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Do positive thinking authors have an advantage over authors who are negative, skeptical, or less hopeful? The answer might surprise you. Obviously, being positive can’t hurt. In fact, it can help. Positive thinking authors who are confident about their writing, their pitch materials, and their pitch strategy will likely have more energy. They’ll also likely send out more submissions.


You don’t have to be
“positive” to get
an agent.

You can be negative
and skeptical.

Positive Thinking Authors Aren’t the Only Ones Who Get a Literary Agent and Get Published

I didn’t fully understand how true this statement about positive thinking authors is until recently, when I was talking to one of my coaching clients about her success. After she got an agent, I got on the phone with her to share my tips about what she should do (and not do) with her agent going forward, to have a good relationship. I also asked her questions about her experience getting an agent.

I already knew that, unlike most of my coaching clients, she’d had a rough time. After sending out her first three rounds of queries, she’d gotten zero requests for more material. I’d warned her in advance that her book was likely going to be a tough sell, but that isn’t much consolation when you’re an author being stung by rejections.

And, worse, when other agents don’t reply at all.

Those moments often break authors. Even positive thinking authors. Helping them through those moments is one of the things I do best. So I told my client she should continue to trust the premise of her book and her writing. I told her she should continue to trust my experience and instincts, the pitch materials I’d helped her create, and the strategy I’d suggested she follow. I also told her she should keep reminding herself that she just needed one agent to love her work to be successful.

The pep talk worked, but this article
isn’t just about being persistent.

After our check-in call, the author sent out another round of queries and finally got a request a short time later, from a successful agent to look at her manuscript. That’s when things got interesting. After the author sent the material to the agent, weeks went by. Then months. During that time, the author told me she was constantly waiting for the rejection letter to come in. “I’ve always been negative,” she confessed as she nervously laughed.

What happened next was fantastic.

One day, the author told me, after being fed up with not hearing from the agent, she decided to “get it over with and follow up with him, so he could reject her and she could get on with her life.” But, when she followed up, the agent said he’d never received the material. And, twenty-four hours after she resent it, he offered representation. Obviously, positive thinking authors aren’t the only ones who get agents.

I told my client I loved her story and her willingness to be honest about her negativity, because I knew it would empower other authors. Her story is proof that it’s okay if you’re mind is constantly filled with fear or skepticism about your prospects as an author.

You can still make it…

IF you’re willing to keep
sending things out to agents.

I tell my clients to do their best not to think or feel anything about their writing when querying agents. “Try to be like a machine or a robot,” I say. The more you can treat the querying process simply like something that needs to be done, consistently, like paying taxes or breathing, without letting your thoughts or feelings get in the way, you’re more likely to have success.

Even if you’re a
Negative Ned or Nellie.

The mind, heart, and spirit are wonderful things. They can inspire and lead you to greatness. But they can also turn you into your own worst enemy. You’re a writer, after all–with an extraordinary imagination. Therefore, if you give yourself any room to manufacture reasons why you won’t make it, or why you can’t or shouldn’t send out more queries…you mind will quickly create a factory full of excuses or reasons to let your dream die.

Ignore the reasons and excuses.

You don’t have to be part of the positive thinking authors community.

If you’re willing to query every decent agent who might be interested in your type of book, you might make it. I don’t care if it seems hopeless or seems like a long shot, or, even if it is a long shot. You still might make it. If you keep going. And–in my view–the amount of time, heart, and sometimes heartache, that writing requires…means you and your writing deserve your best effort.

– Mark

Question or Comment About Positive Thinking Authors or Anything Else?

Click here to see The 50 Questions Authors Ask Most (along with answers to the questions) and/or post your question or comment. Click here to see our Guide to Literary Agents. And, click here to see some of our best tips to help you Find a Literary Agent and/or Get a Literary Agent.

Author Coaching/Consulting

Want help to make your pitch materials for literary agents as good as they can be? Click here to learn how you can get 1-on-1 feedback to improve your pitch material and/or first fifty pages during an Introductory Coaching Call.

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