Friday, January 16, 2009


copyright 2009, Pat Bertram

Murderby4 is pleased to welcome Pat Bertram for another guest post. Pat is a prolific blogger and author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, which will be published later this year by Second Wind Publishing.
Performing artists like actors and comedians know that timing is everything. Without the right pause, the right word, the right gesture, the piece falls apart.
Life too is all about timing. Turn a corner and bump into a stranger who will become your mate. Run back into the house to answer the phone before you leave for work and later discover you missed being in an accident by those few minutes. Invest in a friend’s start-up business as a favor and end up being a millionaire.
Getting published is all about timing, too. You’ve written and rewritten your masterpiece, but you can find no takers. At best, you’re inundated with form rejection letters; at worst, you’re ignored. It’s entirely possible you are correct and your masterpiece is the bestseller-waiting-to-happen that you know it is. So how come you can’t get published?
Timing. As in the performing arts and the art of life, timing is everything, but unlike the performing arts, you cannot stand before a mirror and practice until you master your timing. All you can do is keep sending out your manuscript in the hopes that one day it will be on the right desk at the right time. Because one thing is certain, your desk is not the right one.
So how do you cope with all that rejection? Don’t think of it as rejection. Think of it as practicing your timing. Practice may not make perfect, but it does give you a chance.
a a
After all, Gone with the Wind was published after being rejected thirty-two times.


Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book -- character and story driven novels that can't be easily slotted into a genre -- she decided to write her own.

Bertram's first two novels, More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, are available for pre-order from Second Wind Publishing. Bertram's publisher says: “I was told by some other small publishers with whom I had done research that I was going to get mountains of unacceptable crap for every worthy thing I received. So when I got Pat's manuscript for A Spark of Heavenly Fire, which was like the first submission to Second Wind, I thought, ‘OMG, is this possible?!’ I knew in the first 20 pages that she was the real thing.”


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Pat, welcome back! And it's apparent that your timing has been great lately, since you have two books in the queue already! Congratulations. Can't wait to get my hands on them. ;o)

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

By the way, I just followed your links to your pub's page and ordered both of your books. I'm looking forward to digging into them!

s.w. vaughn said...

All you can do is keep sending out your manuscript in the hopes that one day it will be on the right desk at the right time. Because one thing is certain, your desk is not the right one.

This is awesome advice! The whole post is great, but this really stood out.

Thanks for stopping by, Pat - and I wish you many sales on your upcoming releases. :-)

Kim Smith said...

Thanks for stopping by Pat. Your advice is stellar. All good things come to those who wait. Timing is everything!

Marta Stephens said...

Welcome back, Pat! I've watched so many writers give up after that first rejection. And you're right, it's all about timing.

Here's wishing you mega sales!

Anonymous said...

I am honored to be a guest on Murder By 4. Thank you for having me, thank you for the warm welcome, and thank you, Aaron, for ordering my books. You just made me a real author -- writers need readers; it finishes the equation.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Pat, it's my pleasure. I've been looking forward to your books since we met on Gather. ;o)

~Sia McKye~ said...

What you say is true, Pat. Timing is everything. So, if a MS is good, you've gotten positive feedback from those that write similar genres, you know yours is good--and you know when it is--you have to keep trying.

Sometimes, the rejections are saying it's not the right time, not that its not good. Retire it for awhile. Meanwhile, start writing something else. Watch the market. Start another round of queries.

The main thing is, Don't--Give--Up. Your manuscript will never find life on YOUR desk.

~Sia McKye~

Unknown said...

Good article, Pat. I'm looking for ward to reading your books!

jalex said...

I've been waiting to read More Deaths Than One ever since I read the first chapter on the TruTv Crime writing contest on Gather last year. I agree with her publisher -- Pat is the real thing.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Aaron, SW, Kim and Marta: Just a quick note to thank you for including my Writer's Digest 101 Best Website blog Sharinging with Writers on your blog roll. And, I love your murder by 4 concept. Great blogging!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Also blogging at

Margay Leah Justice said...

When you think about how many times Gone With the Wind was rejected before it was finally published in light of how successful it turned out to be, it kind of makes you feel inadequate with your piddling ten rejections. That really puts things in perspective. Thanks for sharing, Pat. Wonderful article!
Margay Leah Justice

Warren Adler said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Pat!