A few months ago I was talking with Josh Mosey, a member of my writers group the Weaklings, about my novel. I had just talked with an acquisitions editor which turned out to be a very shady experience and I was ready to look for another place to submit my novel.
About a year previous, I submitted my work to agent. She loved the idea but said it needed a lot more polish. Between now and then I ran into her at a few writing events and she would always ask if I was still writing and to send her my stuff when I’m done revising.
I would tell her I’m working on it and I’m still plowing ahead. And I was. I wasn’t lying. I was Really.
Recently, having after having a discussion with Josh, he encouraged me and basically said; look it’s time to send it to her. You need to do it. I emailed and asked if she would take another look.
After a few weeks, she contacted me and asked me to send my manuscript. Two things happened in that moment. One, I was unequivocally exhilarated to pursue my writing career with everything that I had in me. Two, I began to be afraid.
This is every writer’s dream, right? The moment of truth. But, I didn’t look at it that way. Instead, my mind started to race. I got to the point of sending it and relented. I knew deep down that it needed another good edit. It’s not every day an agent gives you the green light to send over your work and I wanted it to be great.
After doing some soul-searching I replied saying that it wasn’t ready after all. There are a few more things to tweak. She replied saying to send the best book possible when I’m done.
Right now my book is about 93% done. I’ve drafted it about ten times. Some parts even more. There are little nooks and crannies that I still need to shine some light on as well as a few pages that I just need to kill.
Though I’ve been writing for years, I honestly don’t know when a book is done. I constantly tweak and pick at it to make it more polished. However, I realize that some point I am stalling. I’m worried about what lies on the other side. What if the agent says no? What if they say yes? Either way it is a road to a lot more work.
9 thoughts on “My Book’s Afraid of Rejection”
Rejection is scary. That’s for sure. But it most certainly isn’t the worst thing. Being run over by a pack of rabid buffalos is way worse.
I’ve learned about as much from all the rejections as from the publishing experience. Trust me. Nothing is wasted. Even a rejection letter. So, swallow down this fear and tell it to hush up. Push through and send the very shiniest draft you’ve got. You can do it! Go, Bob, Go!
And don’t let fear hold you back.
Thanks for the encouragement! I will send it, hopefully by years end. I happen to be forwarding it to your agent, if you want to know (at least I think Ann is). She gave me some great direction the first time we talked.
I’ve done 3 chapters in 4 days. Hopefully getting through chapter 29 by then won’t be too big of a push. The beginning is stilted so I wanted to lay a better foundation and connect the plot points a bit better.
Too bad there’s not a pack of rabid buffalo’s nearby. That would make for a very interesting story…
I kind of figured that was who you were talking about. 🙂 It would be awesome to have you as my agent buddy.
Indeed! But I’m trying to keep a modest head and stay focused on the task. Don’t give me delusions of grandeur! 🙂
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1) I am really jealous of your writing group. I have always wanted to have one in the back of a pub (even though I don’t drink), with pipes (even though I don’t smoke), talking about our latest novels and classes we have taught. I might be thinking more about wanting to be J.R.R. Tolkien than a real writing group, but I am still jealous. Is there an application process or a fight to the death in order to join?
2) I am still a step or two behind you in the writing/revising department, but I had to face some similar fears when I first finished writing my first novel (Thanks to last year’s NaNoWriMo). Some of my friends, my best friends in the whole world, asked to read it. It took me about a week to send it to them. I would attach it in an email or let the file hover over their shared Dropbox and then walk away. I would rather sit down with a stranger and say: “Let’s discuss politics, religion, and anything else awkward.” Than let most people read my writing.
3) No book is ever done. I wrote a lot of songs before I ever trying my hand at writing novels and even then I would fuss and fuss until one of my most trusted advisors (Either my college roommate, my mom, or one of my sisters) would tell me it was just fine and I need to stop freaking out about it. Then I would writing it down in its “finished” form and still keep changing it whenever I played/sang it. It is the curse of an artist.
Thanks for the comment and inquiry in to the group! Right now the group is closed for new members. However, if you wanted to check out the next Jot (probably March 2014) it would be great to meet you and encourage each other.
I’m not too sure about you being a few steps behind in the revision process. I think everyone works at their own pace. I edit about as fast as continental drift.
That being said I would encourage you to give your work to someone you trust to have a look. After I got over the initial shock and cringe of letting someone read my work, I grew thicker skin. I assume this will help with rejection by agent and other bumps in the road toward publication.
I am not a tinkerer by nature. However, with my writing I’ve picked and picked over it. Hopefully I’ll be sending it out soon. I find it very hard to place the final period and step away.
Keep writing and keep working and sent it to someone when you are ready.
Thanks for the encouragement. My best friend just asked when he would get his “Advanced copy” of my current NaNo novel. He is one of the only people I trust with my writing. It actually helped motivate me to write faster so I could share it with him and get his feedback. At least I have one person I am not (as) afraid to share my work with. 😀
Side note: I was actually checking out the Jot page yesterday. I have a busy schedule, but I want to put it on my calendar as soon as possible so I can attend this time around.
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