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7 Sneaky Culprits That Stop Writers From Making Successful Submissions


Some writers submit their writing for publication for years without having any luck. While it’s easy to assume it must be the quality of the writing, that’s not always the case—there are other, less obvious factors that can hold a writer back. If you suspect your submission strategy isn’t working, you might be a victim of one of these sneaky culprits.

7 Snags That Hold Writers Back From Getting Published

Not enough time. What’s the top reason so many of our writers say they can’t create a workable, systematic submission strategy? Time. Most of our clients here at Writer’s Relief would prefer to get more butt-in-chair writing time, instead of doing all of the research and admin work necessary for making submissions. There are many ways to decrease the amount of time you spend preparing submissions, but the most effective way is to find someone who can make submissions for you—like Writer’s Relief.

Procrastination. Enemy number one for many writers is this: excuse-making. I’ll be unstoppable when I start making submissions…tomorrow. Once I finish this project, then I’ll turn my attention to sending out submissions. The good news is, escaping the pull of procrastination isn’t hard if you know the right tricks. Here’s how you can stop procrastinating and start submitting for publication.

No game plan. In our experience, nothing kills a writer’s positive outlook faster than a helter-skelter submission strategy: no calendar, no specific goals, and occurring in sporadic stops and starts. For real, meaningful success over the long term, create a submission plan that works for you.

Lack of confidence. Some writers fail simply because they don’t believe their writing is worthy. Sylvia Plath told us the worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt, but we think insecurity can stymie a strong submission strategy too. Here’s how to gain more confidence in your writing.

Not learning the trade. While it’s possible to make a submission and get it published based on sheer luck (being in the right place at the right time), most writers find that it takes a certain amount of background knowledge to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Learn to talk the talk by going to writing conferences, networking, and reading the informative articles in our free Publishing Tool Kit.

Self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is a sneaky trickster: Many writers don’t even realize they are their own worst enemies. You can use this list of symptoms of writerly self-sabotage to spot a hidden problem.

Insecurity that masquerades as perfectionism. Sometimes, an author’s drive to write the “perfect” piece is genuine—there are no ulterior motives. But other times, perfectionism is actually an excuse to avoid taking risks that could lead to failure. Stop struggling with the desire to be perfect, and you might just see your success rate climb.

Writer: Know Thyself

The best thing a writer can do for his or her submission strategy is to know what works—and what doesn’t. What part of your submission strategy is working well? Where could it use improvement? Learning to take an objective look at a manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses is Critique 101 for writers—apply the same objectivity to your submission strategy as well.

And remember: When in doubt—or a time-crunch—get help.

QUESTION: Tell us about one submission stumbling block that you had to overcome, and how you managed to conquer it.

Writer Questions

QUESTION: Tell us about one submission stumbling block that you had to overcome, and how you managed to conquer it.


2 Responses to 7 Sneaky Culprits That Stop Writers From Making Successful Submissions

  1. I agree with Owen, if your work isn’t considered the least that could be done is to be given a reason why.That what discourages most writers.

  2. I think what blocked me from submitting again is the fact that my work was not considered and I never received a reason why. Maybe some information could have given me clues on what to change for the next submission. Generally, the first failure discouraged me.

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