Writers always talk about their rejections, so this is nothing new. You always read about famous authors collecting stacks of rejection letters and postcards, maybe even hanging them on the wall for inspiration. But as someone who only recently starting sending out queries and submitting articles, it is new for me. And in these days you don’t even get a nice rejection postcard souvenir. You’re lucky if you get an e-mail!
I’m about halfway done writing my book about my IVF experience and have been researching both traditional and self-publishing. I thought it might be interesting to try sending out a few queries or do a book proposal before doing it all on my own. What it has mostly been though, is…well…nothing. There’s been nothing. Not even a rejection! Just no response.
I researched tons of query letters before even sending the first one. I wrote and rewrote it for two weeks before even sending it! Then I researched and targeted only publishers that were interested in non-fiction, women’s issues, memoir-type books. I didn’t just go into this willy-nilly. I really tried! It was quite a rush every time I pressed send, so to hear back nothing was rather anti-climatic.
And at the same time I decided it was time to try submitting articles to some bigger blogs. What I got back from that was a polite “Thanks, it’s nice but we don’t think people will want to read it.” (that was the gist of it)
I actually think I liked it better when they just don’t write back.
So how is any of that positive?
I had to push myself to be better just to send that stuff out. To send the article to the blog, I realized I needed to update my bio. I had been meaning to do that for the past six months. So I took the time to sit down and update it. I can finally check that off my to-do list, and now I have my bio ready anytime I want to submit something.
For the agent queries, they all have different requirements- some want the first five pages, some want a few chapters and some might want a full proposal. Meeting those demands has pushed me to finish and edit more chapters this month than I have in a while.
If I had not tried submitting anything, I would have not have pushed myself to write more and write better. I researched and learned a lot about the market I was looking to get into. I also learned about agents, publishers and platforms and all kinds of things I had never even known I would need to do.
So while the actual rejection wasn’t so positive, the actions that I needed to take to get there were. And the results from my attempts lets me know I’m just not there yet. I have to keep going.
So where do I go from here?
I think I will keep sending out the queries because it is helping me get farther in the book, but then probably have to do the whole self-publishing route in the end. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth it, and then a little voice starts yelling “Yes dammit, there are other women out there who could use a story like this, stop doubting yourself and write the damn thing.” I’m always reminding myself to listen to that voice. So I plan to keep moving forward on that.
Submitting to other blogs however…eh. When I write something I really like, I’m always excited to post it on my own blog. There are a few blogs I do work with and submit to, and I will keep working with them. There’s also a larger local mom’s blog I’m still planning on sending an article to when I get it just right. But the big ad-splashed, click-bait blogs only interested in traffic-driving blog posts? Nah. I realized that’s not how I write and that’s not the audience I write for. So I’ll save my time and focus on the smaller blogs where I can actually connect with people.
So I guess, at the end of the day, I’ll just keep on writing… 🙂