Discarded pizza boxes are an excellent source of cheese

If you’ll remember, I was waiting on an agent to get back to me after she requested a full manuscript some months ago. It was my fourth full request ever. She turned it down the other day, and I’ve been wondering how to feel about it. No one likes getting rejected, but I thought I’d grown used to it. After a few days, however, it’s wearing on me.

Many times, I’ve gotten past the query to the sample pages. Many times, those sample pages have gotten past the assistant to the agent. Four times, that agent has requested a full. And every single time, I’ve been turned down. Most of my rejections have been form letters. Some were very personal. One was handwritten. The personal letters were glowing. Unique voice. Clever style. Wonderful dialogue. But…but…but…no. They didn’t bother to get specific about the no. I understand why. They told the truth as much as they could. My stories didn’t grab them, and one cannot edit on that kind of info. If my story grabbed me, and if it grabbed those in my various circles who read it, then I can’t make it any more grabby. They say that all you need is one yes, but I haven’t found my grabbee yet.

I feel so…fingernails about the whole thing. Which is a weird feeling, I know. But I’m clinging. Sometimes I feel like I’m sooooo close, that I’m hanging inches away from that elusive yes. Blame it on the economy, blame it on e-books, blame it on the state of publishing today. Blame, blame, blame, there’s lots of it to go around. There’s lots of encouragement on the web, but there’s lots of reality, too. I read, keep trying, but I also read, maybe you’re not good enough. Maybe I haven’t written the best book yet, maybe that’s my current project, or the one after that, or the one after that. Maybe I should accept defeat and become an organ grinder, or an organ donor. I hear that some hospitals pay for plasma. If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be… I can’t finish. If it weren’t for my wonderful husband who believes people should follow their dreams when they can, I’d probably be homeless, hence the title of this post.

Good but not great? Maybe that’s where I am. I can’t find anything lacking in my manuscripts. I believe they are as good as I can make them at this point in my life. Don’t fear for me. I’ll keep writing, and I’m not looking for pity. I just wanted to share. And of course, I want to hear from you. To all those aspiring authors, do you ever feel fingernails about this process? And to all you published authors, how long did you have to hang there?

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4 thoughts on “Discarded pizza boxes are an excellent source of cheese

  1. Barbara, yes. I have felt this way often. How can we not question our own abilities when we continue to get the no from the publishing gods?

    I believe in myself and I believe that if I work hard enough, learn enough and am willing to remove my pride from the process, I will eventually get there.

    I hope I’m not smoking crack with this ideal, but I’m not yet ready to retract my claws and fall from the ranks of as yet unpubbed to a failed writer.

    Best luck as you go through the process. : )

  2. Yeah, I know you’re not looking for pity, so I’m not going to give it. But I want to get personal for a second and tell you that yours is some of the best writing I’ve ever read, unpublished or published. Feeling fingernails is fine. Just don’t start looking for a day job, you’ve got one. You know, maybe it is this one you’re working on. Maybe it’s Signal in a year. Maybe it’s Paladin’s in two.

    It’s funny because, I feel like looking for a publisher/agent can sometimes be like looking for love. And maybe that is how they view looking for the right book. Maybe it has to be that perfect connection before they can commit. Everyone has their own true publisher out there, B, you just have to wait until you find him/her.

    😛 in the mean time, reflect on the fact that many non-publishers have fallen in true love with your stories already.

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