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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Loud Voices and Moving On by Liz Flaherty

I am set in my ways. There, I've admitted it. Although I've had a few indie releases of my own and am a squee-worthy part of the Heartwarming authors' group who releases the Christmas Town stories every year, my preference is still traditional publishing. My real preference would be the way traditional used to be, when the publisher did the marketing and most of the promotion. 

Yes. I know there are down sides to trad publishing. Lots of them. I know it's not good for everyone. I know the rejections alone are so discouraging...

Well, there we are. That's my real problem right now. Rejections. I've written about them before, apologizing for my skin that is not only wrinkled but remains thin even after over 20 years of being published. But they've been pretty...common lately. 

I was never one who counted how many rejections I got (there were lots) or laughed about papering my bathroom with them (I could, and our bathroom is pretty big) or gave in to the urge to stop writing forever and ever. Although...let me interrupt myself with a story.

Back in the 90s, I was a member of Outreach, the RWA chapter for people who couldn't get to chapter meetings, and I enjoyed it a lot. I entered its contest with my first completed manuscript. And won. First place. Wowser! What a coup for my first time out of the contest gate. The prize was a critique by members of a RWA group from Canada. (Sorry--some details have escaped me.)

To make a long story short, I was so blistered by the critique that I didn't write a word for three months. I was more broken, writing-wise, than I was before or have been since. Much of the critique was accurate, objective, and appreciated. Much of it was also mean-spirited, subjective, and cruel. Guess which "much" had the loudest voice. 


I kind of wondered what I was trying to say here, and I guess that's it. I am upset about recent rejections. I am bothered that I feel as if my age is held against me in this industry that I love. I do worry that I'm going to have to stop writing before I'm ready because I can't find either a publisher or a market. 

It sounds like I'm listening to the wrong voices, doesn't it? If those are the loud ones, I should turn them down and go on without them. It has nothing to do with whether I prefer indie or trad or hybrid or with my thin, wrinkled skin; rather it has to do with how I choose to proceed. At the end of the day, it's up to me.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving and good voices. 



  1. I have a thin skin, too. I write nonfiction, but always worry that the bad parts of the critique mean I will never get the hang of this. Even though I have been doing this for 30 years. Maybe we can form a thin skin critique group -- positive comments only. Who wants in?

    1. Oh, I can be a charter member, for sure! But I must admit it's nice to hear someone else say it. I'm embarrassed that I'm so easily hurt and discouraged at this stage of the game, so a group might be just what I need!

  2. I completely understand listening to the wrong voices. It's so hard sometimes to drown them out. I'm glad you keep trying! You're a wonderful author!

    1. Oh, thank you, Kara. A much-appreciated bump to my messy ego.

  3. I get you, Liz. but sometimes the mean voices are the loudest and we just have to listen harder to hear the kind ones. <>

  4. I'm catching up on my blog reading. I question the credibility of anyone who rejects your writing. Love your "Windows" books.


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