You’ve heard the old maxim: “Don’t let the sun set on a rejected manuscript.” Well, I now believe this is very bad advice. Don’t send it out again the same day. When your rejected article comes back to your mailbox, look at it as an opportunity, not a terrible defeat. It’s an opportunity to make it a bit better, and raising its quality just a notch may be enough to bring an acceptance next time you send it out to a different market.
Whenever an editor says “Sorry”, suppress your despair and set about making your freelance work irresistible. Look at it with greater detachment and clarity, and let new ideas emerge. Here are some tips:
FOCUS: Your topic may be too broad, robbing it of impact. Hone in on just one feature, and don’t try to cover too many. LEAD: Is it exciting enough to make today’s “I’m in a hurry” reader keep reading? Good writers come up with outstanding leads. A bicycling article I read recently started with this: “Life is like a 12-speed bike. Most of us have gears we’ve never used.” A lead like this can turn dashed hopes into victory.
ANECDOTES: These are the lifeblood of a feature. They underscore the theme and make it more memorable. Try for a lively anecdote to reinforce your point, and a new quotation can also help. MARKETING: Don’t overlook this dimension. Perhaps your article is fine, but you sent it to the wrong medium. Read new magazines and study their Writers’ Guidelines … today, there are so many choices, you should be able to find the right fit. Finally, EDITING: Have you done enough? Is the story as crisp as it might be? In “The Elements of Style” we read that vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words; a paragraph no unnecessary sentences.” Look at your rejected ms. in the cold light of reality. Don’t send it out again without making some improvement. Double-check your accuracy. Go the extra mile, and you’ll get a cheque instead of a rejection. Happy writing.
I look forward to your comments, and am happy to help you with your writing queries.
My latest novella, “Searching for Sarah”, and most of my other 13 books are available on Amazon or direct from me at a reduced price – contact my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Happy writing.