A week ago I sent off the first few query emails to Literary Agents about my novel. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.
The reason being that for the most part when you start the submission process you are setting yourself up for failure – for rejection.
Literary Agents receive on average hundreds of submissions per week. Your query letter is just one of many, and the likelihood is that the Agent is going to give it the most cursory of reads before putting it on the reject pile. It’s often not about the quality of the work – just simply that they have so many submissions to read that they have to make their decision in the first sentence of a query, and if that sentence isn’t perfect it’s over – in that single second.
Here’s my problem. I don’t deal with rejection well – not when it comes to writing and not in the rest of my life. I take it personally – oh so very personally. A single rejection letter (and the first few of them have already landed in my inbox) has me assuming the worst, that my work simply isn’t good enough, that I don’t have what it takes.
So I have to steal myself to send out the emails in the first place, and I have to force myself to accept the rejections when they come in for what they are. That at this moment for whatever reason my novel is not what that particular agent is looking for. I have to keep the faith, somehow, that the book I’ve written is actually good. That I am a good writer and that there are people out there who do want to read my book.
And I am. A good writer, I mean. Perhaps not necessarily in this format (I mostly just have a kind of word vomit thing going on) but when it comes to my books I tell a good story, and I write them well. That isn’t ego talking, that’s research. I read on average a book a day, every day. I know what’s out there, and I know what is selling, and a lot of times when I read a book I know that if writing of that standard can get published then mine certainly can.
So it simply comes down to taking the risk – the risk of rejection. I have to open myself up to that rejection, accept it, and move on to the next agent, the next publisher. I know that somewhere out there is an agent who is going to love THE LAST KNIGHT, who is going to read it and know that they want to sell it.
I have to keep that faith. Because if I didn’t I would just give up and stop writing, and I can’t do that. I can’t give up. I can’t give up on the only dream I have.
So I’ll take the risk and keep my fingers crossed that the universe will give me the break I’m looking for.