98. Accept It or Reject It

You know a great book when you read it.

And you recognize books that, somehow, just don’t rise to the quality of anything you want to read or recommend.

Quality matters when you’re investing your money, time, and mental energy in the books you choose to read.

In this episode, discover why it’s so important to invest in the quality of your writing so you can produce a book that meets a standard you and your readers will be proud of.

To find a community of supportive authors, check out Authors Ignited at AuthorsIgnited.com.

For more writing tips and inspiration, follow me on Instagram @candiceldavis.

Mentioned in This Episode

Authors Ignited: Group Coaching Program for Nonfiction Authors

Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.

Complete Author Coaching (1:1 Coaching)

Episode Transcript

Nothing but the Words – A special 3-part series, What Successful Authors Know

Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.

I hope your week and your writing are both going well.

This week in celebration of the launch of my new group coaching program for nonfiction authors, I’m dropping a special 3-episode series called 3 Things Successful Authors Know.

I created Authors Ignited to give you everything you need to write a nonfiction book, including coaching and support from me and what I’m sharing here.

And if you join by Saturday, April 9, 2022, you’ll also get free access to my upcoming one-day virtual writer’s retreat. Check it out at AuthorsIgnited.com

In the first episode of this series, I shared the value of frameworks and how successful authors use them to make writing a book a lot less stressful, a lot more fun, and a lot easier to finish.

Okay. So let’s dive into this second episode of the series.

When I started off in writing, I wrote literary fiction.

I still do, by the way, but it’s a part of a much more diverse lineup now.

Anyway, at that time, self-publishing as we know it today didn’t exist.

And it wasn’t that long ago, y’all, but it was just at the advent of social media’s popularity.

I mean, people were getting on MySpace and Black Planet if that gives you some idea of the timeframe.

During that period, literary agents liked to tell us one of the best ways to land an agent and eventually a publishing deal was to publish in literary journals. 

If you haven’t lived through it, you might find it hard to understand the pain of this process.

Basically, as an aspiring author, you had to send your short story or essay to a literary journal and then wait many, many months to hear back.

A few journals took more than a year to respond to my submissions.

And many of those same journals forbade simultaneous submissions, which meant they didn’t want you to submit the same story or essay anywhere else until they deigned to respond to you.

So you might wait six or nine or twelve months to see if they would accept it or reject it, get a rejection, and then start the process all over again with the next journal.

Now I will admit, I broke that rule, and I broke it liberally.

I often submitted stories to multiple journals at once, sometimes as many as ten or fifteen, or twenty.

As soon as I received an acceptance, I withdrew my submission from all the other places, but I just wasn’t willing to put my writing career on hold because they said I had to.

So the submission process was quite challenging for my friends and I who were going through it together.

But it taught me an incredibly valuable lesson.

It taught me something successful authors know, and that is if you want to succeed in this book-publishing game, you have to raise the standard on what you produce.

Some people think that because we can self-publish now and we don’t need anyone’s approval that the standard has been lowered.

And I’ll admit that it has been lowered for some people.

Some of them have actually pulled off the trick of publishing subpar books and selling really well because they’ve built really solid marketing machines.

But that’s the exception, not the rule.

Quality still matters, whether you publish with a traditional publisher or on your own.

Successful authors raise the standard on their own writing, but as you may have heard me say many times before, they don’t do it on their own. 

They have someone to coach them along the way, just like I did when I was submitting to literary journals.

They raise the standard for their book by giving it a clear structure and flow so readers don’t get lost or confused. 

They also have a process for revision, so they don’t get overwhelmed or stuck rewriting the same chapter over and over.

They raise the standard by telling compelling stories and sharing clear insights.

They give it all in their books, without holding back.

Successful authors don’t try to write their books in a weekend, send it to layout design, and be done with it.

They don’t whip out 30-page pamphlets, slap their name on the front, and start promoting their book as the next great American memoir or self-help book.

Successful authors care deeply about the quality of their writing, and their layout and their cover design, and they put in the effort to produce a book they can be proud to have their name on.

Work is required, friend, and successful authors embrace the work.

These are the kinds of clients I work with. People who can resist the urge to meet some arbitrary timeline if it means sacrificing the quality of their book.

People who are willing to keep writing so they can meet their deadlines but in a way that represents them as they want to be seen.

Even if you self-publish, your book should be able to stand next to a traditionally published book and still shine.

Be willing to raise the standard for your book.

And be willing to do what it takes to meet that standard.

This is the type of work I help my clients do. If it’s the type of work you want to send off into the world, check out Authors Ignited at authorsignited.com

It might be a great fit for you. And if you join by Saturday, April 9, 2022, you’ll also get free access to my upcoming one-day virtual writer’s retreat.

That’s all for this episode.

Check your podcast player for the 3rd and final episode in this series: Who’s in Your Corner?

Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words, I’m your author coach Candice L Davis, and I’ll see you next time.

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