Thursday, August 16, 2012

Handling Rejection for Dummies...I Mean Writers

I am nearing the completion of the final draft of my second novel, Matters of Convenience. Rather than self publishing such as I did with my first novel Patches of Grey, my plan is to start off on the traditional route. That means querying literary agents, hoping that this results in requests for the full manuscript, praying that it ends up in representation and that this eventually yeilds a publishing deal with one of the major players in the industry. Then all that's left to wish for is that a respectable number of copies get sold so things might go a little smoother the next go around. Along with querying and submitting and hoping and praying, also inevitable is rejection that must be shrugged off, perseverance that needs to take place. Nothing is guaranteed but the chances are great that an answer of NO (followed by multiple echoes) will be encountered prior to that elusive YES. If after some yet to be determined period of time a YES fails to materialize, Plan B goes into effect. But optimists don't think much about Plan B until Plan A has been exhausted. And optimism is the only option for a writer. Therefore the likelihood of rejections must be faced head on. Oh, did I mention that this year I'll also be looking to get a publishing deal for a children's book I've written that my wife will be illustrating? That means two separate channels of rejection will be in place. Not very pretty to picture. I need to motivate myself, and if any fellow writers/artists find their way to this blog posting, perhaps you will find encouragement as well. But what can I say that hasn't already been said eloquently by others? Not much. So I'm handing it off to them and that's what you'll find below, words of inspiration by those who fought the good fight and emerged victorious. Rejection doesn't discourage me, it just hardens my shell to help me bust through the wall. Also invaluable, having a sense of humor and an inflated ego. There will be no second person who believes in you and your talent if you aren't the first. The only way for a writer to handle rejection is self imposed amnesia. Then, even if you need to close your eyes, take your next shot.

"I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, "To hell with you." (Saul Bellow)

"The vital point to remember is that the swine who just sent your pearl of a story back with nothing but a coffee-stain and a printed rejection slip can be wrong. You cannot take it for granted that he is wrong, but you have an all-important margin of hope that might be enough to keep you going." (Brian Stableford)

"Believe in yourself and in your own voice, because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does. Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice will often have trouble at the start of his or her career because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous. But in the end, only the strong survive. Readers return time and again to the unique, the distinctive, storytelling voice. They may love it or they may hate it, but they do not forget it." (Jayne Ann Krentz)

"This is for writers yet to be published who think the uphill climb will never end. Keep believing. This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process. Remember how lucky you are." (Terry Brooks)

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist." (Isaac Asimov)

"If you've FINISHED writing a novel you are amongst the elite!!! You ARE NOT A FAILURE IF YOU CANNOT LIVE OFF YOUR BOOKS. You only fail by NOT TRYING." (Nadia Cornier)

“Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right.” (Henry Ford)

"All writers are crazy. So never mind what the editors and your family and your critique group tells you. Submit your manuscripts and keep submitting until you get an offer. Then you can be crazy, with a paycheck." (MaryJanice Davidson)

“I will act as though what I do makes a difference. (William James)

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. (Buckminster Fuller)

Multiple volumes of Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation are now available to download. Featured in the compilation are two short stories of mine - "Decisions" and "The Kiss". Check it out! No really - Check it out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Several years back I used to write a monthly sports column for For a good while after I moved on to other things my collection of articles remained archived there. Eventually the archive was eliminated. Quite a few of my articles were picked up by other outlets so can still be found online, but many of them vanished for good. The majority of these pieces were time sensitive, pertinent to a particular event. But a number of them are relatively timeless because the world of sports, much like the world at large, often operates in a cyclical manner. Yesterday’s news revisits today’s front pages and then fades away only to return again…and again…and again. When I wrote about the relationship between steroids and high profile athletes I did not bother to name names. Sports fans will recognize who I’m referencing in most if not all of the cases. But the names are basically interchangeable, as are the sets of circumstances. The primary difference between them is that some were caught red handed and with others there is a sliver of room for doubt. Ben Johnson, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, Manny Pacquiao, Alex Rodriguez. There have been many others. There will be many others. Tests to catch them will grow increasingly sophisticated. New concoctions will be created to temporarily stay one step ahead of officials. Some athletes will be caught and proven guilty. Some will be caught and acquitted due to lack of sufficient proof. Some will never be officially accused, merely speculated about. Some we’ll remain clueless about. Round and round it goes. And so I’m reprinting IMAGINE here at A Line A Day because even though I wrote it way back in the day, I may as well have written it ten minutes ago…or ten years down the line.

Imagine if you are a fanatic about professional wrestling. You watch with baited breath as your heroes do battle against their arch enemies. The combatants are bigger than life. There is something quite theatrical about their outlandish personalities, costumes, and storylines. The bad guys are so obviously bad, the good guys somehow overcome tremendous adversity and stacked odds to prevail time and time again. Yet nothing about this strikes you as suspicious, much less preposterous. Perhaps you are still too young and naive to be jaded. That will come later. Imagine if you are a true believer in the muscle bound men who defy gravity and logic, only to be told one day that it's staged, a scripted carnival act choreographed for your entertainment. Imagine how you would feel when this deception was brought to light. Imagine the sense of betrayal, the end of your innocence.

If that scenario doesn't disturb you, then try any of the following on for size, because unlike professional wrestling, there has never been any question that these sports are supposed to be for real.

Imagine if you found out that your favorite boxers were on the take, their bouts rigged from the outset by gangsters who control the sport you love. Imagine discovering that your favorite shoeless ballplayer and his teammates were bribed to throw the World Series for fast cash. Imagine if the player you most admired due to his grit and hustle was a gambling addict who bet on his own team's games when he became a manager.

If you can imagine all of that without your heart breaking, then perhaps we should move beyond history and on to current events. Imagine if players in the sport you love are growing bigger, faster, stronger, and better by the day. Imagine if they easily demolish records that had seemed set in stone and capable of withstanding the test of time. Imagine idolizing these men who take to the field of play with their bats and gloves and perform one amazing feat after another. Imagine if you believe you are living in a time when several of the greatest men ever to play the game are simultaneously demonstrating their out-of-this-world abilities, surpassing the milestones of the game's legends. Imagine how exciting this would be. Imagine how riveted and uplifted you would be. Imagine how lucky you would consider yourself to be. Imagine the wonderment that would fill your soul at the crack of the bat and soaring of the ball into the blue yonder.

Imagine now if those many blasts over the right, left, and centerfield fences turn out to have been artificially produced.

Imagine if the world's fastest couple was merely the world's most doped up couple, running not so much on adrenalin as on pharmaceuticals. Imagine if the accusations turn out to be true, that you've been deceived, that the pursuit of excellence you admired was chemically assisted. Imagine if those world records and Olympic medals are tainted.

Imagine if it all turned out to be a mirage, nothing but smoke and mirrors. Imagine if you invested your hopes, lived vicariously through the exploits of these men and women, were crushed by their losses and exhilarated by their victories, only to learn that it is nothing but a drug induced fabrication. Imagine if you come to realize that you have not been witnessing the glorious acts of extraordinary athletes, but rather, the remarkable results of steroid use. Imagine if your role models are proven to be cheaters and liars. Imagine if you no longer feel you can trust your eyes. Imagine if you decide to stop admiring and aspiring to be like these athletes, because they have proven themselves to be little more than con artists. How would you feel?


Points of views other than my own fence straddling one: This article is cynical about intents of the media rather than athletes regarding steroid accusations.

This writer thinks it likely that Usain Bolt (but not Michael Phelps) was the doping star of 2012 Summer Olympics.

Question of the day: Should Pro sports leagues just give up and allow PEDs?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Giveaway and Announcement

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Patches Of Grey by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Patches Of Grey

by Roy L. Pickering Jr.

Giveaway ends September 03, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

By all means join if you haven't already (it's a fantastic site for anyone who cares at all about books) and enter for the chance to win a copy of my debut (and now AWARD WINNING ) novel - Patches of Grey. The winner will be selected on Labor Day.

For those of you unwilling to wait that long or to trust in the luck of the draw, if you read books on a Kobo or Kobo App and have $3 to your name - Patches of Grey is now availabe at

Speaking of being in a rush, THIS is a perfectly acceptable speed to run out like a BOLT of lightning and get yourself a copy of Patches of Grey in the format of your liking.