When is it Time to Say “Rest in Peace”?

As if I wasn’t already having a doubt myself as a writer day, I came home to find this in the mail:

I’m not really surprised. Anyone who has read my book GIVING UP THE GHOSTS has liked it. (I’ve linked you to an excerpt of it, if you are interested). Even the harshest critic of them all, a 10 year old avid reader.

I revised for this contest, and made it stronger. But here’s the thin, it is a single book. It doesn’t have series potential, or at least not obvious series potential. It doesn’t follow the over-sexualized young adult vampire trend that I have been reading lately. It is a book about two girls trying to find their place in the world. One of them happens to be able to see ghosts.

I’ve submitted this book to several places, large and small. It is hard to label this book. It’s kind of current, paranormal, fantasy, coming-of-age. It is what it is. I’m not saying it is the world’s most brilliant book, but it certainly is better than some published books that I have read recently.

I admit, I am not a good advocate for myself. I am not good at the business side of writing. I don’t want to write to the needs of a publisher, I want to write the book that my souls is trying to write, but then I want it to find a home.

But that leads to the question, when do you give up? When do you let the poor little manuscript rest in peace, gathering dust with all the rest of the accumulated words from years gone by?

Maybe it is time for me to really give up the ghosts on this one.

36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CMSmith
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 14:08:15

    Or you could consider self-publishing. There’s a group discussion about it on writers digest.com that has some helpful information. Let me know if you need the link.


    • Lisa
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:12:19

      Sure, Christine. Send me the link. I’ve looked into it a little, but I’m still not sure about that route. For some reason your comment got put into spam. I wonder if it is because you included a link.


  2. Taochild
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 14:30:44

    Not even having completed one thing to even attempt to submit for publishing, I can’t speak to if or when there is a time to give up. Personally I think at least until you have something else completed, don’t give up. But beyond that, it is never wise to make such decisions when you are in negative place. Put the thought away until your spirits … and your sense of purpose have returned again. Then ask yourself the same question. You may still decide to throw in the towel, but at least then you won’t be second guessing your decision.


    • Lisa
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:11:30

      Ahem, have you read it yet? You probably have an outdated version, but did you ever actually read it? I’ll wait until I’m in a better head space.


      • Taochild
        Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:17:30

        I have read both versions that I have. Weather either is the final version you would have to tell me. I think it is a great story, and to be honest can see the possibility of it becoming a series of stories, even if it would ultimately step away from the original coming of age intent. Just thinking commercially here lol


        • Lisa
          Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:53:43

          LOL I don’t know anymore what versions you have. I see series potential too, but it also functions stand alone. It’s not like Harry Potter or Fablehaven where you have to keep reading to find out what happens. I think those continual series tend to sell better in the publishing world today.


      • Taochild
        Mar 28, 2011 @ 16:07:26

        The last version I have was you sent me June of last year and calle the submissable version, so I am guessing it is the final version. I agree the continuous story ones are big sellers, but stand alone series have their appeal as well. I think it depends on the audience and the story 🙂


      • Lisa
        Mar 28, 2011 @ 16:10:35

        I think I had one more pass before I submitted it in September, but the changes were minor if anything. Maybe I fixed the end a little


  3. Vixter2010
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 14:59:14

    I feel you, I had loads of rejection for manuscript no.1 so I’m working on no.2. Lots of published authors were rejected first time round, that gives me some comfort but it’s really hard. If you really want it, don’t give up, I’m trying not to!


  4. lynnewman
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:03:01

    For what it is worth…I would say you obviously believe in this book. I’ve been told that those kinds of genres can do very well as e-books. I know it might not have been what you had in mind but it might be an avenue worth considering rather than just putting your hard work in a drawer.

    I’ve also read (somewhere, don’t ask me where…) that if you can get a decent number of people (I believe 5,000 was the number quoted) to buy your ebook for 99p, 99 cents….1.99 whatever then it can help build a platform for you and your work that can help in future.

    That might all turn out to be bumpkiss, but it probably won’t cost anything but time to find out.

    p.s. re: worries about blogging. I have them too and the only answer I’ve been able to find is to concentrate on doing what excites my heart. After all, that’s why I started writing, just like you 🙂

    Hope you feel back on form soon x


  5. lifeintheboomerlane
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:03:19

    Our books are for adults, so it may be that my advice doesn’t apply. I’d say, if you feel strongly about this and you feel like you have sent it to every single source there is (and there are a lot of them), you have a couple options. You can go the print-on-demand route and throw yourself into marketing the book. After all, even with a conventional publisher, you still have to do that. Or, you can break the story up and have one or two parts published as a short story. That way, you might have more credibility when you submit. Another option is to enter contests with the manuscript. If you win, you might get a publisher’s attention. Don’t give up. Just get more creative about this.


    • Lisa
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:10:10

      This was a contest, with one of the big publisher. I probably won’t give up, but I’ve been living with this manuscript for a long time and I feel frustrated.


  6. Kathryn McCullough
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:38:03

    Okay, Lisa! Not a good day for a rejection letter! I will click on the link here in a minute, but I say keep going with the major publishing houses until you have run out of options! Though, Renee’d idea about short stories sounds interesting.

    Don’t give up, my friend! I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I say don’t give up!



  7. Kathryn McCullough
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:45:25

    Okay–just read the link and loved it! LOVED IT! Do not give up on this! What fascinates me is that most medical professionals would say this child has a mental illness–rather than a gift! Fascinating!

    Don’t give up on this! Another question–this first person section is really strong! Any chance more of it could be in first person?


    • Lisa
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:51:58

      There are three voices in it. Third person that tells the story from Andie’s perspective. Andie’s diary first person. And then third person telling a part of the story from Miranda, Andie’s friend who gets drawn in a really bad way. I probably won’t give up, I just don’t know the next step.

      I tend to write a lot of fiction in first person. I think that comes from being so immersed in drama.


      • Lisa
        Mar 28, 2011 @ 15:56:12

        She refers to Miranda in the part you read, calling her MM. And, as I’ve said before, I think there is a fine line between what is called mental illness and what some would call seeing the world more clearly. Along that line is the unexplained.


  8. Elizabeth Harper
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 16:46:49

    I haven’t read your link yet, but I am seriously impressed with your support system. They’ve given you some great suggestions and thanks for sharing your experience in a way that helps the rest of us.


    • Lisa
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 16:57:21

      I’ve learned a lot from today, including about how wonderful a support system exists through this blogging world.


  9. nrhatch
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 20:12:16


  10. Lisa Yarost
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 20:47:02

    Hang in there, Lisa. I agree that today is not the day to be making the Big Decision on your brainchild. I also think you should look into e-publishing. There is a very low cost, and the genre is such that your book will probably show up on search engines.


    • Lisa
      Mar 29, 2011 @ 07:23:34

      Thanks Lisa. I am going to think about it. Maybe I need to re-read my book and see if it is really worth it. I don’t know anymore. 😉


  11. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 13:59:47

    My view is this…. You write for YOU. Do not write for a publisher. Keep writing, especially if it something you get great joy from. Take solace in the fact that many people love your writings. Realize that getting a book accepted is probably a total crap shoot. The one person that read your manuscript might not have thought it was worthy of publication. For all you know, it could have gone to 9 other folks at the same place and they might have all loved it. You just gotta keep plugging away. At some point down the road, you are gonna get your writings into the hands of just the right person. Don’t give up the ghost!


    • Lisa
      Mar 29, 2011 @ 14:27:47

      Thanks, Mark. Sometimes I just want validation from other sources, but that may never come. I know, I shouldn’t worry about it.



  12. thepetalpusher
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 16:27:13

    Don’t discourage, Lisa. Walk away for a while, but don’t give up! Rejection is hard, but I’ve been told that you have to keep trying other publishers. Have positive thoughts.


  13. Hilary Clark
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 17:51:23

    I agree with Mark. Write for you. It’s the only way your voice is going to come through. And everything I’ve read, the comments I’ve heard at my RWA meetings, all say: voice is critical. Sure, the story needs a hook and conflict and good characters, but the voice in which the story is told has a tremendous impact.

    Don’t give up on publication, even while writing for you. Do you have an agent? If not, how about submitting to good crop of agents instead of publishers?

    I’ll read the excerpt you posted tonight. Hang in there!


    • Lisa
      Mar 29, 2011 @ 17:59:50

      I’ve submitted to one agent. No go. But I always debate with myself about agents. For kids book it seems like more of a losing deal. If I ever get the adult book written I might have to rethink. Or maybe I have to rethink now, when I have a better attitude.


  14. Artswebshow
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 09:38:46

    It’s a difficult one to call.
    I submitted some poems just randomly to a magazine online and they got rejected. I read some of the poetry that got in and i wasn’t impressed.
    It seems self promotion/publishing is the only way now but its a lot of hard work.


    • Lisa
      Mar 30, 2011 @ 11:38:59

      I think I just need to step away from it for a while, but I very rarely give up. Thanks for visiting. Good luck on the poetry.


  15. egills
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 08:01:20

    It would be good to read a bit more – from what I’ve read it has a similar stance as Ghost Whisperer.
    Have you looked into selling via Amazon’s Kindle? I know I’ve downloaded lots by up and coming writers.
    Good luck. It would be great to read the whole book 🙂


    • Lisa
      Apr 05, 2011 @ 08:03:24

      Thank you Eileen. I’m thinking about publishing possibilities right now. Your words are encouraging though.


  16. Trackback: So You’ve Written a Manuscript . . . Now What? « Woman Wielding Words

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