You may or may not know (or care) that I’ve spent the last two years self-publishing a series as Marci Boudreaux–my sweeter self. I chose to self-publish because in the span of just a few months, three–THREE–indie houses I was with closed and left me with rights to almost all my books.
I didn’t want to deal with that again, so I ventured into self-publishing. And I loved it, but it is a lot of work and there isn’t that feeling of acceptance that comes with having a publisher (even a small one) believe in your writing. Recently, I decided to try my hand at the submissions game again.
And I immediately remembered why I hate this effing game.
Rejection is the real name of this game. Constant, unwavering, soul-crushing rejection. If you are lucky, you get a kind word to go with the form letter…if you get a form letter at all. Many editors and agents just don’t respond if they aren’t interested, leaving you hanging on to a thread of hope that they just haven’t read your manuscript yet and will be reaching out at any moment to tell you that you are brilliant!
After a recent string of rejections from agents and publishers, I confided in a friend that I feel like maybe this isn’t “my path.” Like maybe, I’m not cut out for this after all. I have thick skin, I know rejection is the norm and acceptance is the high we authors are addicted to and always seeking. I know all this.
But I guess I’d forgotten out hard it is to hear “no” ten times in a row and keep believing in yourself.
That sounds pouty, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. Maybe I am pouting just a little (maybe even a lot), but bear with me. That’s also part of this process we authors go through. Rejection stings. Even when you are prepared, even when it is part of the game, even when you know you should wear it as a badge of honor to prove that you’ve tried.
But we have to keep believing that we are talented. That if we keep working hard maybe more people will buy our books. That someday a big publisher or agent will see that we do have something to offer.
I’ve asked myself more than once during this particular rejection cycle why I keep going. Why do I keep banging my head against this wall?
Because I believe in myself. Because I know I’m talented. I know I have something to offer my readers–even if I haven’t found the right agent or publisher–I have wonderful readers who always say nice things when I meet them at book events or chat with them online.
Maybe I won’t ever be rich or famous or even more than moderately successful, but I have to keep trying. Because this is my path. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. And I’ll keep walking it until I get to the end.
I just hope that end isn’t another brick wall to bang my head against.