I’m very proud and humbled to announce that this blog has reached the 3,000 follower milestone. Thank you to each and every one of you for being a part of my writing world.
Peace and love!
I DESERVE TO BE REJECTED, DANG IT!
This will be a short post about the query process and the rejections that go with it. Yes, I’ve covered this topic before, but that was long before my manuscript was complete and ready for agents to view. Writing about it then was like a virgin writing about the experience of intercourse. You think you know, but you don’t.
I’m 19 query letters into the publication industry and I’ve been rejected just five times. I’ll be sending out more in the morning. I am still an infant in this process, but I can say that being rejected is not the big bad wolf I had thought it would be. In fact, all of the feedback I’ve received has been positive. One agent’s rejection letter read, “Thank you for a wonderful note!” Another’s said, “Your process is excellent and there’s a lot to like about your approach, but…” My favorite so far, in response to a section of a query that praised the agent and the author for an important work: “Your letter was a wonderful surprise! It’s always nice to hear that someone’s work has inspired someone to do something good – I’ll be sure to share that info with Sarah. But I’m sorry to say that due to the huge stack of manuscripts awaiting my review, I must declare a moratorium on new submissions for the rest of the year.”
Of the five agents to reject me, only one had nothing personal to say to me. That’s okay, too. See, I’m just happy to receive NOTICE of a rejection.
So many literary agencies have a disclaimer such as this on their website: “Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we can’t reply to all, but we do review each one carefully and will be in touch if we’d like to see more material from you.” Some will say, “If you haven’t heard from us in ___ weeks, you can assume we are not interested in your work.”
Now, I understand how busy literary agents are. Some receive as many as 500 queries in one week, making personal contact with aspiring authors nearly impossible. If they’re responding to all who query them, they have little time to act as agents for those they represent. It must be hard for them to come back from vacation.
For writers, however, it is one thing to be rejected. It is another thing altogether to be denied a rejection. To me, having a rejection withheld is far, far worse.
I’ll take that rejection notice every time, thank you.
If you’re a literary agent who happens to read this post, please know how grateful I am to those who take a moment to write a note, personal or not, that says, “No.”
It’s the right thing to do.
The first draft of my query for Black Iron Mercy, minus the personal touches tailored to individual agents
Opinions and critiques are desired from professionals and amateurs
It is okay to be harsh
Imagine your finest moment being ripped from history, rewritten by those who would use your remarkable instant for their own personal gain, forever omitting you and your brethren from the day that defined you as men, as soldiers, as victors.
Black Iron Mercy is a historical novel that follows the life of Arlis Jenkins from his days as a boy in the mining town of Mineral Point, Wisconsin through and beyond his exploits with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, a reputable regiment that served with distinction in the famed Iron Brigade during the American Civil War. I am seeking representation for the manuscript, which is complete at 99,000 words.
Today, 18 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, Arlis doesn’t care about fame. Wanting nothing more than to live in quiet solitude, he is content with putting the war and his troubled past behind him, living the life of a farrier on a livery in small Wisconsin town. But now, a new kind of war arouses him… a war of words, written and spoken by glory seekers and those seeking to make a dollar from the experiences of others, and Arlis realizes that one fight remains: The fight for truth and vindication, accuracy and exoneration.
Told in a series of flashbacks, Black Iron Mercy is a story of love, loss, courage, and the triumph of the human spirit, where every day our champion struggles to hold onto hope.
Black Iron Mercy was inspired by the post-war experiences of Mickey Sullivan, who spent much of his later life correcting false histories. It is for him that I took up this crusade, and it is to him that I owe my gratitude for my enthusiasm. Mickey is one of my principal characters. And although Arlis is fictional, nearly all of the characters that wear the blue suit of the Union Army in my novel were real people. It is a heavy responsibility, using real people in fiction. Because of this, I asked this generation’s foremost expert on the Iron Brigade, Mr. Lance J. Herdegen, author of five books on the subject and the former head of Civil War Studies at Carroll University, to read, edit, and endorse my manuscript. He has done all three.
I write a popular blog with over 2,600 followers at Ericschlehlein.com. Additionally, I wrote the script for “Align on the Colors, Close up on the Colors,” a nine-part documentary on the charge of the Sixth Wisconsin Regiment on the railroad cut at Gettysburg, filmed and narrated in 2013 by Gettysburg Battlefield expert, Frank Marrone Jr. I also manage and edit a Facebook fan page, “The Iron Brigade in Media,” a site that is dedicated to all mediums preserving the memory of that brigade. My second novel, “Working Title,” is in its infancy.
When I’m not writing on subject matter relevant to this project, I’m often copywriting for various websites or speechwriting for local political candidates, for whom I’ve been known to manage campaigns. In my spare time, I provide for my family by working as a firefighter and EMT for the village in which I live.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read my query. I’d love to send you a sample or the entire manuscript, should you be interested in reading further.
It is for us they signed the muster, the ledger, the roll. It is for us they served, they fought, they struggled. It is for us they suffered, they bled, they sacrificed, they died.
Today, it is for them we reflect, we ponder, we display, we honor. It is for them we congregate, we commemorate, we lionize, we appreciate.
God Bless the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may inherit and enjoy the freedoms of this great country.
– Eric Schlehlein
As posted on “The Iron Brigade in Media.” https://www.facebook.com/Ironbrigademedia?ref=hl
LASTING RECOGNITION FOR A LIFE WELL-LIVED AND A JOB WELL-DONE
I visited with my good friend, co-worker, and former tennis partner, Ricke Treleven last Wednesday. Ricke has been fighting a long, painful bout with cancer and is now a resident at Angels Grace in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Ricke has had a positive and profound influence on all that have been a part of his life, and I’d like to share what his friends at WISN Radio have done for him… a truly wonderful and well-earned permanent tribute. Congrats and thank you, Ricke, for being the kind of man that God intended all of us to be.
MY GRATITUDE IS ETCHED IN STONE
My blog has reached the 2000 follower milestone. I am grateful to each and every one of you… and should you stop over at my house anytime soon I’ll have a cold beer or a bottle of Ketel One waiting for you. Seriously, I actually have more than Hamm’s on hand.
Thanks, one and all.
“There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant… and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” – Gen Robert E Lee, Appomattox Court House, VA – April 9, 1865
“On they come, with the old swinging route step and swaying battle flags. In the van, the proud Confederate ensign. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood; men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?” – Maj Gen Joshua L Chamberlain, after receiving the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Chamberlain was clearly moved during the surrender ceremony, causing him to order his men to give the marching salute as the Rebels marched past. Confederate Major General John B Gordon was momentarily stunned, then he and his mount pivoted to face General Chamberlain. Removing his hat, the General and his horse bowed, as one, before Gordon ordered his men to return the salute. This moment marked the beginning of the healing of our nation, and it is my favorite tidbit from all that is our Civil War. Revolutions, failed or not, do not normally end this way. It ranks as one of the most beautiful moments in our history.
This is a re-blog of a story I wrote four years ago and finally blogged in February of last year.
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