Moving on from rejection

Reject RejectionI often find it hard to bring together two of the mantras that help me to stay motivated in the face of rejection. The first is: ‘If my work is good enough, it will sell itself’ and the second is that ‘agents and publishers aren’t the only road to publishing success’. As you can see, the problem becomes the incongruence between believing that my work is good enough to be published, but also believing that agents and publishers aren’t necessarily the ones to decide if this is the case. They are meant to be the professionals, so if they spot something incredible, wouldn’t they be crazy to turn it down? I feel like this idea ate away at me a bit, and led me to think that Times of Trouble perhaps wasn’t good enough. But then I got all these fantastic reviews when I posted it online, and literally thousands of people have downloaded it. So I wonder how it is possible for this to have happened if it is truly as crap as the agents and publishers appear to think it is.

One way that some writers deal with rejection from agents and publishers is to remind themselves of the famous authors who have also battled in the same trenches and come out on top. On a writing tips website, I found a list of famous books rejected multiple times by agents and publishers. Some of the ones I have myself used as inspiration to keep going are: JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, rejected 9 times by major UK publishing houses (though she did get an agent very quickly who was the one approaching publishers), Carrie by Stephen King – rejected 30 times and Chicken Soup for the Soul, by Jack Canfeld and Mark Victor Hansen – rejected 140 times. I don’t know how Jack and Mark managed to keep going through 140 rejections – they are braver than I am!

I am a massive Harry Potter fan and I can’t for the life of me imagine how a manuscript assessor could read even a page of Rowling’s proposal and not recognise the amazing opportunity in their hands. No doubt they are all kicking themselves now. Perhaps they were too busy to really give it the time of day? They had too many other projects they were concentrating on? Their current author list was ‘full’?

There is no doubt that there is an element of luck in the agent and publishing game, and perhaps sometimes it is about having the right connections. Already being a celebrity before you are an author. Being in the right place at the right time. Having the exact product they are looking for, at the exact time they are looking for it. I have still set myself the challenge to overcome any and all of these obstacles. Conspire  is still a work in progress, but after a long discussion on the weekend with my editing buddy and plotting coach (mum), I really have a lot of hope that people are going to read Conspire and have trouble putting it down. Hope is a wonderful thing!

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