Hello, [my trilogy] was just turned down by deseret publishing on my first book of this project. I’m 75% done with the second book and will then immediately complete the third of the trilogy. There has never been books like these as they are unique and experientially based. Can you help me?

It is not at all uncommon to be rejected on your first book and by the first publisher you contact. Don’t give up.

The most common reason books are rejected is that they are not a good fit for the publisher. Read the publisher’s submission guidelines carefully. Make sure the publisher you are submitting to is interested in your genre and topic. Make sure they publish things similar, but not the same as what you’re submitting.

The second most common reason for rejection is that the book is just not quite publication ready. Get some critiques on your manuscript. Join a critique group with experienced writers. Go to some conferences that offer critique sessions. Make sure your book is as good as it can possibly be.

The third most common reason for rejection is your query letter isn’t quite up to what it should be. Saying things like, “There has never been books like these as they are unique and experientially based,” is not really very helpful. Unique how? What specifically do you meant by “experientially based”? Is that experiential component going to add to the cost of creating the book? That might be an issue (or not).

And I can guarantee, the publisher/editor/agent is going to have seen something like it before.

Do your research and keep submitting. Good luck!

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My MS is gradually approaching the point where I would like to share it with a critique group. However, my home is a thousand miles away from the epicenter of LDS publishing.

My question is this: Would I be better off meeting with a local critique group who may not be familiar with the church and the LDS market, or should I try and find an online group of other LDS writers to work with?

A local critique group will give you real-time feedback. You can ask questions and get answers immediately. You can hear the intonation they use when they make comments, see their facial expressions, hear them snicker in appropriate places (or not). That type of feedback is very valuable. While online groups can give you good feedback, you don’t get to see or hear that immediate emotional reaction to your writing.

If you can find a local group without religious bias that is willing to work with you, that is your best bet. The fact that they may not be familiar with LDS culture is not necessarily a negative thing. If your writing is clear enough that non-LDS readers can understand the LDS concepts without feeling preached to, and they can relate to the universal human emotions and experiences that are also part of your story, then you’ve done some good work.

If, however, you can’t find a group that is open to religious writing in general, and/or LDS writing in specific, then your only option is online. Which is not to say that online critique groups don’t also provide a valuable service to the writer. They do. So don’t feel bad if you can’t find a local group.

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Reader Comments

April 17, 2007

I have heard that you can request readers’ comments from publishers after you have submitted a manuscript to them. What is the best way to do this? In the query letter? A note after you have been rejected? You can request them. You may or may not get them. Depends on the company policy. Some […]

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Age is Relative

April 5, 2007

I recently attended the LDStorymakers Conference and received a recommendation from a couple of authors that I increase the age of my main character (it is a romance novel). At the beginning of my book, she is 19 but the bulk of the book transpires when she is about 23-24. What age range would you […]

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Improving Your Writing

March 9, 2007

I have a question. LDS Publisher, I would like to see you post a blog about what, in your opinion, LDS authors can do to increase their quality of writing. I’m whacking my head against the wall to drag the very best of myself onto the page, and yet I still seem to be falling […]

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Critique for Charity

March 8, 2007

An author named Brenda Novak hosts an annual online auction to fund the search for a cure for diabetes. A lot of her author friends offer their books and other stuff for sell at the auction. There are a few who are offering manuscript critiques. The one that I think would be very valuable is […]

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