This post is for all the writers out there who have lost faith. Whether you're querying or submitting to editors, I hope you read this and feel encouraged, even if it's only a little.
When you read those book deal announcements, or those ecstatic blog and Facebook and Twitter updates, it seems so easy, doesn't it?
, they had an agent.
, they had an editor. Then
, their book was on a shelf. Sometimes we hear about the trials and tribulations behind the book deal. Sometimes we don't. Here is mine, for the entire world to see.
Not many people know that
Some Quiet Place
was on submission for over a year. I'm not sure of the exact number of editors we sent it to, but it was well over twenty. And while every editor had something encouraging and positive to say about it - there were also two very big, very close calls - there were ultimately only rejections.
We've all heard that perseverance is the key to success in this business - pretty much any business - but I'll let you in on a little secret. Starting out, I believed that all it would take was having a good story.
Don't get me wrong, that's a monumental component. But perseverance truly was what got
Some Quiet Place
to this point. If I had stopped querying agents after the discouraging results, I never would have found Beth. If we had pulled the manuscript after all the editor rejections, it wouldn't be making its appearance into the world next summer. We never would have sent it to
editor. This is such a competitive business that it takes a little more than luck and a strong story. It takes a bit of a miracle.
It's amazing to me when I think of how strong my belief was - how strong it became - that this wouldn't happen. I was expecting Beth to e-mail me any day, saying we should start with a new project. I even had a blog post typed up on what it feels like not to sell. It kind of shames me to admit that. I lost faith. Not in my abilities or Beth's, but in the value of the story I had created.
In the beginning, there's always such high hopes. Of course there's nothing wrong with that. I think we should even cling to that feeling for as long as possible. I've also done blog posts on maintaining a firm hold on reality, and that's still true. It's a balance.
The point is this. Don't let those rejections affect how much you care about your characters, your plot, your work. Even if some of the statements in those e-mails are true. Maybe your plot is too complex. Maybe your genre is too saturated. Or whatever else they say. That's not the point. I'll say it again in a different way.
The point is to not let those rejections affect your faith.
There does come a time when you need to set something aside, or go back to the drawing board. It's also up to us if we want to revise and resubmit. But maybe that time isn't now. Maybe you haven't found the right agent, or the right editor, and all it takes is one more e-mail. One more try. One more hope.
That's what it was for me.
And I'm so glad we took that chance.