|Ira Mark Egdall|
I found that in the face of rejection, you have to somehow find the inner strength to overcome your self-doubt and keep on trying. Like I said, it ain’t easy. But success is possible. I’m an example. My first full-length book, Einstein Relatively Simple, is about to be published. (I still can’t believe it.) It’s for those who always wanted to understand Einstein’s ideas but perhaps never thought it possible. (Shameless plug.)
The road to publication was long and difficult. Here are a couple of things I wished I had done to make it easier:
1. Listen to the experts — At my first book fair, I was told by a literary agent and a bookseller that my manuscript would have its best chance with an academic press. But I was stubborn — I wanted to try for an agent and major New York publisher first. After lots of rejections, I found an agent. She was unable to find a publisher. They praised the writing but not the market. So I turned to academic publishers on my own. After more rejections and two “almosts”, an academic publisher said yes. I thought I would burst with joy.
I should have taken the advice of the experts and queried academic publishers first. It would have saved many months of time and heartache.
2. Listen to your reviewers. – Early on, I asked (begged) some friends, two physics experts, and a published author to critique drafts of my book. Several told me the book was too long. But I couldn’t bear to “cut my darlings”. Two years later, an editor advised me to cut the book by a third. I did this with the help of my wife. I then began to receive serious interest in the book — resulting in a publisher.
As an author you have to evaluate criticisms from draft reviewers and decide for yourself what to change. But chances are when someone tells you your book is too long, it probably is.
My wife urged me to seek academic publishers first, and to cut the size of the book. That’s another lesson learned: always listen to your wife!
About Ira Mark Egdall… also the author of the eBook Unsung Heroes of the Universe and a popular science writer for DecodedScience.com. He is a retired aerospace program manager with an undergraduate degree in physics from Northeastern University. Mark now teaches lay courses in modern physics at Lifelong Learning Institutes at Florida International University, the University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern University. He also gives entertaining talks on Einstein and time travel. When not thinking about physics, Mark spends his time playing with his grandchildren and driving his wife of 45 years crazy.