This one will be damn short. I get email alerts for certain blogs I follow. I don’t follow many. The ones I do follow offer writing advice and the like. I just deleted one without reading it. Why? Because, to a point, reading about writing won’t get you anywhere. At some point, you have to just do it. I have no patience for wannabes. Get out there and query, and get rejected, and write stories for $35. Fail. Fail hard.
Right now, I’m drinking wine and listening to iTunes previews of the The Dark Knight Trilogy soundtracks. It’s free. Part of the deal when the failure rate is high. Here at the blog, we’re hoping to turn things around.
I’ve got some notes to read through and I’m going to finish writing a bomb of a feature this week. It doesn’t have a home yet. I figured that I owe it to the people I spoke with to get the piece written and maybe someone will be willing to take a look at it since it’s already written. Hey, I’m hustlin’.
By the way, if you like my style, like me on Facebook. My goal is 1,000 true fans. I’m a long, long, long, long way away, but it starts with you. Yes, you. Click here.
My last post was about a soul-crushing, football-in-groin rejection. It can probably be construed as a complaint about publishing and the sorry state of things. It wasn’t meant to be. I feel sharing rejections helps other writers feel less lonely.
Yes, it’s hard to get true stories, told well, about regular people. It’s hard to publish if you don’t have the requisite platform of a former TV reality star or a Kardashian. It means I have to be better, work harder.
All we can do is keep grinding remembering all the while that ‘no’ is one step closer to ‘yes.’
There are rejections and then there are rejections. The latter are ones where you had a distinct leg up. In my latest, most crushing rejection, I had an hour-long conversation with this agent at AWP in March. She loved sports writing and we had a wonderful conversation about sports, writing, and The Last Championship. You can imagine my dismay upon reading this:
I read your proposal right away when I received it. And I enjoyed it immensely. But ultimately, I didn’t feel strongly enough about the story to think that I would be successful selling it for you.
It felt like this:
This marks rejection No. 19, might even be 20. That’s a lot, even by my standards. Many of those weren’t adequately placed so that may not actually be as poor an indicator for the book’s sorry performance in the hands of gate keepers. I’m at the point where the reality is to scrap the book altogether.
1. The writing is poor, a possibility. I’m not, how you say, a master wordsmith. Or, let’s say, I’m not good enough to elevate what is a mediocre story to a readable, purchasable story.
2. Well, actually, that’s all I’ve got.
What I didn’t have through the first 20 rejections was a full manuscript. I also shopped it to the wrong agents most of the time. Child’s play, really.
Tell you what. Five more. Five more agents who represent baseball books. If it doesn’t get picked up from any of those five, this story goes in the trashcan.
He’s back for more. Brian Mockenhaupt wrote the compelling Byliner Original Three Days in Gettysburg about the war front hitting home.
I wrote this on Amazon about the piece:
Brian Mockenhaupt, an intrepid and elite reporter of the living, turns his eye to those long gone. And as we near the 150th anniversary of that bloodiest battle at Gettysburg, Mockenhaupt, through his deft skill as an information gatherer, writes a compelling story about friendship, love, and loss in the most famous battle of the Civil War and its putrid wake for those left behind.
It culminates with President Lincoln presiding over a newly created memorial to the felled Union soldiers, a speech where he turns the volume down so we may hear the ghosts of Gettysburg.
And in this latest episode of Hashtag #CNF, Mockenhaupt talks about the challenges of writing historical narrative with nothing to consult but the archives.
Like what you hear? Subscribe on iTunes and subscribe to my blog. If you do, I’ll send you a signed copy of Six Weeks in Saratoga.