Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My friend and unpublished (for now, but not for long) author just suffered through a devastating rejection from an agent at a writing conference. He compared her book (that he hasn’t read) to a book from a Canadian author that was well written, but with a story so bad no one would read or buy it. I gave her some advice I want to share here, because every writer has felt that pain.  
Good news, the worst is over. Rejection has stared you in the face and you survived.

Be sad and feel bad and eat ice cream and then get mad and prove him wrong!  I’ve seen so many students and writers devastated by BAD criticism that they gave up. Don’t give up.

Have you watched Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” online? You can Google/Youtube it. His best piece of advice is “The walls are there to stop the OTHER people.” I love that. You just encountered a wall. Are you going to let it stop you, or are you going to find a way over or around it? He may stop many people this weekend. You are not one of them. Don’t let his negative world affect your world for one more minute. He may even get off on crushing dreams, and sleep with a teddy bear and call it Mommy because he didn’t get enough love as a child.   

How the heck can he compare your situation with a Canadian writer with a bad book. A) You are not Canadian and why does that even matter? And B) Your book is GOOD. Apples and oranges, baby. Fallacious argument. Doesn’t make sense, no logic. Doesn’t follow.

Think about how many bad/uninspired books you’ve read. Somebody published them. Yours is good, so it shouldn’t be hard to get published, but it is. I don’t understand it, either. But the world works in a crazy way sometimes.

You now have a specific goal, to imagine his face when he gets a copy of your published book.

You have work to do, get that book out there.

Write soon,


  1. Mary, I love this advice! Positive AND funny--the best kind. I'm not even the person this advice was meant for, and you even motivated me to get out there and do something. (The teddy bear reference is priceless.)