Dreaming of selling my writing and seeing my work published, I did what I thought needed to be done: I submitted. I would scrutinize my completed story for spelling and grammar, and the accompanying cover letter would be equally edited for perfection. Then, off went the submission while I resumed dreaming of my manuscript being published. When the seemingly inevitable rejection arrived, I would sigh, insert a different publisher’s address into the cover letter, and re-send the manuscript to that Acquisitions Editor.
Eventually, a mentor entered my life. This well-published author introduced me to the professional aspects of writing. I learned to research the market for specific needs and styles. I learned to ensure my submissions were recorded accurately and that they remained viable. My mentor taught me to replace “Acquisition Editor” with the editorÌs name – and how to research that information. However, the most important instruction I received from my mentor was: “Just write.”
No longer did I put a single egg in my basket, and wait for it to hatch. Every week, I wrote manuscripts, and submitted them to appropriate targets. Whether I first wrote and then identified a publication for that manuscript, or whether I wrote a piece specifically to satisfy a publicationÌs theme, I no longer sent out a lone submission. The challenge involved more than submitting en masse; it included generating excellent manuscripts. For me, quality was the constant in the equation, but quantity was the new variable.
While I used to dabble in the realm of writing, my submission log now boasts many titles at all times. I applied what I learned, and succeeded in becoming an established author. I no longer write and wait. I write and write. My mentorÌs advice turned out to be just right.
Rebecca MacKenzie is a freelance author based in Wisconsin. Her work has been purchased by an eclectic mix of publications, including writing, parenting, teaching and Christian magazines. An award winning essayist, Rebecca’s poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies and literary journals. A seminary graduate (Trinity International University, Chicago, IL – MAR), Rebecca has authored Christian Studies curricula as well.