Thursday, May 17, 2007


By Billie A Williams © 2007

According to Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul, author) “Some will, some won’t, so what—some one’s waiting.” That, he calls the SWSWSW principle. A returned manuscript is just a signal you need to move it to the next one, the editor you seek is not at the address where you sent it THIS time.

He should certainly know. He and his co-author Mark Victor Hansen – received a total of 130 rejections for the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Even after they pounded the pavement and got over 2,000 people to agree to buy the book if it ever got published, publishers wouldn’t touch it. So they self published….and then — as Paul Harvey says, ‘the rest of the story’ you are well acquainted with. Wouldn’t you be inclined to believe someone who believed so adamantly in his book, so strongly that he went on until it was published — that book alone sold 8 million plus copies and was the beginning of an 80 book series of best selling books that have been translated into 39 languages.

Canfield also says that you must ask for what you want. Don’t be vague, because a vague question gets any number of answers from the universe. “Asking is, was and always will be a numbers game,” he says. Asking specifically for what you want is the only way to get it. You must keep asking until you do get it. Eventually, you will.

The first no, whether it’s for a job, money, a date, or even publication of your manuscript means you are just not a match. There is nothing personal about it. Just say next! The view from Canfield’s position is that when someone says no – you haven’t lost anything, you haven’t been rejected – you are no better or no worse off than you were before you asked – so status quo is maintained, you have not failed. The situation didn’t get worse, it didn’t change – you are no worse off than before – however, if you internalize it and beat yourself up, you could make yourself believe you are no good, you are as low as they come on this earth. But, why would you do that? Instead, why not just accept that you didn’t match and move on to NEXT! Who or whatever that might be.

There are over five billion people on our planet earth. Someone, somewhere, sometime will say yes. “Don’t get stuck in your fear or resentment. Move on to the next person. It’s a numbers game and someone is waiting to say yes.” Canfield says.

An observations shared by Barbara Kingsolver author of The Poisonwood Bible.
“This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.”

The record for the largest number of rejections today (so far at least) would be John Creasey, a popular British mystery writer. He collected 743 rejections before he sold his first book. Over the next forty years he published 562 full-length books under 28 different pseudonyms! That’s equal to a book a month for 40 years. I just found my new goal. If I can’t break the record for the most books published (and that may even be doable) perhaps I can catalog the most rejections.

My new motto SWSWSWSW
Some will, Some Won’t, So What! Some one’s Waiting!

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