Why you won’t get published

I know, I know. It’s a downer of a post title. However, it speaks to one of the biggest fears a writer indulges. The fear of failure. The fear of putting in potentially years of time and effort into your craft and never seeing anything in return.

It’s also a question writers constantly ask themselves and each other. “Why?”

Why did that agent reject my last query letter?

Why didn’t the critique group think my latest chapter was as awesome as I thought it was?

Why is my self-published book not selling, despite my marketing efforts?

In the article, 11 Reasons You Won’t Get Published, a collection of deadly writing sins are held up to the light and examined. Do you recognize any of them in yourself? Might one or two or more of these be hampering your chances for writing success?

These are the deadly sins of the aspiring author. Of the career freelancer. Even of the writer who just wants to see a few stories picked up my smaller markets.

Let’s look at a few that struck more a bit more than the others (and then check out the article for a fuller review).

Pride. You, as a writer, are perfect. You are genius, your craft can barely contain your marvelous insight and wit, your story is entirely gripping–and it’s the rest of the world’s fault that they aren’t recognizing you for the superstar you are. Agents are obviously dimwits who wouldn’t know if a good book gnawed on their kneecaps. Editors…pssh. As if your work needs editing. Your writing circle? Amateurs who should be grateful for you to be in their midst.

Abandonment is a tempting one as well. You just can’t ever finish a project. You’re always being lured away by a bigger, brighter idea that sooner or later also fails to keep your attention. You’ve got a pile of half-baked stories, but nothing that you can ever show to the world because you don’t focus long enough to see a project through.

Prayer is another big one. This is where you expect Lady Luck (or whatever other divine authority you heed to) to step into the ring on your behalf. To conjure up the perfect storm of events to launch you into bestsellerdom without any increased effort or improvement on your end. Are there exceptions where this happens? Of course! But you cannot go through life expecting to be the exception. That’s not how it works.

So, how are we doing so far? Any uncomfortable niggles at the back of your mind? Anything to confess? Have you tackled these “sins” in the past? Tell us how you conquered them!

4 comments on “Why you won’t get published

  1. Christine on said:

    Anyone who says they conquered pride is fooling themselves. So I’ll just say I pray I’ve conquered that when it comes to my writing.

    I have to say I fought with abandonment. I convinced myself that I couldn’t write during the school year while teaching full time. I entered NaNoWriMo and finished over 52,000 words in a month. That shut my mouth! I now have a schedule to write every night.

    I pray constantly while writing but I certainly don’t ask God to change my words once I hit that send button. It’s up to me to work as hard as I can and pray for God’s guidance while I work.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    • JRVogt on said:

      And thank you for sharing this, Christine. It’s inspiring to see writers overcome these sorts of challenges. Our doubts can be so crippling, but once you realize there’s no substance to them, then it’s incredibly freeing.

  2. LStein on said:

    I bookmarked the 11 Reasons You Won’t Get Published. #2, Abandonment, struck a chord with me. I really should finish the book I was writing last year. It’s a good idea. I just need to do more Research (#8).

    Thanks for posting this!

    • JRVogt on said:

      Absolutely. I think every writer will find at least one issue (if not five) that they’ve struggled with. It’s an ongoing battle, but so worth it.

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