From the Swoon Squad: Don't Give Up
Hey there, Swooners,
We are so excited to welcome three new authors into the Swoon family! There were SO many great manuscripts to choose from this season, and we want to thank all of you again for your awesome ratings and comments that pointed us toward these new books.
We truly wish we could select every last manuscript on site. Every single one of them has something special going for it. We know that not being selected for publication can be discouraging. But we want you all to know that we are rooting for you. Don't. Give. Up.
A few of our previously selected Swoon authors have some words of wisdom they wanted to share with you. We hope you find some inspiration in their experiences.
Keep those chins up and those submissions rolling in. We can't wait for the day when we can select you, too.
♥ Swoon Reads Staff
Author of Kissing Max Holden
Fellow writers, this gig is hard, isn’t it? The plotting, drafting, and revising are enough to make us want to eat our weight in ice cream, but then there’s the submitting, and the waiting, and the crushing disappointment we feel when, inevitably, our work receives a pass. Because there are A LOT of passes—trust me, I’ve accumulated about a billion. I started writing Kissing Max Holden when my daughter was two years old; she turned ten the week it debuted. I spent those eight in-between years writing more, learning more, and… stockpiling an impressive collection of rejection letters. I wondered, often, if I’d ever be good enough, if I’d ever get my foot in the door, if I’d ever see my story beneath a beautiful cover, sitting on a shelf with books by authors I’ve admired for ages. Every time my inbox chimed with a no thank you email, my confidence plummeted. To be completely honest, I considered quitting. A lot. But I just couldn’t... I love writing too much.
For a long time, all those rejections felt embarrassing—like tally marks of failure. Now, though, I see them for what they are: stepping stones along the path to publication. Because no doesn’t mean never—it simply means not yet. Turns out, I needed more time to improve my craft, to study the industry, and to gain perspective. I needed more time to grow as a writer. Success doesn’t happen over night, not for anyone, no matter how swift a journey might seem; we all have to trudge through the trenches. If I’d quit back when I was feeling defeated, I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the absolute joy of submitting my story to Swoon Reads and, later, seeing it become an actual book. The hard stuff—rewriting, sleepless nights, all-consuming doubt, rejection—really is worth it. So if you truly love to write, like me, don’t give up. Keep working, keep submitting, keep stepping forward. You’ll be so glad you did!
Author of Let's Talk About Love
The pursuit of publication can be a long, harsh road. There’s a seemingly endless parade of No or Not Right Now or Not A Good Fit that won't stop trampling over you. This is the part where I’m supposed to say: Be strong! Your chance is just around the corner! Stiff upper lip and all that! Well, if you’re like me, that’s not what you need. Personally, I am Pro-Pity Party. Bring on the ice cream and candy, the Netflix binges and skin care masks, the defiant-dancing and the wail-singing to loud music—whatever it takes to lift your spirits. You can be happy for the selected books and disappointed for your book at the same time. Emotions are complex and dynamic, and we can contain multitudes (Thank you, Walt Whitman). It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
If you can, find someone(s) to vent to offline and/or in private because it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to let your feelings out, to let your bottom lip quiver, and to feel down. Rejection hurts. Let's not pretend like it doesn't or that the sting of it doesn't stay with you. The most important thing, though, is to make sure you don’t stay down. Carve out some time for self-care to recuperate and when you’re ready, start thinking about revisions—the Swoon Blog has plenty of posts to help get you started. Or if you are happy with your manuscript as is, maybe it's time to start something new. You never know what’s rattling around in your idea bank until you shake it. And when your manuscript is fabulous, polished, and the best that you can make it, consider submitting again. Trust me on this: I pity partied my heart out after every Swoon selection before diving into a shiny new idea. Be good to yourself and excellent to each other, Swooners. You got this.
Author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud,
How to Keep Rolling After a Fall,
The Truth About Happily Ever After
and The Game Can't Love You Back
So there’s this picture.
I very much remember the day I saw this image on the Swoon Reads blog. There she was, Sandy Hall, the first official Swoon Reads to-be-published author. Showing up at a publishing house to sign her contract, a editing staff waiting to greet her, and… Red. Heart. Shaped. Balloons. It was the stuff that dreams are made of.
In the back of my mind, I sort of knew that Sandy was still a mere mortal, but in that moment I couldn’t help but feel like we no longer existed in the same realm. She’d been magically transported through a portal, and for all intents and purposes we were worlds apart. The published author… and the aspiring writer. It was unlikely her orbital path would ever cross mine at the rate I was going.
And then there’s this picture.
This is me and Sandy at Bookitcon together, four published books between us.
And there’s this other picture.
Sandy and I having lunch with other members of the Swoon Squad.
We shared a cab to Penn Station after. Guess what? Sandy IS in fact still a mere mortal. (Talented, efficient, hilarious, yes. But still a mortal.)
What sent me through that portal to meet Sandy and acknowledge her mortality after not getting selected as part of Swoon Read’s first list? I listened to their feedback and suggestions, and I submitted again. Boom. This isn’t a once and done game, this isn’t a pass/fail course. You can try again. After having one manuscript rejected, I’ve gone on to publish four books with Swoon Reads.
And I’m still a mortal too. My skin hasn’t thickened all the way and a bad review can sting. I still have my day job. And even though I really wanted to get a spa pedicure today, I skipped it and painted my nails at home so I could squeeze in thirty minutes of outlining, because I still have to find time to write. It’s a thin line between aspiring writer and published author; it’s not at all the portal I once believed it to be. And you’ve just got to keep at it if you want to cross it.
Looking for potential ways to improve your manuscript? Take a look at some of our previous Open Edit Letters explaining some of the most common reasons manuscripts weren't selected: