By Cynthia Ruchti
As you make progress on this journey of writing, it’s important you know your rights. What are you entitled to?
1. Have a contest judge evaluate your entry according to how hard you worked and how long you’ve been writing rather than on the product alone.
2. Present your work to agents and editors the way that makes the most sense to you and the uniqueness of your project.
3. Critique partners whose primary goal is to make you feel better, not make you a better writer.
4. Conference appointments with whatever editor or agent you target. They are there to serve you. Besides, you paid good money for registration. And it’s only fair that you extend your conference appointment however long it takes to get your point across.
5. Speak your mind no matter who it offends. You’re entitled.
6. Have your angst relieved-you’re worth it-by an instant response to queries and proposals. Editors and agents should respect your time.
7. Have publishers take a chance on your project. It’s your right as a word artist.
8. Have major contests, conferences, and marketing teams make an exception for you, no matter what the rules say or the budget allows.
9. Be invited to meet your fans at an author event in any bookstore you’re willing to grace with your presence and time.
10. None of the above.
In His Word, God tells us that every good thing that comes to us-sweet editor appointments, groundbreaking contracts, prime spots in national magazine promotions-is a gift from His Hand.
Every good thing-the privilege of entering a contest at all, the exceptional gift of an invitation from an agent or editor to send a proposal for consideration, the blessing of a critique partner who takes time from his or her own work to focus on yours and suggest changes to help YOU succeed, the honor of face-to-face time with an agent or editor who already has enough on his plate with his current client list, the blessing of a retailer who rearranges the store schedule, store layout, and staffing in order to promote an author’s book that will likely not have a significant impact on store income.
Gifts. Not entitlements.
The correct answer is the obvious one-10. None of the above.
Writers who view contest experiences as a gift, not an entitlement, are happier writers. Those who look at their scores and comments as gifts from judges who focused time and energy on the work and made suggestions for improvement are more content entrants, no matter where their scores landed.
Conference attendees who feel privileged to be there, not entitled to the experience, appreciate the behind-the-scenes efforts that made it possible, and approach glitches as minor interruptions rather than major irritations.
Writers who feel blessed to have editors and agents they call their own-not entitled to them-make better clients.
Authors who view a book signing as a gift rather than an entitlement create an atmosphere that blesses the staff no matter how many or few customers show up.
“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light,” James 1:17, MSG.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some thank you notes to write.
Cynthia Ruchti is blessed with new contracts for upcoming releases, including Cedar Creek Seasons novella collection (Barbour) which releases September 1, just prior to the ACFW conference, which she’s privileged to attend and serve. She’s honored to work with her agent, Wendy Lawton, of Books & Such Literary Agency, and currently has the benefit of working with Abingdon Press on both fiction and non-fiction projects, Barbour Publishing, and Summerside Press (His Grace is Sufficient…Decaf is Not devotional collection). Each speaking engagement is a gift from God’s Hand. She lives in a state of perpetual thanksgiving in the heart of Wisconsin.