Friday, December 11, 2009

Ready to Throw In the Towel?

Yesterday wasn't the best of days. An agent who had requested my full manuscript finally got back to me after nearly six months. The response? "Thanks, but no thanks." While it was a good rejection as far as rejections go - she said I was a good writer, at least - it still made me sigh with frustration.

The marketplace is very, very tight right now. This is the second agent who has had the full manuscript
who has told me that while she likes the book, she doesn't think she can sell it in this market. Since my books are set in America during WWII, I'm pretty sure that has something to do with it. I think publishers are banking on projects that have a history of selling - and what is hot right now is not WWII America, unfortunately. I could be wrong...

Five minutes after I got this email, I got another rejection. This was only on a query, but it still stung.

What's a girl to do?

Well, after much gnashing of teeth and a longing for a whole bag of Dove chocolate, I decided that I can't quit writing what I love. It's that simple. Right now is the time to write for the joy of it. It's time to hunker down and wait out this dip in the marketplace.

And you know what? That takes some of the pressure off right there. Writing for the sheer joy of it, regardless of if it sells, is what we should all be doing anyway. That's an incredibly hard mindset to get into, but if you achieve it, you're golden.

Here's hoping I can keep this mindset and keep churning out the words. For a brief moment, I thought, I'm done. But then I realized that even if I never sell a book, I'll still keep writing. That's who I am.


  1. That's such a great and important realization, Melissa, and you're wise to own it. And share with the rest of us! Well done, lady.

    Have a great weekend!


  3. Love your attitude! I believe it will take you far in this industry. Check out Cindy Wilson's blog today- it will give you some added encouragement.

  4. A great attitude and a very wise one. I worked several years on getting my grandfather's memoir published and wrote the prologue and epilogue, and I eventually got it published with a university press (University of Nebraska, actually!). So don't give up, either writing or sending it out. I want to read it, for one thing! You might try to UK presses too.

  5. Keep writing, Melissa. Remember too that you're setting a wonderful example for your beautiful daughter, showing her how to follow a passion, to journey with it down different avenues, keeping it in your life :)

  6. It's still only 2 rejections. When you've had hundreds and hundreds of rejections, when you've done the rounds twice over, agents AND publishers, then it might be worth thinking about doing something else. I have had so many people ask for the full of Night Crawler. So far they've all still rejected it. Maybe it's rubbish, maybe they really can't sell new stuff in the current climate.

    You keep writing what you love to write. It'll find a home eventually, and if they all do say no, if you truly believe in your work, self publishing no longer has the stigma it used to and is no longer frowned upon.

  7. Hugs to you for having such a frustrating time, though I do agree with everything you said. I keep writing because I love it too.

  8. That's right lady! When the market finally swings around, just think how far ahead you'll be with your finished products. :)

  9. I hate days like that. And it always seems to come in multiples for me too. It's so hard to adjust to my daily life after i open one of those emails. it casts a pall on the entire day. Yuck. Big cyber hug.

  10. I'm glad you're sticking it through. I prefer to think of rejections like a counter. Let's say you set yourself a goal of 100. It will take 100 rejections before you get that approval. Each one is just a checkmark. And if it happens before 100? BONUS! If not? You reevaluate your goals. You don't have to go by my numbers, I just find it helps me.

    I'm so glad you know who you are and that you're not giving up. You're a wise, wonderful person. Hang in there!

  11. You are exactly where I am right now. Oh, sure, I have an agent, but who's offered to publish? I feel so liberated since I recognized that it isn't the reason I write. We can only do it from love, from the sheer joy in our abilities. Screw the Fates if we don't sell our Wonders. Their loss, I say.

    Oh, and one more thing: what's hot now is NOT what will be hot in a year or more, the time needed for a book to be published and to reach book stores. These agents must be very short on vision.

    Melissa, celebrate your amazing talent. You're so much smarter and classier than the agents you're dealing with.

  12. I think writing what you love really is key...otherwise, your heart just isn't in it. Like so many others, eventually you will find the right editor/agent who'll want your book because it speaks from deep inside you.

  13. Pssst... you just got "tagged" on my blog. You are welcome to play along, or ignore it as you see fit.


  14. Most of the people I knew when I first started writing aren't writing any more. They tried it out, but it didn't capture them enough to make the downsides bearable.

    The only reason to write is because we love writing. When bad news comes, I give myself a set period of time to be down or upset or mad. And then that's it. Back to the writing, which makes it all worthwhile.

  15. Oh, Melissa, I SOOOO understand. I racked up five years worth of rejection letters for my WWII trilogy. I kept hearing the same thing - historicials weren't selling, especially historicals set in WWII. Then the market flipped - historicals are big again, and SOME of the publishers are even taking a chance on WWII - one even took a chance on me! (God bless Revell!) Keep researching the publishers and keep writing! This is obviously your passion, so don't try to chase the market. I sure hope someone takes a chance on you too someday - because I love to read this genre too :)


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