This post is my chance to say the things I need to hear. I am not insane — although it is possible I have issues that need resolving. This is my experiment to share my writer fears and gather other writers’ fears so we can bask in the ridiculous things we think/say in our quest for publication.
FEAR: 1. Your manuscript isn’t good enough.
ANSWER: Of course it isn’t good enough now. But it will be eventually. The more time you spend putting yourself down the longer you’ll waste having to pick yourself up in order to be in the right mind-frame to write.
The easy solution? Quit being dramatic and write. And re-write. That’s the only way your manuscript will improve.
2. You’ll never make it. Why do you try?
You’ll make it one day, Bec. Seriously, if you query 101 agents, one or some may say yes. If not, try the biggest publishers first that accept unsolicited submissions. Next, try the mi-list ones if you think they can do a better job at selling than you can.
Thanks Mum, Nanna, and Rachelle Ayala by the way
3. I will break Darcie Chan’s record of 100+ agent rejections.
This is possible. I won’t sugar coat it. But Bec, didn’t you read that Kimberley Derting received a manuscript request THREE hours after she sent an email?
God! Stop being pessimistic.
Remember that Lauren Kate, #1 NYT bestselling author, received 100+ rejections before she was published. She told you this when she signed a copy of her novel for you at Target.
Kathryn Stockett gave querying one last try with #61. Only then did she receive a “yes”.
I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that this could be something you can wave around at agents, publishers and readers in the future. Something like “I received 200 rejections and now my novel has sold one million copies!” See? You can dream, Bec.
4. You’ll embarrass yourself by publishing your manuscript; there’ll always be holes and errors.
Come on. You’re really going to be that ridiculous? Every book has errors! I’m talking typos (remember that cooking book that printed “black people” instead of “black pepper” and the print run had to be pulped?) as well as plot issues.
No one is immune. It happens to bestsellers as well as the books that go unnoticed. The trick is to dissect and re-write your manuscript to the best of your ability and that’s all you or anyone can ask for.
As a side note, please know I wouldn’t have answered your stupid questions if I realised earlier you were going to be this ridiculously look-at-me-I’m-a-depressed-writer.
5. Quit your fantasy and spend your time doing something constructive (money earning).
Okay, before I scream at you think about what you just said … go on, think.
You silly girl! You would have quit on day two if you didn’t want to do this. Not after you’ve spent 1 year and 9 months on your WIP novel, not after you enrolled in Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing at Box Hill Institute to improve your craft, not after finding a few critique partners to pick out issues in your manuscript, not after you re-wrote your WIP novel 10 times … urgh! I could go on forever.
Quitting isn’t possible. Okay, maybe it is. Sure, not breathing and not eating ever again are possible too but you wouldn’t survive long.
Come on, now. You were born to be a writer. That urge doesn’t go away. You’ll only satisfy it once you’re published.
Even then, the desire will grow and continue to grow.
Thank you for listening to my spiel. I find my family and writing friends are too kind to me. The only one who was going to give myself that kind of slap-back-in-line was me.
For interested readers, that was the censored version. Please visit me at ## Xxxxx Avenue Xxxxxx ####, Victoria, Australia to see my diary entry — which is uncensored in all its glory.
As usual the mic is over to you. Comment with your writer fear then annihilate yourself for your dramatic/irrational/embarrassing fears.
- A query letter is dissected — QueryDice #31 (slushpiletales.wordpress.com)
- “What do you mean?” — Finding hidden treasures in a rejection letter (behlerblog.com)
- 4 Ways to Hook Your Readers & Keep Them Wanting More (jodyhedlund.blogspot.com.au)