Updated: Sep 29, 2019
I started my querying journey with Blistered (A Modern Greek Myth), which was eventually picked up by a small press. But agents weren't really interested. Looking back, I see why. I still love the story, but the word count is pretty short for traditional publishing.
Then I moved on with a superhero-type project. I got quite a few requests to read, but all were ultimately rejected. And again, I see why. The story had some issues, especially with pacing. I'm working on its third rewrite now.
The next project I queried was a low medieval fantasy. That's when I first heard, "It's not for me, but it's a bold premise. I wouldn't be surprised if another agent snaps you up soon."
Can I just say how encouraging that was? I queried even harder, got an R&R, revised the hell out of it, and sent more batches out.
In the meantime, I wrote another story, a fairy tale retelling. Sent that out. Another R&R.
At this point, the rejections are starting to sound similar. "It's great, but [...] Even though it's not for me, I wouldn't be surprised if another agent snaps this up."
It's been almost two years since I first heard that.
As of this morning, I have five agents reading my work. I've amassed over 30 rejections on full manuscripts. Queries are ten times that many rejections.
No one's "snapped me up."
Last Wednesday, though nothing had really happened that day, I got really depressed. By the time my fiance came home from work, I just wanted to curl up on the couch and stare at the TV.
I have a queer project - not related to Burning Britely - that I poured my heart and soul into more than most. The main character's bisexual experience closely mirrors mine.
As if that isn't personal enough, her parent's mysterious illness very closely mirror's the one my mother suffered last year.
That's gotten more rejections, fewer requests to read.
Sometimes the industry hurts.
It's not that I don't enjoy seeing my work published via small press. Evernight Teen does precisely what they promise to do, and their covers are gorgeous. I feel lucky they see merit in my work.
But I've been aiming higher. I want to wedge my way into the Big 5, damn whatever it takes.
Sometimes "whatever it takes" ends up being my self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem.
It's not personal. I know that. Agents get thousands of requests per year. Mine's barely a blip. My voice may not resonate, my worldbuilding wasn't what they were hoping, they already have something similar, etc. It's rough to cut your teeth in traditional publishing these days. I know that.
My feelings don't always get the memo.
My anxiety isn't great at recognizing that some things are utterly out of my control.
Publishing is hard. Self-publishing, small press, Big 5, any and all of it. It's so, so hard, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either lucky or lying.
Still, last Wednesday, I managed to shake the funk after I put the kids to bed and went back to editing. There's a bisexual young lady I want to introduce to the world, and it won't happen unless I put in the effort.
Writing is hard. Querying is hard. Publishing is hard.
It's just the way it is.
And we keep pressing forward, because this is what we live for.