You cannot hide from danger. Death floats on the air, creeps through the window, comes with the handshake of a stranger. If we stop living because we fear death, then we have already died.
-Raistlin Majere, Dragonlance
You can’t hide from rejection letters. They are going to come and being trapped by fear, letting that piece of paper or email haunt you, is surrendering to the death of your manuscript.
This is my first rejection letter. Of course, I anticipate more. I made a huge mistake. I let my novel sit for so long, the first publisher I found that takes unagented submissions stopped taking them for a year. So, I found another publisher to submit too. It was a long shot that they would pick up my genre but at the time, I didn’t know where else to start.
Biggest advice I can give you. Make sure your submission fits the publishers call. Otherwise it’s like a blind date with a person completely opposite of the person’s online profile.
Luckily, the original publisher I found to submit to, opened back up for non simultaneous submissions. I submitted it to them this past December.
So, now I wait and while I wait, I have a three things to bring into focus.
First, I plan. There are ten or so publishers that I would consider it a miracle for them to accept my book. I don’t really favor one over the other; I am just submitting to each as I find out they are accepting submissions and then as time allows. Of course, I want to hope that the current submission gets picked up, but I need to have a plan in place in case they don’t. Most major publishers require non simultaneous submissions, which means waiting for months to get a yes or a no before sending my manuscript back into the ether. While I’m waiting, I work on formatting my novel and query letter to the next publisher’s standards. As one of my favorite songs says, “There ain’t no rest for the wicked.”
Second I write. Never stop writing. Period. I’m working on the second novel in the series currently under submission and co- authoring a brand new fantasy/scifi novel with my other half.
Third, I network. Yes. I know it’s scary for us introverts. It terrifies me! Still, it’s so important. Both creating an online presence and in real life. One of the publishers I’m really interested in I found through a coworker. Turns out a friend of a friend is a well known author and said author’s publisher is accepting unagented submissions. Who knew?
There may come a time I have to change my plan. Fluidity is key. A certain self awareness is required. Find out what plan you are comfortable with and don’t back down.
Who knows how many rejection letters I’ll get? Certainly, more than this one. Yet, I can not, will not, let the fear of rejection lead to my dream’s death. I will be strong.
My dream is worth it and I would wager your dream is also worthy.