An author is someone who sits down at their word processor, opens a vein, and bleeds a part of themselves into a work of fiction. After such a personal relationship with a piece, the writer is usually satisfied (to some degree) that their work reads well and conveys a strong emotional voice.
And then they’re rejected. Agents, editors, the random guy on the street…you get the idea. Suddenly, their work doesn’t seem all that sparkly and fresh. In fact, it reminds them more of their essay in seventh grade about their summer vacation. This leads to…
“Who told me I could write?”
“I have no talent.”
“They’ll be sorry when I’m the next (insert famous author)!”
“Why can’t they at least send feedback?”
…and then they curl up in the fetal position, ride out the pain, and start something new. Nobody can shake their head at this process, because nobody can offer a surefire way to get a piece published (and if you can, email me immediately.)
I finally finished a full length novel last year. My friends read it, strangers read it, all gave decent reviews for the book. So, I sent out the query letters and the first five pages and the synopsis and my first born child. Whatever they asked for, I prepared and sent off however they wanted it sent. All fifty of them.
Fourteen rejections later, I began reviewing my book and query letter. After three months without any new emails, I realized the other thirty-six weren’t gracing me with a reply.
I didn’t write for a long time, thinking there must be something wrong with the way I wrote. I should give it up, I thought morosely. It was a serious pity party for one.
But then, I started getting itchy. (And creams didn’t work.) At first, I didn’t realize what the incessant niggling meant. What did I want?
I wanted to write.
I wanted to dream with my eyes wide open.
I wanted to paint worlds and characters using nothing but the written word.
Now, I’m working on my new novel, The Nowhere Gate, and feel as confident in it as I did the last one I finished. As an aspiring author, just remember that seventy percent of getting published is luck. The person who reads what you send them is a person, with their own tastes — and sometimes that’s the only reason they pass. It could be any number of reasons.
It’s going to be a tough road to publication and each rejection will feel like a stranger calling your baby ugly, but you’ll never stop. Because, first and foremost, you write because you want to write. A bird doesn’t fly to suit the other birds and neither should you. Write for love.