Good morning campbellsworld visitors and readers everywhere.
This morning in our Authors, They’re Only Human column, author Anne Copeland talks to us about the learning experience that can be gained by carefully considering the reasons your manuscripts are rejected.
While none of us likes it when the work we’ve poured our whole self in is rejected Anne does bring forth some very good points which I feel are worth giving some serious thought.
Be sure to keep reading after this well written offering to see all about Anne’s work and how to find it.
REJECTION FOR AUTHORS
BY: ANNE COPELAND
Many years ago as an author of a cookbook about pumpkins that included folklore, history, planting hints and much more, including recipes, I had to submit my book for publication to old school publishers. Now in those days, that was all there was. I told a good friend that I was frightened. If I couldn’t get accepted, perhaps I should just quit writing.
Instead, my friend told me to keep index cards for each publisher and to write the reason the book was rejected. It sounded like a good idea to me, so I decided to do just that. And I did. Now my cards grew to fill out a big index card box, and there were many reasons given why the book didn’t make the grade. I learned that publishers back then had budgets each year for how many books they could publish. And that if the book did not start selling right away, it might be pulled off the shelves and sold as “Remainders.” I also learned that pumpkins were considered seasonal fruits, which made some publishers turn it down even though they liked it. The reality is that pumpkins are not seasonal. You can buy pumpkin pies most all year, and you can definitely buy canned pumpkin. But to the publishers, it was risky business if it did not sell within a couple of months after it came out. There were as many reasons why publishers did not want the book as there were types of pumpkins.
And you know the strange thing? Not one of the reasons it got rejected had anything to do with me. No one said, “That is dry writing,” or “This book is too long.” No, all of the publishers kept the book for a long time, and all of them wrote back that it was good, but . . .
One publisher kept the book for more than a year, and only because I became very insistent did they sent back my manuscript with nice words about the book, but no commitment. They were in England, and I realized that they could have published the book, and I would have a hard time doing much of anything about copyright infringement, especially having sent it overseas.
In the end result, I realized that rejection was a good thing. It allowed me to know the reality of why books did not get published. I had honestly submitted to nearly 600 publishers in the U.S. and other countries. It was an expensive but good learning experience.
I did eventually publish my own book (the only other alternative besides vanity publishers in those days). I worked two full-time jobs, and I got 5,000 copies of the book. It came in uncollated blocks of sheets and a paperback front and back cover. I held a collating party, and friends helped me put those books together and I had rented a comb binder and bought comb binding to finish it off.
Of course I gave away a lot of the books to friends, but I did get sales. I hauled the book from bookstore to bookstore in my area, and gave them copies to sell. Only one of them paid me up front for all the copies. The remainder of them had to be called every month to see if any had sold, and if they had, I had to go to collect the money.
The book was listed with the Library of Congress since I paid to get a LOC number. So that brought a bunch of orders and those had to be wrapped, addressed and taken to the post office to sell. It was hard work no matter which way you looked at it. But ultimately the huge amount of books was reduced to just a few. The selling was over and I was not up to working another second full-time job to get the book printed again.
In 2010, I found out I could get an e-book published from the manuscript, so I went with Amazon KDP to get the book out once again in e-book format. This was another stage in learning, for I did sell some books, but hardly a drop in a bucket. Though some people did use recipes off of the Internet, they did not buy E-book cookbooks. I learned that cookbooks are one of those things that if you own them, you want to have them displayed on your shelves.
Now I am once again trying to put out revision 3 in paperback, and once again I have met a lot of barriers. Mainly the book template somehow will not work with the Amazon KDP paperback book template for publishing, and I am having help from outside, but so far it is still unpublished.
The thing is to not get discouraged if your book doesn’t get published. Look at it realistically, and if you believe it is good reading material and it still is not published, try to figure out the reason or reasons why. I think in my case for the cookbook, the publisher simply does not have a good working template for cookbooks, which ARE quite different in formatting from novels or even nonfiction. I do have another book published with the same publisher, so I know it works for certain types of books.
So keep going even when it doesn’t look too promising for your book. If nothing else, you are going to learn a lot about publishing that you could likely not learn any other way. Thank you all and my best to you. Anne Copeland
MORE ABOUT ANNE AND HER WORK…
What began as a very tiny, but very successful nonprofit started by two women, both physically challenged, and with very little money, culminated in the publication of this book. This book is full of the stories and art of 23 women helped by the nonprofit 501 (c) (3), Fiberarts Connection of Southern California. The women were selected out of more than 100 possible candidates because of their truly inspiring stories of success despite some of the most devastating physical challenges. The book also will help readers to understand what it means to have some of the challenges they might never have heard of before.
Despite having worked together for some 10 years, the two women responsible for the book’s creation have never met in person. Barbara Williamson, a paraplegic living in Paradise, CA, accidentally found contact information for Anne Copeland, a professional fiber arts appraiser at the time. Anne, who lived in the Torrance area at the time, was looking to start a nonprofit to provide inexpensive or free exposure for physically challenged fiber artists, as well as to teach them things that many had no way to learn because of their isolation from the public – things such as pricing their work to sell, how to deal with potential clients, and how to get good solo or small group exhibits from galleries and museums. Barbara was looking to start her own business in fiber arts after being told by a group of business volunteers that making art quilts was a nice hobby, but could never become a business.
What was needed to form the nonprofit was to find at least two more volunteers to serve as the secretary and the treasurer. As the two women talked, they immediately formed a strong and lasting bond. Anne had finally found the volunteers, Barbara Williamson for secretary and her caregiver, Rob for the treasurer. The treasurer was not a huge job since there was never any money in the treasury. But incredibly, the two women worked together and created innovative ways to help other physically challenged artists. As it turned out, all the artists they dealt with ended up being other women. And there were many of them.
One of the things that the two women created from the beginning was the idea of group themed traveling exhibits. They managed to work out agreements with some quilt show companies that put on such exhibits that traveled throughout the United States. The first exhibit ever, “My World in Black and White,” attracted 121 exhibitors throughout the world, and there were 10 live venues in the first year.
Whether you have a physical challenge or not, this book will provide the incentive for you to move forward in fulfilling your own dreams and goals for a professionally creative life.
Additional editing and proofreading by David and Leonore H. Dvorkin of DLD Books
Cover art by Laura Jean Freeman
Print layout and e-book production by David Dvorkin
The print edition of Artful Alchemy is available at the following online stores:
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.com
Member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates), www.saqa.com
Member of SAQA, www.saqa.com