FINISHED MY NOVEL!!!
Thanks to my mom, dad, sister, and neighbor/friend, Denise who read the book. They were not included in last week’s rant about people not reading it (you people know who you are, but I don’t think you read my blog either!!) because I had not sent it to them yet.
I sent out a few email queries and got 3 rejections so far. I’m oddly proud of these rejections…and it feels great to finally be able to start marketing this thing.
Went from 728 Twitter Followers to 801
What I Read: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (I could not put this book down. Highly recommended!!!)
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. I think I was officially the last writer on the planet to read this book that everybody’s talking about.
What I Saw: Moneyball. Between that and reading The Art of Fielding, I am so ready for spring training to start!!!
Helpful Links I Found This Week
Many thanks to today’s Guest Blogger – comic Danny Rouhier!
Danny Rouhier is the host of Overtime weeknights from 7-11 on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC. His highly acclaimed show has landed him spots on Comcast Sportsnet, features in the Washington Post, and the regular slot hosting the station’s Redskins post game show with Lavar Arrington. As a comic, Danny has traveled all over North America performing at clubs, colleges, and festivals. Combined with his incredible gift of impersonations and character imitation, Danny uses a lightening quick wit with a charming self-deprecating style. His unique voice resonated with Washington Redskins fans and the weekly videos he produced about the struggles of the team have garnered over 200,000 views to date.
Danny has performed with industry giants like Jim Gaffigan, Kevin Nealon, Bill Burr, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, Todd Barry, Daniel Tosh, Bob Saget, Reggie Watts, Adam Ferrara, and more. In addition to many of the best clubs in the US and Canada, he has performed at numerous festivals including the Bumbershoot, DC, Boston, and Detroit Comedy Festivals. Danny has also been featured on numerous TV programs including: ‘The A-List’ on Animal Planet, ‘TV’s 25 Biggest Blunders’, and ‘The History of Sex on TV’. He was also the studio comic for the Tyra Banks Show which means he performed in front of over 300 judgmental women per day.
Check out his website and follow him on twitter – @funnydanny.
The Joy of Failure
I’m typing this is I watch one of Chris Rock’s HBO specials. He has the crowd eating out of his hand. Through his hour special, he takes the audience on a winding road. He is like a conductor of a symphony calling on applause and laughter almost at will. He has the audience applauding at their own faults and even at assertions like the federal government hates rap music so much, they’ve prevented law enforcement from finding Tupac Shakur’s killer. They love everything he does. At this point, he could take out the phone book and read it with comments and get a standing ovation. That’s the end game. That’s the pinnacle. That’s the perfection point.
Standup comedy is hard. The great ones make it look easy but it was hard for them too. For every sold out theater show where a famous comic kills for a crowd who paid to see him, there’s a million shows at bars where they don’t turn off the tv, shows in cafeterias, or shows in conference rooms. The process can be frustrating, humbling, and terrifying. To really be a standup comic, you have to face a litany of fears. There’s no net. It’s YOUR material. It’s YOU up there. The audience can see you and you can feel them. If it doesn’t go well, you’ll know right away. In addition to the fear of failing in front of a group, a comic must confront his own faults and quirks and learn to share them with the crowd. You’re going to fail and you’re going to fail a lot. The most important thing you can do as you embark on this incredible experience is embrace that simple fact: You are going to fail.
I suppose it’s like anything else in life in that you need experience to get better. We all fail at first to a degree. It’s of course what you choose to do with that failure that makes you who you are. Failing in standup comedy is different. It’s live. That’s what makes it both exhilarating and scary to those from the outside. Comics know the rush they get from a joke gone well and seek that feeling every time they write a joke. But to have it go bad? That feels like dying. That’s why comics call it just that when they have a bad set. To fail onstage, in front of a crowd, is one of the top fears that human beings have. On every survey that comes out, public speaking ranks right up there with fear of heights, spiders, and things that can actually kill you.
So, where does that leave us? We know comedy is hard and we know people are afraid to fail in front of others. It also means that you are to be congratulated. It means you are willing to put yourself out there. It means that you are willing to go on an incredible ride of self-discovery, face your fears, fail, learn, grow, be humbled, seek to be more than you are, hope, not be satisfied, desire, believe, and create. Embrace the process. Understand that this will be an incredible challenge. Believe in yourself and your ability to meet challenges. It’s not a race so don’t worry about how fast you progress or don’t. Just know that this will be what you make of it.
Congratulations. I mean that more than you can know.
“I like to look like a person. It drives me crazy when you see women in movies playing teachers and they have biceps. It totally takes me out of the movie. I start thinking, wow, the actress playing this part looks really great!” – Emma Stone
Read, write, learn, repeat. That’s really all there is to becoming a good writer.
What I Did: More editing on my novel Queen Henry. Read Chapters 8-16 aloud
Went from 670 Twitter followers to 728 (building up my “writer platform”)
What I Read: Not So Snow White by Donna Kauffman
What I Saw: The Rainmaker
Cool Links I Found:
The Same Difference – This article is about why we do what we do – to move the spirit!