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DarkDesireX
06-26-2008, 04:57 AM
Well, I've learned from being here that it's not uncommon for a first-time writer to have difficulties getting a foot in the door but today...I don't know, I was really brought down by my latest letter.

When I first finished my romance novel I was so psyched I sent it off to a few literary agents with what, to be honest, had to have been the worst query letter of all time. A friend pointed me in the direction of you wonderful people and I learned a lot. I rewrote my query, actually researched the agent I wanted, and armed with this new and priceless knowledge and self-confidence I hit "Send."

Ms. Nelson answered me back in a matter of hours, she's real consistant there. It was an uplifting rejection, to be sure, but it still hurt. I took a second to breathe then moved it to my "Work" file on Yahoo. A quick glance told me that that rejection put me at fifty. Granted, the first twenty or so were my fault, but fifty? It still hurt.

I had planned to have a book at least in contracting by my 20th birthday (July 20th), but that didn't seem to be an obtainable goal while I was staring at my yahoo with tearblurred vision.

I'm sure many of you have had that moment where you doubt everything about yourself as aserious writer. Am I not any good? Is nineteen too young for this business? Did I not try hard enough?

Well, to be honest, I did the emo thing for about an hour, tucked under my blanket sobbing into my pillow. My fiance wisely left me alone. After such I did something I haven't done in years. I wrote a letter to my mentor Catherine Coulter. By time I was done I had really pumped myself up and I felt much better.

After all, it only takes one yes!

I highly suggest getting someone you can write to when you're feeling down. Just write about what's going on and by the time you're done you might have solved your own problems!

C.bronco
06-26-2008, 05:14 AM
I never doubt my greatness; it would harm my delusions. I don't count rejections either. That might interfere with my optimism.

MsJudy
06-26-2008, 05:21 AM
Well, I'm 44 and I haven't given up yet, so I don't see why you would even consider it. In fact, I'm glad I got those rejections in my 20s--not because I got rejected, but because I wasn't writing the kinds of books I would have wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I took myself so seriously then.... I'm having a lot more fun now, plus all the life I've lived since then has been pretty amazing. So hang in there and keep working at it. No quitting until you're at least 50. And then it's not quitting. It's early retirement.

Karen Duvall
06-26-2008, 05:26 AM
Darn it, Desire, it sucks that you're feeling sad. Most of us have been where you are. If this is your first book, it's to be expected, really. It's a rare first book that ever makes it into print, and you're in excellent company. Writing is hard work and time-consuming, and it can take months to years getting it right. I hope you have a great critique group to give you a hand, and if you write romance, I assume you're a member of RWA.

Even published writers go through hell sometimes. A close friend of mine writes romance for one the Harlequin lines. She has over 40 published novels. She gets her contracts by submitting proposals, not writing the whole book, but it's still a lot of work, especially when you're contracting for 3 books at a time. She turned in her proposal, her editor had her tweak it a bit, which she did and turned it back in. She and her editor were very happy with the story ideas and plots she'd come up with. Then the senior editor had to approve it and she shot it down. Completely. No, no, no to all 3. Over a hundred pages worth of work down the drain. Now she has to brainstorm a whole new 3 book series and turn it in by Friday. Now that's freakin' sad.

JenWriter
06-26-2008, 05:26 AM
Try not to let it get you down. I know it's rough to stay positive when the rejections pour in. But this is a business that takes time, dedication and as someone once told me, "sheer muleheadedness"!

Nineteen isn't too young to try to do this, but you're so lucky to get into this when you're so young. You have lots of years ahead of you to get published. I feel the same way. I want it now! My goal is by my 30th birthday which gives me over three years. But in the long run, that's still young. If it really does take me until I'm 70, I'm going to stick it through to see it happen then.

It really does take only one yes. Just keep at it and trying to improve your craft as much as you can. Maybe try starting another book while you're waiting for all the results to come in on this one. That's been my saving grace during all the rejections. They may be rejecting me, but I'm throwing my passion into what I love. No matter how many rejections I get, they can't take that passion away.

dgiharris
06-26-2008, 06:29 AM
I just want to say that you are being way too hard on yourself.

At 20, you have achieved a milestone that 99% of the public will never ever do. You wrote a complete book. That is an incredible achievement.

You are way way WAYYYYY Ahead of the curve.

Welcome to the club.

I suggest that you read the Uncle Jim Thread, it is PURE GOLD to all aspiring writers adn novelist. Along with this website. Within a little over a year of joining, I got my first publication and it would have never ever happened without the learnings on this site.

GOod luck. Chin up. AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

Now, get to work on that second book! Or, why not try writing a couple of short stories and getting those published. I like short stories because the learning curve is faster. Write one in a couple of weeks, get IMMEDIATE feedback. And thus, you can evolve quicker. Then get a couple published and whoola, you're all set to conquer the writing world as you've proven that you can write publishable material.

Anyways, my two cents. NOt to say that writing a book first isn't the way to go.

Again, welcome to the club and congrats!!!

Mel...

joyce
06-26-2008, 06:46 AM
Don't let all the rejections get you down for too long. The greatest gift you gave yourself was joining this board. When I stumbled upon AW I was so new to the publishing game I felt like an idiot. I realized I alone had probably written the worst query letter in mankind's history. Thank the heavens for query hell that exists right here. After that first one, I'll never send out another without running it by these fine folks.

Like you, I sent out that first query to several agents before revising it. I stopped counting the rejections around 50. It seemed by then my skin started to get thicker and they didn't seem to hurt so bad. Never give up if you want to write. Every rejection should remind you that you are not giving up on a dream.

SnowtheWolf
06-26-2008, 07:01 AM
Dark,

As the father of a 19-year-old daughter, I'm impressed as hell that you wrote a novel :)

Shara
06-26-2008, 04:28 PM
I was 17 when I wrote the first 'proper' novel (ie the first one I tried to get published). It got countless rejections. In the end I shelved it and started the next.

I am now 38 and still working on getting a novel published (including the aforementioned effort, the current count is 4 completed, 1 in progress).

You say you wanted a book contracted by the time you hit 20. Initially I wanted to have a book published by the time I was 30. Then I aimed to have a book published by the time I was 40. Given that this is now next year, this is looking unlikely. I am now aiming to have a contract by the age of 45. No doubt that will be revised in a few years, too.

So don't be too hard on yourself. It may be that this book you've finished won't be published. Write another one.

Rejection never stops hurting, no matter how often you get it. It's OK to get a bit upset and depressed and feel like you want to give up every once in a while. But in the end, you have to pick yourself up and carry on, and know that there are all of us here at AW who can lend a sympathetic ear.

Shara

VGrossack
06-26-2008, 04:45 PM
Look, you've done really well so far. You have!

You've mentioned getting feedback on your query letter, and managing to write a query letter that managed to get your book looked at. Have you also had competent feedback on your novel?

dawinsor
06-26-2008, 05:56 PM
I'm musing on the idea of setting a deadline as a goal for publication. The problem is that writers have far less control over being published than over the actual act of writing. You can write a wonderful novel that's just not going to sell a lot of copies and so not be published. I think a writer's focus has to be on the writing, not on what someone else does with it. I want to be published, but I think I have to concentrate on what's in front of me on my computer.

lawtowriting
06-26-2008, 06:35 PM
I tried writing a novel at age 18 and quit after about 10 pages. I would guess that my attempt was more typical than your completion. Like others here have said, just finishing a novel is a huge accomplishment!

Phaeal
06-26-2008, 06:41 PM
I completed a novel at age 16, but in those pre-Internet days, aka the Dark Ages, kids didn't know squat about publishing and had few resources for learning about it. Hence, we didn't query agents or submit to publishers as kids today are constantly doing. Hell, these were the antediluvian days when fan fiction had to be mimeographed and sent out by snail mail! Trekkers were some of the few who had gumption enough for this. ;)

My point is: The current ease of querying has put a lot of pressure on young writers. So have stories like Christoper Paolino's. Young writers today seem to expect to be published at once and to put themselves down when it doesn't happen. If Christopher could get his first novel published, why can't they? Well, Christopher's parents (who had publishing backgrounds) put a huge amount of money and time and effort into his initial self-publication and self-promotion. Success didn't fall on him from the sky.

But back to the point: You've taken a huge step early. Congratulate yourself. Reread your novel. Try to find a serious beta reader for it. Consider whether you can make it better right now. If you can, do it. If you can't, two choices: Keep querying it until you've hit the bottom of your agent list or accept that your first novel may need to rest for a while. You may be able to return to it in a year or two and rework it to publishability. Or you may never return to it. It won't be one bit less a learning experience either way.

And, yes, get to work on that second novel. Nothing takes the sting out of rejection as much as the feeling that you'll find success (or get revenge) in the next round. Plus you aren't growing as a writer if you're not writing.

Finally, patience, patience, patience. Art is long. Luckily, you have a long time ahead of you to pursue it.

Bluestone
06-26-2008, 06:54 PM
Hey, Dark, I'm so impressed with your drive at such a young age. I wish I'd started so much sooner, but I console myself with all the living I've done that can contribute to my stories. As others have said, finding AW and getting the advice you needed to put together a good query is an enormous step in the right direction.

Don't think numbers, think results. In the end, I have no doubt you'll be published, because you are so passionate, so determined and you're willing to learn. So what if it takes 50, 75, 100, 150 queries. They're just numbers. Sales people don't say, OMG I've contacted 100 people, I must give up. They always know it just takes one and they keep going.

Okay, at some point you might want to think about shelving that novel and turning your attention to something else, but if you feel you have a polished product then continue querying. And keep writing something else anyway. You're honing your skills and continuing to produce other material to query.

I would also consider a beta reader (or several) from this board, or someone equally competent you may know, to really provide that outside objective and experienced feedback. It might make a huge difference.

Keep researching all over the threads as well. You'd be amazed at all the little tips and things you never thought of, in addition to the big education stuff such as Uncle Jim's thread, such as dgiharris suggested. Check out the current thread The Eyes Have It. It's funny, but also very informative on POV and some common mistakes relative to eyes and watching.

It's great you wrote to someone you respect. I also journal, which is very therapeutic for me and I incorporate attainable goals in there too. Not write the Great American Novel by age 20 (I'm well beyond that anyway!), but finish chapter and start on outline for new book by end of week, or complete edit and query 5 agents. That sort of thing.

Meanwhile, don't forget to enjoy life, rack up experiences and memories for your books and keep going. Best of luck! :Hug2:

arkady
06-26-2008, 08:12 PM
Well, I've learned from being here that it's not uncommon for a first-time writer to have difficulties getting a foot in the door but today...I don't know, I was really brought down by my latest letter.

[...]

I had planned to have a book at least in contracting by my 20th birthday (July 20th), but that didn't seem to be an obtainable goal while I was staring at my yahoo with tearblurred vision.

Perhaps an unrealistic goal. Not unattainable, but unlikely.


I'm sure many of you have had that moment where you doubt everything about yourself as aserious writer. Am I not any good? Is nineteen too young for this business? Did I not try hard enough?

I haven't seen nineteen for a very long time, but none of the others are going to go away any time soon, no matter what your age. Better start buckling down for the long haul now.


Well, to be honest, I did the emo thing for about an hour, tucked under my blanket sobbing into my pillow. My fiance wisely left me alone. After such I did something I haven't done in years. I wrote a letter to my mentor Catherine Coulter. By time I was done I had really pumped myself up and I felt much better.

If I had someone on the order of Catherine Coulter looking over my shoulder, I'd feel better, too. You're very lucky to be in that position.


After all, it only takes one yes!

When I actually get a "yes," I'll let you know.

This can be a very depressing business, and keeping faith in your own talent is possibly the hardest part of all. Never forget Arkady's Law: If you quit, your chances of getting published are exactly zero.

ssnowe
06-26-2008, 11:51 PM
I think anyone who finished a book and has the guts to send it out like that is amazing.

Kudos to you!

David McAfee
06-27-2008, 12:39 AM
y'know...I have no idea how many rejections I've received in total. A lot, though. I never counted them. Still working on that first acceptance. ;)

BTW - We have the same b-day! :D July 20th. CANCERS RULE!!!


.....now if only I could be 19 again...:)

Blondchen
06-27-2008, 01:17 AM
I made this same point on another thread, but I think it may offer you a little perspective:

This is an industry where you get rejected. A lot. Everyone does. Published authors, unpublished authors, nobodies, somebodies, nineteen year olds, fifty-nine year olds. You are going to get rejected, end of story.

It's like being a member of a giant fraternity of rejectees, and there's comfort in that. Sorta.

So embrace your rejections and keep trucking. There are several threads around where AWers talk about just how many rejections they've gotten before the first magical "yes!"

Also, be careful with setting arbitrary accomplishment dates. Wanting to have a book with an editor by your 20th birthday is a nice thing to look forward to, but in dealing with a relatively arbitrary and completely subjective industry, is it really wise to but your wealth of happiness and self-worth in the hands of others? Keep control of those two things whenever possible.

C.M. Daniels
06-27-2008, 01:20 AM
Keep on chugging!

And don't beat yourself up.

Good luck!

Mr Sci Fi
06-30-2008, 08:05 PM
16 rejections utterly depresses me. I don't even know how I'm going to react when I get fifty, or one-hundred. Kudos to keeping a positive attitude.

ajkjd01
07-01-2008, 12:40 AM
I'm at 18 submissions on my current completed novel.

At this point, I have had 15 rejections. (two from the same agent, after inviting me to submit again.)

One request for a full, which has been submitted.

I'm awaiting answers on 2.

It is difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I refuse to set myself a deadline or a time-related goal for getting a book under contract. It's not something within my immediate control. I would make myself a stark, raving, lunatic if I did that. (Hi, I'm a Virgo...and the obsessive perfectionist tendencies would make me insane with that kind of goal.) The only goal I can set for myself without making my head go all 'splody is to continue to write, and to continue to improve, and continue being stubborn (In that I won't give up.) I will continue submitting, and sooner or later, I will hit the right agent with the right book. And all my hard work will make it a book they can't say no to.

Repeat ten times every morning in the mirror...

"I cannot control others' reaction to my work. I can only control the quality of my submissions, can only continue striving for improvement, and continue refusing to give up in the face of adversity."

And then take a deep breath and do it.

Sargentodiaz
07-01-2008, 07:45 PM
Don't let it get to you!
If you want to know about rejections, check out TOM CLANCEY (hundreds) and JK ROWLING (the same).
It's all a matter of first HAVING A GOOD BOOK and selling it to the right person.
No matter how good you write, it does you no good if nobody want to read it.

arkady
07-02-2008, 09:44 PM
Don't let it get to you!
If you want to know about rejections, check out TOM CLANCEY (hundreds) and JK ROWLING (the same).

I don't know about Tom Clancey, but JK Rowling certainly didn't suffer any "hundreds" of rejections:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/201425/5-Career-Reminders-From-JK-Rowling
http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSL2435791920070724
http://tallstories.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/naked-rejection-you-have-to-take-it-on-the-chin/