1 Down, 139 Still to Go

survive

At 2:10 AM Wednesday morning, I officially finished writing the first draft of Prism World, and I was so excited that I celebrated by doing something I have never done before: I submitted a query to an agent.

Now before I go any further, I have to clarify something. A couple months ago, I decided to get really brave and I swore that once I finished Prism World I would send off query letters to exactly 5 agents. If they all turned me down, I would self-publish. It was that simple.

To be honest, I have never actually believed that I could get an agent within 5 tries. My decision was not based in pride. It was the fact that I really am unsure I want to let the story go.

You hear it all the time from authors of all sorts of writing types. Writing projects are our babies, and the last thing we want to do is let them go. That’s me.

However, I hear people all around me saying, “You should try to get professionally published.” And frankly, I think that would be great, too. But to be a writer in the real world, one needs to be thick-skinned. I thought my skin was tough enough, but today I discovered that it could definitely be thicker.

I kind of expected the email I received today. It was the typical “Thank you for your submission but we aren’t interested” sort of message that I’ve read about on hundreds of writers’ sites since I first became interested in the publishing world 6 years ago. But expecting it didn’t make it any easier to read.

In the age of technology, self-publishing means that writers no longer have to feel the pain of receiving that all-too-common rejection letter that our spiritual forebears had to endure. While I can’t speak for other writers, I’ll be honest on this score. Self-publishing has made me lazy. Why go through the trouble of looking up hundreds of agents (or publishers) and risk rejection when I could just publish it myself?

There is a lot of talk about self-publishing these days. Some are all for moving straight into self-publishing. Others defend the need for writing agents and professional publishing houses. The jury is still out as far as I’m concerned.

It was hard to read that rejection letter. Harder still because I wasn’t sure if it was because I honestly didn’t have a story they were interested in or if it was simply that I wrote a bad query letter. I’ve read blogs and websites where agents post examples of how not to write a query letter and I cringe at the thought that mine might show up on one of those sites some day in the near future. But as with all things, the only way to learn is to try. And try I did.

There are many lists full of books, bestsellers even, that were rejected multiple times before they were printed. My favorite example is Chicken Soup for the Soul. The site that I read stated that Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 140 times before it was published. So hey, what’s one rejection letter to me?

I’m still egotistical enough to believe that Prism World is worth reading, and everyone who has read any of it seems to agree with me, which gives me confidence. Whether the publishing world believes that or not in the end, though, only time can tell. I’ll just have to keep trying.

1 down, 139 still to go.

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