Sunday, 27 November 2022

T The Pro-Active Author

What Action Do You Take When You Fail?

I have many aspects of my work in publishing which fail to yield many results (if anything). Failure and rejection is a consistent part of this business. As a writer, I've been published many times in magazines and books but I've also failed in this process. In this article I want to give you some examples and what I do in these situations. I write this information in hopes, it will encourage you to keep going inspite of these situations. The worst action you can take when failing is to stop and give up. I've watched many others stop writing or trying to get their work published.

Here's just a few of the ways I have failed:

I craft and send emails that don't get a response (silence). It happens whether I'm pitching an editor on a magazine article or a book editor on a proposal or writing a friend to endorse my book or promoting somethng to my email list. These situations are a part of my life and in a sense a failure—but only a failure if I let it stop me from continuing the journey.

I work with authors and my publishing colleagues at Morgan James Publishing to send them a book contract—which they never sign and return. I understand authors have many options where their book is published and we are not always the best fit for them. It is frustrating to invest the time and energy into another person then have them not respond or not sign their contract (even though I follow-up with them). Sometimes the reason is simply a timing issue. In recent weeks, I've had a couple of authors where I offered them a publishing contract several years ago and they did not sign it, but now the timing is right and they are going to sign their contract and move forward. Through the process, I've learned we only see what we see and not all of the dynamics in the other person's situation. It may look like failure.

Or maybe I launch a marketing campaign for a book or a product with few results or no sales. These are only a few examples of things I try and little happens. When you face a failure, what actions do you take? Here's some of the things I do:

1. I change the pace and write something different. The writing world has many possibilities for you to write. If you need some ideas, check out the free chapter of my Jumpstart Your Publishing Dream book. Follow this link to get it.

2. I pitch someone else with my rejected project. Use Google or your market guide to find other places for your pitch then get that project back into the marketplace for consideration. You are looking for the right fit and that process often takes multiple times to find.

3. I read a how-to book for ideas and motivation. I read how-to books all the time for ideas, insight and motivation. While I've written several of these books (see the offer below), these books often move me into a different mindset and I'm ready to try again and take action.

4. I make some new connections on LinkedIN or another network. Often in publishing, it is who you know as much as what you know. LinkedIn will suggest people for possible connection. As you expand your network, you also expand your possibilities for writing opportunities. Editors and others move around in the publishing world, but they take their LinkedIn accounts with their change.

I've only given a few ideas about what to do when what I try fails. There are many other ways. What actions do you take?


Not everything we try as writers will succeed. Sometimes you fail. What actions do you take when you fail? Get ideas from this prolific editor and author. (ClickToTweet)

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Columnist: Terry Whalin


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former  magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at:

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