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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > June 2017 > PROJECT failure

PROJECT failure

What do you do when a project fails through no fault of your own? Simon Whaley asks three writers how they pick up the pieces.

I was convinced the commission was mine. A publisher wanted a book about banking for their humorous, multi-million-copy selling series. I’d pitched the outline. The publisher loved it. All I had to do was write the opening chapter, demonstrating I could write it in their house style, and the job was mine. I submitted the sample within a week. 24 hours later, I had the decision: No.

What had I done wrong? Nothing. The publisher loved my sample chapter. However, another author, who’d pitched that topic several months earlier but had not been in touch with the publisher since, submitted their sample chapter on the same day as me. The publisher felt obligated to commission the other author.

In the business of writing, projects can fail through no fault of our own, and it’s gut-wrenching when the rug gets pulled like this. But today’s failure can become tomorrow’s success.

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