• Sofiya Pasternack

Getting Schooled | My Hardest Learned Lesson in Publishing

Take the L, Sofiya

I like to tell my kids, and my patients, that you never lose. You either win or you learn.

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If you're wondering whether I'm aware of how annoying that is, the answer is Yes! I am aware! But it's an annoying mantra that is nevertheless accurate. There are several studies out there that demonstrate the power of positive thinking. Not any "The Secret" kind of thing, but priming brains to expect a certain outcome, and then interpreting events as congruent with that outcome.

Brains are neat!

So if you approach life with an "I don't lose; I win or I learn" attitude, then you will begin to interpret events in that way. I didn't win? Okay, well what did I learn? It can be "I learned how to play chess better" or it can be "I learned that Dave cheats at chess." Either way, you're turning that loss into a learn.

(For the record, you don't have to lose in order to learn! You can win and learn, too!)

In this post, we'll go through these things:


Critical Reviews



We've all experienced our fair share of rejection in publishing, haven't we? There are even clubs of people who will celebrate when they get 50, 100, 500, etc, rejections! Because getting 50 rejections means that you tried 50 times! And if you come at this with a "win or learn" mentality, that means you've had 50 opportunities to learn something.

What can we learn from rejection?

  1. Is your manuscript marketable right now?

  2. Is your writing at the level you need it to be?

  3. Do you need to workshop more?

  4. Does your query letter need tweaking?

  5. Did you submit to the right agents?

And so on! Learn, learn, learn.

Stephen King's adage of "get a bigger nail" is spot-on. He used t