Today's newsletter comes courtesy of a piece I just had published in Oprah Daily about learning to surf at 40. It was rejected seven times before finally finding a home (and the right one, which I'll get to in a minute).
I tell you this not as an example of perseverance (or hard headiness) but because I wasn't mad at any of the editors who said no. That's because that selling our work may feel personal, but it's a business transaction. I know it can be hard to separate yourself from your writing, especially with a personal essay like this one, but someone saying no is not a rejection of you. It means what you're selling didn't fit their business needs at the time.
Again: it's not personal, it's business.
(This is not quite the right gif for this situation, but I love this movie, and this gif, so I'm going with it.)
Editors reject ideas for a lot of reasons, even if they like the thing you're offering. Maybe they're not running as many personal essays anymore, they just bought piece on that topic, or they've tapped out their freelance budget and can't assign anything until the next replenishment. Or maybe they just don't care about surfing — fair! One editor said he'd buy it if I turned it into a reported piece. I said no because that's not what I wanted. I wanted to publish this thing, which did not meet his needs, so I moved onto the next potential outlet.
See how framing a pitch this way makes it a business transaction instead of a personal rejection? Think about it this way: If you're shopping for a big meal and don't need olives, you're not going to visit the olive seller at a farmer's market. Same thing.
And I'm not just making this up. After I shared the piece on my social media channels online, two editors who rejected it reached out to say they're so glad it found a home.
As for that home! I had Oprah on my bucket list of publications for years — I sent my first pitch in 2014! When the print magazine folded, I wasn't sure what the online operation was. But I did know that an editor I'd worked with at another magazine was in charge. So I sent it to her, and viola. Success. It landed in the right spot.
"At 40, Daring to Pursue a Childhood Dream of Surfing" for Oprah Daily
"Pay is One Piece of Worker Retention Puzzle" for Supply Chain Dive
"How to Manage Hardware Assets — Despite the Talent Crunch" for CIO Dive
What I'm Reading
Links to my reviews!
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play by Nick Offerman
Murder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success by Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
What I'm Watching
The Lost City. This was fun! Movie stars looking hot and doing funny things! Loved it!
The Gray Man. This was silly! Movie stars looking hot and doing funny things! I loved this less, but not a waste of time!
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