Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You know you're a writer when . . .

You know you're a writer when . . . you receive a rejection letter (or email).  After working hard on my query letter, which introduces a writer and his/her project to the agent or publisher, and fine-tuning the first few pages of my manuscript, I emailed my first query letter for my historical novel on Monday.  Tuesday I received a form email rejection letter.  Ouch!  That was quick.  My husband tells me it's good thing, because now I have narrowed down my options.  My youngest son tells me when I do publish and become famous this agent will regret rejecting me.  Here is the first line from the email: 

"Thank you very much for your query, which we have read with interest. Unfortunately, the project does not seem right for this agency, and we are sorry that we cannot offer to serve as your literary agent."

It reminds me of my first published piece.  When my two oldest sons were very young they both suffered with pretty severe asthma.  My middle son was hospitalized four times in six months.  I was working very little, and thought I'd like to try  my hand at writing.  So I followed the advice of "write what you know" and wrote an article on "Coping With Your Chronically Ill Child."  I interviewed Leo Buscaglia, a well-known psychologist, and several parents of chronically ill children, and also used personal examples.

After working for months on the article, I began to send query letters to various magazines - Parenting, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, etc.  Rejections began to arrive, one after the other.  Then one day, I remember it clearly, my husband called me at work; at the time I worked at the American Lung Association of Queens.  He told me a letter had come from American Baby Magazine.  I told him to open it and read it to me.  They accepted my article and wanted to pay me . . . wait for it. . . a whopping $250.  I was elated, ecstatic, euphoric.  This was my first published piece.  Actually, this was more exciting than when I got a contract for my first book, which I co-wrote with my former boss.  Knowing that someone found value in my work, and wanted to pay me for it, was the most fantastic feeling.

When (not if) this novel gets published, which I have labored over for six years, I think my feelings will eclipse the joy I felt when my first article was published.  But maybe not.


  1. Thanks Katie for sharing this article. Getting rejected can sometimes discourage people, but your perseverance shows us that we must continue to push forward. I look forward to reading your novel.

  2. Dear Katie,
    Thanks for sharing that experience, very inspirational !! Dan