Wall of shame

Everything gets filtered by something. Rainwater striking the earth alters its course as it travels through soil or rock. Information gets sifted and sorted to weed out the appearance of impropriety. Truths are spun by doctors to reveal characteristics best suited for their intentions. The purpose of life is as complex or as simple as we choose to make it.

What should be done in response to receiving rejections like these:

Dear
Dan,

Thank you for your
email. I’m sorry to say that for the foreseeable future we are not accepting any
new manuscripts for publication.

and

Hi Dan
Well, I’ve looked through what you sent, well written and clear personal
engagement, it is clearly a worthy venture and I wish you well with publishing
it. As we’re not taking on new authors i couldn’t consider it anyway but if we
were I’d probably want the ‘worksheets’ aspect changed, I’m not convinced people
like to write in and fill in forms, etc on books they buy.
Good luck!

and

Hello Dan-
Although your website is intriguing and I know that you are doing excellent
work, we are not taking on any projects at this time. I wish you all success in
getting your much-needed information out there.
Thanks so much for considering us,

and

Dear Dan,

Sorry I misinterpreted your first eMail. I’ve quickly read your caregiver’s guide and it has many great ideas in it. I read it from the perspective of having recently gone through a cancer experience myself.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2008 and have had 4 surgeries since, but believe that I am cancer free now. My husband and I would probably benefit from some of your suggestions (although he was a wonderful companion on the journey).

Your website/blog also has a lot of really good stuff in it. There is definitely a need out there for this sort of material. The key to being most useful, I think, is making sure that you have key words that will get found by web searches. It doesn’t hurt for big organizations to link to you either (e.g., The American Cancer Society, AARP, Hospice organizations, etc.). These tools should be available in every hospital where cancer is treated and should be available to support groups that form in them.
 
The sincerity of your voice comes through loud and clear in the manual, and I’d hate to lose that, but to be honest, I think it would benefit from a bit of editing. The story doesn’t always come out in a linear fashion with all the details (for example, when you talk about the places you lived and the challenges and support you found there, it isn’t always clear what you mean). You could also include the web addresses of some big organizations where people might find links to smaller organizations that would help them in their area.

and

Dear
Mr. Zeorlin;

Thank
you for your observations.  We will not be able to help you with your manual, as
we are publishers, not experts in the field of care
giving.

and

Dan,

I’m sorry but I just
can’t take this on.  I’m not the right resource for you and am managing my time
pretty tightly to keep things in balance.

Best of luck in finding
the right person.

The feeling of inadequacy has a universal understanding. I had the same worries when Linda asked me to be her caregiver.

Self-publishing and uploading information to a web site carries an awesome responsibility. Effectively everyone gets a say in shaping truth but not all give it voice. On the flip side is nobody guarantees your voice will be heard. This era of instant gratification may give way to slow and deliberate improvements but we’ve got to be patient with progress.

Your reactions to becoming a caregiver may be different. My proposals were not good enough to serve the interests of some professionals yet my offer was just the right thing for Linda. I organized custom caregiving tools to help with delivery of improved care. Not better care; better delivery. You’re still responsible to give care but now you have help with becoming more efficient. Think of collaboration like a chance to front-load hindsight. Anticipate the causes of grief and do your best now to ensure life is better than it would have been had you not acted. That’s how we learn to cope with things we absolutely, positively cannot change.

Click here to ****<eMail MLBerg>***** and request a preliminary copy of the Caregiver’s Manual for Men (CMfM).

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