I had a coffee date this week with a writer in that terrible “between” stage. She’s finished a manuscript, workshopped it, edited it, and now she’s sending it to agents and publishers. And receiving form rejection after kind rejection after helpful rejection after form rejection. When you get right down to it, the difference between a rejection letter with suggestions and a form rejection letter is like the difference between getting stabbed with a butter knife and getting stabbed with a dagger. Either way, you’re bleeding.
I had no magic advice to offer. Only the following:
- Keep trying. All the successful authors I’ve ever met have strings of rejections behind them. Even the ones who seem like overnight successes usually aren’t, when you learn the full story.
- Write something new. If you can’t bring yourself to start a new novel, write a poem or a picture book or a rock song. Begin a clean journal and spend an hour a day on freewrites. Eventually, you’ll find something that you can’t resist developing. You’re not giving up on your first project just because you’re exploring a new one. You’re doubling your chances. Who knows? Maybe the publisher who buys your second book will then want your first.
I wish I had more magic.