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Life Giving You Lemons? Make Lemonade!

May 10th, 2019

Writing rewards always bring a smile, whether it’s a great book review, a story or article acceptance, being placed in a competition, or simply someone saying nice things about something you’ve written. We all crave the positives to offset the many negatives we encounter on our journey to publication.

We strive for success and rightly celebrate it when it arrives, but what about those times when it feels as if the mountain is simply too hard to climb? How do we cope with the feeling that no matter what we do, we are never going to achieve our goals? The answer, of course, is to keep writing and keep submitting.

I’ve probably had more ‘thanks, but no thanks’ than I care to count, or want to remember. But rejections are simply part of a writer’s life. What has been even worse than that for me is to achieve my dreams and then have them taken away. That has happened to me on three separate occasions and this post is intended to show how I got back up, dusted myself off, and (like Robert the Bruce’s determined spider) tried, tried again – and succeeded again!

I hope my experiences will give encouragement to every writer who has suffered a setback.

Many years ago, I had a small, but regular, filler section in Writing Magazine offering advice to writers living in countries where the spoken language differed from their native tongue. It was too few words to be classified as a column and it never appeared in the same place each month, but the editor liked it and I loved being able to say I was a regular contributor.

Then the editor changed and the new one didn’t like my filler pieces. I was devastated. However, I was determined to get my place back, even if I had to change direction on topic. I wrote (and polished until they gleamed) three humour pieces and sent them off with an email saying as much as I loved the magazine, I felt it lacked humour. The result? I have been the Notes from the Margin humour columnist in Writing Magazine for over ten years!

A writer friend and I penned a book of advice for new writers. It was published and appeared to be doing well. Then the publisher went bust, so we never received the balance of our advance or the outstanding royalties due to us. Did we rage against this injustice? Well, yes, of course, but after that we set about finding another publisher. The result was The Writer’s ABC Checklist, which has been in print since 2009.

I had four crime novels accepted for publication under a pen name. The publisher’s marketing was non-existent so the books didn’t sell. When I was able to get my rights back, I felt as if I’d wasted years of my life on something that had no value.

However, one thing I’ve learned from my earlier experiences was not to dwell on the negative, but to focus on what I could do to change things around and turn this setback into a positive.

I knew the books were good because I hadn’t ever received anything less than a four-star review, with the majority of them being awarded five stars, so I contacted a publisher I felt would give the books the attention they needed – and I am so glad I did!

The first two books in the D.I. Sterling Series, Retriever of Souls and Children in Chains, are already out and doing really well. The third, Injections of Insanity, will be released next month, but is already selling on pre-order.

As if that isn’t enough, Accent Press have arranged for the books to be available via the public library system in the UK. They have sold audio rights to Audible, for which I received a substantial advance, and are actively seeking foreign rights sales for me.

The previous publisher was not interested in pursuing any of the above outlets, which means, had I stayed with them, I would not now be in my current happy situation.

It seems we sometimes need to fail in order to succeed at a higher level, or as Samuel Beckett wrote: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

 

Author Bio – When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. In addition to being a tutor for Writers Bureau, she is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

 

 

 

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