Halt! Step Away from the Keyboard!

As many of you know, I’ve been writing prayers for Prayables.com.  I’ve learned  to take my own thoughts, prayers and issues and broaden it,  making it meaningful for a wider audience.  Lately I’ve been looking for new-to-me religious markets.   I quickly heard about a Christian market.  I got several copies of this children’s publication knowing that weeklies are a great place to sell since they publish so much work.

Before brainstorming, I did the smart thing and read through some of the samples.  To me it seemed really preachy, but maybe I was just imaging things.  After all, I didn’t want to give us on this market.  They’re a weekly!   They need several pieces every week! I showed it to my husband.  Nope.  I wasn’t imagining things.

But I’m a good writer.  Surely they’d want to buy something from me.  Something better than what they’d been getting.

(see any warning signs here?)

Yet, as I read more samples, this uncomfortable feeling wiggled through my psyche.  That’s when I came across this post by Janet Reid, What On Earth Are You Thinking?

As so often happens when you feel like you are among the privileged few who can see the mistakes of the masses, I laughed my butt off.  Wow.  Could you approach an agent in a worse way?

Maybe not, but then my niggling feeling gave me a good kick.  But you can approach an editor in a way that is just as bad. HINT:  If you don’t like the work a press or magazine produces, do not submit to them. I knew this.  I just wasn’t ready to wave bye bye to a market that needs so much work.

Does this mean that you should give up on a publisher simply because one issue didn’t appeal to you?   Because you don’t like one novel or picture book on their Fall list?

Not at all.  This is part of the reason it is a good idea to study several pieces/issues.  Not everything is going to resonate with every reader.  When new writers pan a book, telling me how much better they can write, I ask them to take a good look at the book they don’t like.  Why would the publisher buy it?  There must be a reason. If you can’t tell or you consistently dislike what a publisher produces, step back and look for another market elsewhere.  This one simply is not a good match for you.

Even if they do buy several items every week.


One thought on “Halt! Step Away from the Keyboard!

  1. Thanks for this post! It’s really true, and so important to keep in mind. Sometimes in the effort to make sales, I lose sight of my voice as a writer. The thing is, that never really works. It seems to me that trying to create a phony voice never really works; after all that work (writing in a voice that’s not my own is really hard), the pieces never feel right anyway! I really appreciate all of the insights you share.

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