For those of us who naturally adopt a positive approach to life, there are occasions such as the flashes of blue lights in your rearview mirror, facing emergency surgery or, perish the thought, submitting your query to seek publication that the bravest of us find daunting. As writers we appreciate rejection is part of the process; a process we are forced to repeat again and again. “Thank you for your query, but unfortunately you write like a third grader,” is enough to dampen even the perpetually cheerful Elmo’s spirits. This actual sentiment was sent as a rejection to a friend of mine. It’s almost enough to make me slide my manuscript under the bed trusting my favorite heir to unearth it and carry on my dream (once bequeathed in my will). Almost; but then I did some research.
Put off by the intimidating obstacle course to publication? You are not alone. Frankly, thirty-eight experts didn’t give a damn about Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind before number thirty-nine decided to give it a shot. Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook, was rejected by twenty-four literary agencies; the thought alone could bring me to tears. And try to fathom Twilight; Stephenie Meyer was rejected by fourteen consecutive agencies before one brave soul let the rest of us into her world of fascinating vampires and werewolves.
I don’t intend to imply publishers and literary agents are clueless masochists without concern for our work. On the contrary, they keep their thumb firmly on the pulse of the industry and know precisely wheat they are looking for.
Unpubs, be brave on the bumpy road to publication. Channel your inner Doberman, knowing persistence can pave the way from writer to author. Embrace those inspirational words of Winston Churchill as your mantra. “Never, never, never give in.”