Different “Strokes”

This is a writers’ blog and one of our most published authors here came up with the topic of fan letters…all well and good, IF you have received a fan letter.

I am not very well published and I hate to admit,( but like to think), that it is because I haven’t put myself ‘out there’ . I really haven’t submitted my work very often.

I did get very encouraging letters from a few sources who said that the work I offered was not quite right but to please submit more of my works,(which I usually don’t). One New York Times Best Selling author with whom I am acquainted told me that those were very good to get, since, (in her words), “Editors don’t have time to stroke writers”; in other words, they won’t lie and waste their own time over more of your submissions if they think your work is no good.
[I am aware that many editors will kindly phrase a rejection as: “Not right for us at this time”, but added lines such as, “your work shows promise” or “I like what I see in your work” is a different matter altogether.]

I received a very strong letter like that from one national greeting card company,(ironically, not the one which employs my husband ), after they test-marketed one of my writings in a card. I guess the sales weren’t good enough for them to mass-market it and until just now, it had not occurred to me that maybe it was the artwork they used to “showcase” my ditty that blew it.O.K., maybe not, but hey, I was out there, with a contract.I’ve been meaning to give them another  try,(or them, me), but….

I am hoping for some feedback on a big article that is out in a national magazine right now, but since it is published about once every ten weeks or so, I can hope that the next issue has a letter or two in feedback. I have one old friend who is like a family member, (JUST like a family member in that she is not someone who will “stroke” me. My family is much faster in the shooting department than going into “stroke” mode.) I had sent several writings to her and she always came back with her waaaaaaay-too-honestly critical opinion, no holds barred. But after I sent the last one to her she told me it was fantastic, that she made her husband read it and, (ready for it?), actually said that I should write a book!
That’s the best I have for fan mail, so far….It would be nice to hear from a stranger, although stranger than hearing that from this friend, I am not sure will ever happen.

How about it, People? Any fan mail your way?
Any “strokes” from editors?
Any good ‘thank you’ notes?
Please leave a note here!


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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15 Responses to Different “Strokes”

  1. Iris B says:

    May I push that away from me, please …. it was the Hound’s idea with the fan letter. Blame him … LOL … but as hard as it seemed for most of us, I find so far everyone has come up with a very good post! And, Tonette, you’re finishing off the week in fine style 😉


  2. jeff7salter says:

    You’re absolutely correct, Tonette, that today’s editors / agents do NOT have time (or inclination) to pamper submissions with false encouragement. So if that individual said your submission had promise and she/he wanted to see more from you … then it was LEGIT.
    Hang on to that. In our business, every shred of affirmation is needed.


    • Yes, thanks,Jeff.And I really need to take those laterals and try again to make it down-field…whoa! Football metaphor and I am sure I lost Iris and any other non-Americans. Another writing tip:Know your audience! What I should have said was:
      Yes,I should take the encouragements and act on them in an attempt to make progress. Better?


      • jeff7salter says:

        Writers (in general) are reluctant to “send their babies out to be possibly mauled” … so many of us just write and store like we’re hoarding for a famine.
        I recall one particular phase of my writing career — decades ago — after I’d had some successes (awards & publications) with my creative writing … plus numerous articles and photos published in the newspapers on which I’d worked.
        Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to submit my poems to publications which actually would accept them.
        Recognizing my dilemma, my brother took a few of my best pieces and subbed them FOR me. Sure enough, one was published! What a wonderful way to break my deadlock. But he’s always been extremely supportive of my writing efforts.
        They can’t say YES unless you give them a chance.
        The worst they can say is NO … and you try again somewhere else.


      • I know, thanks,Jeff.I am no longer shy or thin-skinned.It’s more taking what little time I have between crises here and getting it done!
        [BTW;My sister submitted my works unbeknownst to me to a poetry ‘contest’ which proved to be a scam for a vanity press.I had to threaten them with copyright violation to keep the works from getting into their book, which I had no intention of paying for!]


  3. pjharjo says:

    You and I seem to think alike Tonette. 🙂 I’ve always felt the same about why it took me so long to get published. “it is because I haven’t put myself ‘out there’ . I really haven’t submitted my work very often.” Life gets in the way, ya know? (I’m sure you do.) And I’ve always believed the same thing about following up with those houses who express interest in future works, though I, like you, have failed to do so. “/ A distraction has always happened, and I am very prone to distractions. GRIN

    It probably was the artwork the greeting card company used that caused your verse not to sell. Remain optimistic and persevere! Their loss. There are plenty of other greeting card companies out there, just like there are plenty of publishers. 🙂 What’s your article in the national magazine about? Perhaps you will see a fan l letter at some time in the future. That reminds me of my very first piece of fan mail that I had entirely forgotten about! It was for a newspaper article I wrote about a local church. Someone read that newspaper and wrote in to the editor praising me for the way I wrote it! (I don’t remember what it said right now.) I saved that fan letter, but I have no idea where it is right now. “/

    All writers need a critique like yours who is “waaaaaaay-too-honestly critical.” 🙂 I tell my critiquers, “A pat on the back is always nice, but it won’t get me published.” There’s some good tidbits in everyone’s opinion of your work. Just remember, it’s their opinion. I know it was a real thrill to hear her say your last was “fantastic” and that she shared it with her husband! And then to tell you to write a book! There ya go! 🙂


    • One famous writer just said”I got so many rejection letters that I could paper a wall. If you believe in your work, keep submitting it.If you don’t care about your writing, why should your readers?” Sage advice!
      Not all greeting card companies take outside work, and this one is rather specific;(touchy-feely/crunchy-granola,absolutely no rhymes allowed!)It doesn’t matter.ST.Jude Shrine in Chicago had a contest a few years back to write their Christmas card.They were going to take the best of the ‘rejects’ and put them in a book.I made the list,but they decided to give the ‘book’ away online.They did it the next year and I set out to write poetry for them, not the card.Several of my poems made that online book, too, (as well as a photograph I sent.) So I know I can do it….if I put my mind and hand to it.
      I understand the need for someone who is highly critical and I wish I had such a person.What I have are either those who gush, or those who are family members whom I cannot please to save my soul.It is an old family rut that most can’t leave behind. THAT is not good; it was the main reason I was inhibited for so many years.
      Thanks for the lift,Janette!


      • pjharjo says:

        YW, Tonette! I’m glad I was able to “lift” you. :)) I suffered from family inspired inhibition for a long time, too. Now we both just need to remember that whatever others say is THEIR opinion. And you’re a POET, Too!



      • I’ve dabbled in a lot, Janette.My first delve into writing publicly was by entering and taking an award in an international songwriting contest…in a lyrics division.


      • Yes,Janette,I did.It was a minor award,a number of others also received it,(along with a number of English and Dutchmen, it seems),but it WAS an international competition.Over the years, many famous names were either contestant,winners or judges.It upset my sister to no end, as she not only had entered several songs that your herself, she had been entering for sometime!(Brag,brag!).
        Thanks, it was many moons ago now.
        [P.S., I sent you an email a couple of days ago; let me know if you got it.]


  4. am yet to receive one!


  5. What I did not mention was that I have had a number of letters or phone calls over the years praising my “Letters to the Editor” in various publications in several states…I guess that counts, huh?


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