Nancy's Books

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Staying Positive

I’m often asked how I maintain a positive attitude after 27 years writing in the hard-as-nails publishing world. The truth is I’m not always positive. I am sometimes shaken clear to soles of my boots when I receive a rejection on a manuscript that has bounced between an editor and me over a period of months. I can almost feel the contract offer; instead, a jolt in the form of “No thanks” is the stark reality.  How do I rebound time after time without some form of long-term depression setting up shop in my noggin or throwing up my hands, burning my manuscripts, and forgetting it all? Several ways, actually.  

First, I love the process of creating characters and choosing words that strike a chord with my emotions. Writing is hard, but writing is therapeutic too. If one manuscript is not opening doors, that doesn’t mean others won’t. So I begin a new manuscript and focus on the writing, not the rejection. 

I talk with writer friends who are making the same journey along their own paths, who hit as many stumbling blocks as I and they pick themselves up and go on. If they can, I can. The important thing is to talk with others who experience the same difficulty to gain a cleared perspective of your own literary process. 

I also make a couple of  lists : TO-DO and DONE DID (pardon the grammar). 

My TO-DO lists includes ideas for books, editors or publishers I plan to contact if I produce the type of manuscript that corresponds to the publishing need, updating blog or website, contacts I want to remember, etc. 

The DONE DID list focuses on what I have accomplished or attempted. In 2015 I sold two manuscripts, wrote three chapter books (still in revision phases), participated in new events in which I publicized my books… You get the idea. This list focuses primarily on positive energy, a powerful way to offset the stream of rejections. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

The Student Stowe Prize, established by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in 2012, recognizes outstanding writing by United States high school and college students that is making a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society. Issues may include, but are not limited to, race, class and gender. Entries must have been published or publicly presented. The Student Stowe Prizes will next be awarded in June 2016 at the Stowe Center’s fundraising event, the Big Tent Jubilee. The Student winners will also be featured at the Real Stories of Social Change panel, a free public program immediately preceding the Big Tent. The recognition includes a $2,500 prize for the college winner and a $1,000 prize for the high school winner. The winning entries are printed in the Big Tent program book and posted on the Stowe Center’s web site.” No entry fee indicated. Deadline has been extended to February 1, 2016. 

Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

YARN is an award-winning literary journal that publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices...including teens. Since this is a YA literary journal, we ask that the material be appropriate for, and of particular interest to, young adult readers, 14 years old and up.  We have no age restrictions for authors (fogies over the age of 18 write YA, too), no genre restrictions (if you’ve got a story set in 2060, bring it on!), and no geographic restrictions (we have published teens in China and other similarly far-away places, and would love to see more international submissions).  We only ask that the writing you submit be original and publishable, with some literary merit (in other words, if you’ve written a slasher thriller with lots of smooching and slaying, we recommend sending it to Hollywood and not to us).  Send us only your very best. 

Submission guidelines at

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