386,196 (estimated-but close)
Number of words I’ve written over the last four years.
Total number of manuscripts queried
Total days in the query trenches (UGH!)
Number of times people told me it, “It only takes one yes.”
Number of times I wanted to scream when I heard above saying.
Why am I sharing this? Because when I was in the query trenches the last thing I wanted to hear about was that elusive “yes” waiting for me. After so many rejections, those words, while said with good intentions, lost their meaning. Now I want to swallow back every one of those screams, and give a huge bear hug to each person who said that to me, because they were right.
Here’s the reality of it all. Each query sent, and rejection received, feels like a small stab in the heart. After a while you begin to believe it will NEVER happen for you. That magical email will NEVER appear in your inbox. As someone once aptly posted, “you’ll never get to join the adults table where all the agented and/or published writers sit.”
Well I’m here to tell you, you are WRONG!
I’m not saying your “yes” is going to happen tomorrow. Or next week. Or even next year. But I truly believe if you keep writing. Improving your craft. Connecting with other writers. Letting new critique partners look at your work. IT will happen one day. I’m a living testament to that.
There were so many times I wanted to give up. Querying felt like a roller coaster. In one day I got FIVE full requests. A week later, guess what? FIVE rejections. And then guess what happened? One of my critique partners signed with an agent. Then a few days later, another got a book deal. What did I do? I celebrated with them. Sent them virtual hugs. I was so happy for them. But when the celebrations were over, I cried and then screamed. I even wanted to toss my laptop in the dumpster. It wasn’t that I was angry or jealous, I just wanted my own “yes.”
How did I get through it? I kept writing. Pushing myself to try new things. Going to conferences. Making connections in publishing. Working, writing, and sharing all my hopes and fears on this blog. All of it I believe contributed to me connecting with an agent.
Yes, it’s true. You’ll hear stories about people writing one manuscript, sending two queries, and getting an agent. But I’m here to tell you, that is NOT REALITY. Research some of your favorite authors. You’ll see how often they were rejected. Learn how many times, even if they were agented, their books didn’t sell. Find out some are on their second or even third agent. What separates them from other aspiring authors? They NEVER gave up. They kept writing. But most of all they kept believing their “yes” was in the shadows waiting for the right time to appear.
So if you’re in the trenches right now, or pulling back after an unsuccessful push, take a deep breath. Even step away from the computer if need be and think about your goals. Can you live each and every day without expressing yourself via writing? If so, then maybe it’s time to stop. But if you get up every morning itching to touch the keyboard, new characters begging you to bring them to life, then get back to work. Continue planning and plotting. Keep believing your “yes” is coming. You just have to put your head down, focus on your goal, and most of all keep writing!