The Importance of Being Kind

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on

A strange coincidence occurred this week. Three things happened, all around the same time and all with the same theme.

First, I submitted my manuscript to a literary agent for the first time. I say ‘first time’ because, I understand from other authors, rejection is par for the course on this career path. I recently read a social media post from someone who has had her book rejected by 130 agents. I didn’t even know there were that many. 

I’m sure the agent I have selected has read many great books, and can tell me exactly what could be better about mine, which is a little scary. So for the last few days, I’ve been hoping, rather a lot, that she will be kind.

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The second thing to happen was an email arriving in my inbox from, asking me to review the book I have just finished reading, ‘A Deadly Brew’ by Susanna Gregory. I was interested to see what other readers thought of it, so I read a few of the reviews already on the website – and then wished I hadn’t.

There were some scathing comments about the complexity of the plot and the high number of victims in the story, but since Susanna has had a further 20 books published in the same series after this volume, there must be many readers who enjoyed those characteristics, and plenty of other aspects.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t give honest feedback – far from it, but we can express our personal preferences without framing a thing we dislike as somehow ‘wrong’, and it’s OK to lead with what we did like, too. It is possible to be both honest and kind, simultaneously.

It was when the third thing happened that I started thinking the universe was trying to tell me something. A writer I follow on Twitter posted a quote from TV host Conan O’Brien:

“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen”.

There’s kindness making an appearance again. 

Well, I’m always up for amazing things so I’m willing to give it a try. And if you could send me some positive thoughts that might help me stop worrying about the 130 rejections scenario, or what the next review of my book might say, that would be – sorry, had to do it – really kind!

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4 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Kind

  1. Hello Deborah, lovely post. I love the quote by Conan O’Brien. There seems to be a trend in deriving pleasure from another’s pain or downfall. It’s easy to tear someone or something down. It takes strength and compassion to be kind. Kindness doesn’t always mean everyone will like you, but the manner in which an opinion is stated can make all the difference. As for rejections, I’m impressed that you 1) finished your piece and 2) that you submitted it for review. So many of us writers never get that far. Already you are inspiring! Second, some of the greatest writers have been rejected many times over. If you need some comfort, here’s a link to some of the most rejected books of all times. Best of luck to you!


  2. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me
    of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will
    have a good read. Thank you for sharing!


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