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Addressing a Writer’s Fear of Submission

April 2, 2019

By C. Hope Clark

Regardless where in life we find ourselves, we fear the gatekeepers. At work, at school, with family, amongst friends, especially on stage. Even Facebook can block you from posting, and Amazon can erase your book review. Being judged is the problem, and very few of us are willing to stand in the spotlight and take it.

And many writers fear being rejected. This fear of rejection keeps thousands of them from submitting to contests, agents, publishers, editors, and critique groups. 

And they never grow. 

Nothing grows without understanding what works and doesn’t work. A new, less published, less critiqued writer cannot define all the rights and wrongs of writing by themselves. So rather than cease writing, rather than avoid the pain of submissions, consider the following mindsets about putting yourself out there.

  • The people on the other end do not know you. Their interest is in writing, and even if your work is horrendously rejected with miles of red ink, the individual doing the red-inking won’t remember your name. They are hunting for the winner, the book manuscript to contract, the better material. So, take advantage of the time they invested into showing you your flaws, and be thankful for the time they invested into your manuscript. 
  • Be grateful for rejection. As a matter of fact, be ecstatic. The more you are rejected, especially with feedback, the sooner you find the right way to improve. When I submitted to 36 literary agents, with 80 percent feedback of how it just wasn’t quite there yet, I realized I’d gathered enough information to go back and rewrite. I later landed an agent.
  • You cannot get accepted without being rejected. Nobody lands a book deal or wins a contest the very first time they write a story and send it in. I landed an agent on the 72nd try. What if I’d stopped at number 62, 35. . . or 71? The National Endowment for the Arts  issues writing grants each year, and nobody wins the first year they submit. The winners submit year after year, readjusting each time, tweaking to improve their odds.
  • You cannot please everyone. You don’t like every book you read, so how can you expect a judge, beta reader, agent, publisher, or editor to like every submission that crosses their desk? Without understanding a person, you can’t expect to write to their satisfaction. The odds of acceptable bank partly on quality, partly on timing, and partly on the person’s preferences, which can change from day to day.
  • Nobody cares if you do not submit. They only care if you do, because they can’t learn about you until you tell them who you are and show them how you write.

First, rejection isn’t personal. Submitting isn’t going to hurt you. And if you realize it’s a process, a far cry from the level of getting married or baring your naked self under auditorium spotlights, the pain subsides. Do I admit some disappointment when not accepted? Sure. A twinge. And admittedly it used to hurt more, but over time I learned to capitalize on those experiences to grow. My armor is so much thicker now, and if someone gives me feedback, then it means they took the time to read my work, and that in itself is a beautiful thing.


C. Hope Clark is the award-winning author of the Carolina Slade Mysteries and the Edisto Island Mysteries. During her career with the US Department of Agriculture, she met and married a federal agent-now a private investigator. She plots murder mysteries at their lakeside home in South Carolina, when she isn’t strolling Edisto Beach. Find our more about her at  



One death. Two detectives. And unexpected backup.
A Callie Morgan and Carolina Slade crossover, standalone mystery!

When a renowned—and now dead—travel blogger washes ashore on the banks of Indigo Plantation, Edisto Beach Police Chief Callie Morgan agrees to head the investigation as a favor to the county sheriff, whose reasons are as questionable as the death itself. When death turns to murder and a watchdog from the county makes her investigation difficult, Callie reluctantly turns to Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo, vacationing agents with the Department of Agriculture.

Because poison is growing on this plantation and someone knows how to use it well.


Murder, corruption, and page-turning intrigue are usually the elements that shine the brightest in mysteries like Hope Clark’s latest Dying on Edisto. But it’s the characters that bring a vivid literary element to Clark’s prose and create a strong emotional response to their tangled lives. The scenic town of Edisto Beach is peopled with a modern-day pirate claiming to be a descendent of Blackbeard, a degenerate travel blogger, a yoga teacher who drives a baby blue vintage Benz convertible, a mixed race waitress and her matriarchal grandmother, and a whole slew of wealthy and crooked good ole boys. Leading the cast are two strong female protagonists—a police chief and an investigator with the Department of Agriculture. Did someone say hemlock? —Susan Cushman, author of Cherry Bomb and editor of Southern Writers on Writing

“In a plot as complicated as the numerous waterways that create Edisto Island in South Carolina, C. Hope Clark has combined the characters from her two series to solve the murder of a renowned travel blogger. They mystery requires all of their detective skills and blends the two mystery worlds in a page-turning standalone. The story opens with a floater and progresses with edge-of-your-seat action. Prepare to be absorbed by Clark’s crisp writing and compelling storytelling. This is one you don’t want to miss!”— Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of three mystery series. She is the author of over 80 books and has received numerous writing awards.

Hope Clark converges her sleuths, Carolina and Callie Jean, on Edisto Island for the finale, Dying on Edisto, concluding her two murder mystery series. Slews of fans always awaited these highly addictive and superbly penned novels – grabbing you from the first page and not letting go until the last. A pristine, sleeper sea island, two determined masters of law who butt heads, a mystery corpse from Atlantic waters, a few idiosyncrasies along the way – the absolute best cast and plot for an intense coastal thriller. ~Karen Carter, Owner, Edisto Bookstore

From → Writer's Craft

  1. Thank you for sharing this

    • You’re welcome. I love her books even though I’ve only read one from each series. I hope to post more from local authors.

  2. C. Hope Clark permalink

    Thanks for the post, Connie! This is great.

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