So, you’ve heard about writers sending out queries to dozens of agents and receiving dozens of rejections. Rejection is part of the getting published gig. And not just dozens of rejections—I don’t even want to say how many I received over the course of nearly four years. I sent my first STORY FOR A SHIPWRIGHT query in December of ’08 and received my last rejection in August this year. I won’t say how many—lets just round down to 200. And it wasn’t that my query wasn’t strong (okay, probably my first 25-50 were terrible!) or the story was awful. I received an encouraging amount of requests for partials and my full manuscript with a lot of very positive feedback—just no takers. The problem? The market; that and my story didn’t fall into a tidy genre. I was told “this kind of well-made novel is almost impossible to sell in this horrible market”...“especially in these recessionary times. It's that old thing about deserving to be published, but not yet being published.”
Yeah, it’s been really discouraging. I can’t say that it didn’t undermine my feelings about my novel and my writing abilities—I wondered if all the disappointment and battered self-esteem was worth it. Yet, it seemed that with all the time I had invested, I should follow through on my plan—if I’ve lacked in skill and knowledge of how the industry works and what genres are ‘salable’, I do make up for it in persistence. A large part of me feels the need to follow through once I’ve made a commitment. I’ve always maintained that I will publish one way or the other, and I’ll be proud of that. If nothing else, I know that we writers are a rare breed that combines imagination with commitment and courage. That’s a pretty cool distinction!
My motto has become: Just keep moving forward—and whatever you do, don’t look down!
This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Group, sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh.