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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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September 24, 2007 | 1 Comment

Dear Garrison,
I have been writing short children's stories for several years, mostly for my children who are now grown and ready to have children of their own. How do you get the courage to submit them to a publisher? To send them off to the world as a part of you, like a child off to college, never to return to you the same person you sent out? And then, how do you cope with the inevitable rejection of
part of yourself when the reject letters arrive? Thanks for any insight you can share on how to get these stories out the
door.

Jenny P.
Mechanicsburg, PA

You're a writer, Jenny. Look at your letter — I didn't change a word of it. Every sentence says what it means, no flab anywhere. Publication is the natural outcome of writing, once it achieves shape and style and urgency, and so of course you will find the courage and you will cope with the rejection. Motive is important: some people want to have written, other people want to write — to work with the material and tinker with the parts and rearrange and tear apart and start over. If you feel the stories aren't ready to go out the door, put them away for awhile and write something else. There's no rush. Write stories for grown children. Write about your children. Write something that would astonish your grown children. But eventually you will pack up the stories in a manila envelope and ship them away. They'll be rejected and then one day maybe they won't, but you won't care terribly either way because you're a writer, you're at work on new things.


1 Comment


Jenny may want to try a small self-publishing exercise. There are several publish-on-demand companies around. One that I'm familiar with is Blurb.com. They have several book templates, including one for poetry. A 7"x7" 20-40 page hardcover book with a dust jacket is $22.95 quantity one. And, an 8"x10" is only $29.95. Several friends have self-published that way, and I'm working on a photo book. Blurb.com also has a soft-cover option.

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