NO. A Word Not to be Feared, Emu Ink Founder, Emer Cleary



SO you’ve quite literally spent the last few years on your precious manuscript. Writing and rewriting, ripping up and tearing out. Changing and changing back.

And all of a sudden there is nothing more you can do. It’s time to send it out.

Your biggest fear? Rejection. The word NO.

Get used to it is all I will say. But don’t curl up in a ball, crying your eyes out and wiping your tears away with pages one through to fifty. In the first instance be prepared, and by this I mean do your homework, as well as accept that it is part and parcel of the submission process.

The first step, is to remind yourself that NO is an absolute given when sending your copy out for consideration, certainly within the traditional route. The second, and perhaps the most important thing to remember, is that NO can be your friend.

Up until the early noughties, traditional publishing was the only real option for daydreaming authors, mentally picturing their polished-to-perfection prose on the bookshelf. These days, however, the playing field is wide open.

The dawn of self-publishing brought about the ability for writers of all types to get their work out there, without the painful rejection process and the lengthy waits that preceded that. All of a sudden a person could write what they liked, how they liked, and offer it up for whomever chose to read/take a chance on it. Quite quickly it changed the face of publishing, having a huge impact on the traditional market, and took it in an entirely different direction.

But it didn’t take long for it to be realised that, although a revolutionary idea, it has its flaws. Bad writing, poor grammar and non-existent external editing, proofing and design does not a best-seller make.

For so much of it, it’s fair to say, somebody needed to say NO.

As with all industries, however, when there is a niche it will eventually be filled. Step up the self-publishing company. Independent houses offering (often limited by cost), but professional editing and design services. The idea being, that if you are willing to put your money where your mouth is, if you believe passionately enough in what you have written, then you will get it professionally edited and designed before it is then, guaranteed published.

Still not a sign of NO.

Enter the Assisted Publishing option. Bridging the gap between the two aforementioned options, it’s a whole new world. One that provides a full editing, design and promotional service but only takes an author’s manuscript on when it believes that it has potential.

Over the past couple of years, since Emu Ink started taking submissions, one of the biggest misconceptions of assisted publishing has been people thinking that if you are willing to pay the fee, you will undoubtedly be published.


Our mission is to bring new writing to the forefront. To create a platform for exceptional work to be showcased – somewhere it will be given the time and dedication it deserves. The writer, the most important person in this process as far as we are concerned, still has the power to decide to take the process into their own hands, like with self-publishing, but has the weight of a reputable publisher behind him/her. One that said YES when it could have said NO.

Because what good does it do to say yes for the sake of it?

NO leaves little to the imagination and, if taken in the spirit that it’s meant (i.e. for the writer’s own sake) it can be learned from.

Without NO a writer, who has no chance of selling might falsely believe he/she has. A writer, who has a half decent idea, might think he’s written a masterpiece and be unwilling to change any of it. But most important of all, without NO, a writer with a fantastic book that just needs some extra work, might give himself less of a chance with it by simply being allowed to publish as is.

It is very important to us to be able to say NO, out of respect for you and your work.

Because NO keeps a writer grounded. NO with feedback gives a writer direction and NO, with a little encouragement gives a writer hope…

Ultimately, then, NO gives a much greater respect for what it means when a writer gets that YES.