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When you’re scrolling through your email inbox and see one rejection after another, getting an acceptance may seem like finding a needle in a haystack. Sure, you know that rejection is a big part of the process of getting published, but you can’t help but wonder—why isn’t YOUR work getting accepted?
The good news is, there are ways to boost your success rate. With over twenty-three years of experience in researching and targeting publishing markets, the experts at Writer’s Relief explain how you can develop a strategy to boost your odds of getting an acceptance:
Smart Strategies To Boost Your Acceptance Rate
Do what you do best…write!
When you spend more time writing, you’ll have more work to submit—and thus more publishing markets to tap into. If you have only one or two pieces circulating, you’re not giving your writing enough exposure. And if you have pieces that aren’t cutting it, it may be time to take William Faulkner’s advice: “kill your darlings” and start fresh with new material.
Know the markets.
Research is key. All submissions should be deliberate—you should never send your work to a journal just because it is open, or to every literary agent without regard to what his or her interest is. Spend the time necessary to do the proper research. Agents and editors have their preferences when selecting the writing they would like to work with. If they aren’t a match for your writing, find the journal or agency that is!
Fry small fish first.
Naturally, we all would love to be published in The Paris Review, or to be the next J.K. Rowling. But we recommend starting with smaller publications to establish a foundation of publishing credits.
Build your reputation.
When you build a list of publication credits, it proves that your work is good and is marketable. This is especially relevant if you are seeking an agent to represent your novel, because it will show that you already have an audience that enjoys your writing.
Write an effective cover or query letter.
Your cover or query letter may be the first piece of your writing an agent or editor reads from you—so make it count. Follow the proper publishing industry etiquette to show your confidence as a writer. After all, a good first impression will be one that lasts.
Keep track of your submissions.
To have a successful submission strategy and improve your odds of getting an acceptance, it’s important to know where you send each piece, and when. If you don’t keep careful track of where you’ve already submitted your work, you run the risk of resubmitting the same piece to the same editor or agent—a definite publishing industry no-no.
And be sure to note any personal, positive feedback from an agent or editor—these should rise to the top of the list when deciding where to send your next submission.
Proofread like an editor.
Agents and editors receive hundreds of submissions per day, and a sloppy submission won’t linger on their desks. Spell-check and grammar guides are essential! And if proofreading isn’t your strength, Writer’s Relief proofreaders are here to help.
Improve your craft.
It may seem that some people are born writers, but the truth is, even the most successful writers have had to edit and rewrite their work. There are many ways you can explore your talents and develop new writing techniques: attend writing classes, join a writers group, go to writing conferences, find a mentor, etc.
Don’t take rejection personally.
All writers must face rejection, and most successful authors have received their fair share of “no thank yous.” At Writer’s Relief, we recommend a piece be sent out 100 times before you give up on it. So if you do the math—that could mean up to 99 rejections!
And remember, a rejection doesn’t mean that your writing isn’t any good. It could mean that the journal has already maxed out on acceptances for the next issue, or the agent just accepted a book similar to yours—or even that someone was not having a good day when he or she read your work. So don’t give up!
Question: Which of these strategies do you think has the biggest impact on a writer’s acceptance rate?