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Thursday, March 10, 2011

10 Reasons Why Your Book May Not Get Published

Most writers have faced some form of rejection related to their work, whether we reject it ourselves or it lands on top of an agent's slush pile of queries and manuscripts. There are some tips writers can use to minimize receiving the dreaded standardized rejection letter in your inbox and I'll try and cover a few to help you stay motivated. If writing is truly your passion, follow through and don't give up. Some famous authors were rejected dozens, even hundreds of times before getting published, including Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, John Grisham, Judy Blume, Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." ~ Author Unknown

Reasons Why Your Work May Never Get Published

1. You haven't written it yet.
I think this covers most people who have chronic proscratination or lack of motivation. No one will ever know you are a writer, if you never write.

2. You haven't developed tough skin.
Do some self-reflection and ask yourself is this truly your passion, do you have what it takes to absorb the rejection that is surely to come your way?

3. You don't read often enough.
If your desire is to be a writer, you ought to have a desire for reading. You should read just as often if not more, than you write. Reading fuels creativity and it can help alleviate writer's block.

4. Your work is full of clichés.
Some writers fall into this trap because they're too lazy to find other ways of being descriptive. Clichés are boring to readers, and even moreso to agents and publishers. Add too many clichés and you'll be back to square one. (cliche intended)

5. You're writing like you're advertising and getting paid for it.
Avoid excessive brand name dropping unless it really helps describe to your readers what you're talking about. Readers don't need to know every designer car, jewelry and clothing in the story. Sometimes simple is better. Just be concrete.

6. You have no hook.
Most readers skim through the first chapter of a book when browsing through the store. They are checking to see if the book has any zip. If it doesn't, they put it down. Same applies to agents, if it doesn't catch their attention in the first few sentences.....slush pile!

7. You have a hook and no middle.
Have you ever bought a book and read the first few chapters and then put the book away, never to pick it back up again? Novels need to build in intensity. Your characters should find it harder and harder to reach their goals.

8. Your character never wins or loses.
How boring is it to listen to a story where a person always has good fortune? Or what about characters who can never catch a break? Characters need to reach some goals, even if they fall back a few steps after reaching them.

9. Your dialogue is disastrous.
There are so many dialogue No-No's, I can't possibly name them all in this post. But a few to avoid are, sing-song (characters are sweet as pie...oops cliche!), chit-chatty (too much talking, not enough doing), exclamatory (characters speak as if they are always having an emotional meltdown or argument), info overload (everyone can't be an expert witness), soap-box (telling the moral of the story), preaching (self-explanatory), gratuitous adverbs (minimize the use of "ly" and use solid verbs) and overuse of speech tags (stick with "he said," "she said")

10. You didn't do your research.
This is a common pitfall. It is the complaint I hear most from agents at writer conferences. Writers sending in work, but didn't do their research to see if the agent was the right fit. Sending your work to an agent who doesn't represent your genre is sure to be a waste of time on your part and the agent. Some agents receive hundreds of queries a week, adding your work to the pile just slows down the process for other writers. Also, not doing enough research on the topic you are writing about can be another issue. When you don't do your research on a particular topic, it shows.

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. " ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


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I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive. My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at and You may contact me via email at:

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