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  • Writer's pictureLeeyanne Moore

Embrace Resilience! Navigating Publishing & Query Letters

Updated: Mar 1

woman managing stress

Are you a sensitive flower? I am. The process of sending out to agents or self-publishing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts is often completely draining for many creative people. So along with discussing the process towards publication, I want to discuss emotional management tools around sending your book out for publication or self-publishing. 

I’ll offer up a few things you can do to avoid emotional suckage and feel the strength of your own powers. Yes, you may still spend time lying prostrate on your fainting couch—don’t we all? But this advice will get you up and back on your feet again.


1)    Set Expectations: This is the start of a journey

By the end of the process will you necessarily have a book traditionally published. Not necessarily. But you will learn things. You will have more knowledge and understanding than you did before. That’s valuable. If you’re setting out on the path to be a writer and have a career in being a published author, then you’ve started and you’re on your way. Everyone has to start somewhere and climb their way up.


2)    Rejection is not the end, it’s another step on your journey

         Everyone gets rejected in life, at some point, in some way. Look, one major reason why writers tend to have a day job is that even if their first book sells, their second may not. It’s an up and down world when you’re in a creative business.

         The people who are the most successful are not the people who hear ‘yes’ all the time. They’re the people who know how to pivot when they hear ‘no.’ They’re the people who know how to get back up quickly once they’ve been knocked down.


Okay—so how do you deal with heading into a world where you know it’s going to be a challenge to find success? Find the right way to look at things.


3)    Have the right expectations about how a creative/artist person’s life works:

         Neil Patrick Harris’s agent said to him: (Have I already shared this? The agent said ‘actor’, but I think his wisdom applies to all creatives) “Being a creative person is like going surfing. You have to paddle out into the ocean. You have to wait for a wave. Then when the wave comes you have to be competent in getting up on your board and riding the wave.”


Key points:

o   The wave is not under your control.

o   However, you’ll never catch the wave if you don’t paddle out there and wait. (While you’re waiting you write the next book.)

o   The better you are at catching the wave—the better you write, the more you know about publishing, how to get your work out in a timely way —the more likely you are to make the most out of the wave when it eventually comes.


4)    Set goals in a healthy way:  

Set a date that you want to use as a marker for a specific, measurable task related to publishing. “A goal without a date is just a dream.”


“By March 30th, 2024, 5pm, I want to have a query letter written, revised, and ready to go out to agents.”  Look up other tips on helpful goal setting like:


· “Today I’m going to make a rough draft of the query letter.”

· “Today I’m going to research five agents.”


· That first draft can be terrible! But at least now you have something on paper and can start improving it, paragraph by paragraph. As a famous author once said (I’m paraphrasing), You can edit anything and make it better. But you can’t fix a blank page.


· No: “I will get an agent by June.”

· Yes: “I will send a query letter to seventy-five agents by June.”


· A specific award that’s ready and waiting is good.

· It doesn’t have to be food. Someone I knew of would ring a bell hard and long for each chapter of her dissertation that she finished.

· Celebrate your specific goals to train your brain. You want to remind your brain that writing/publishing is a joyous task.


· It’s important to work smart—not just hard.

· You can find lots of sources on the internet about what to do when it comes to publishing. Good sources are from people who are experts and active in their field by engaging/participating in their field. Take the aggregate of what they say.

· For anxious types: weigh what the experts say with a friend, or parent out loud. Aim to reach a point where you both can say: “This is what I can do next, based on what seems to be the best advice, given what I know now, given how the industry seems to work.”


Bye, my friends! I hope this was helpful. Have a great weekend. Feel free to leave comments or questions below. 

As always, if you or someone you’re raising is interested in writing a big project, you can let me know in the contact form and we can chat about you/your learner and the project to see if I can help.


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