Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
Online workshops are a crapshoot and generally have onerous critique requirements.
Good news! You currently belong to a group that includes some really good critters, and you've fulfilled all the requirements already.

Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
I disagree. I think it's a sign of a moribund and callous industry.
Well, you're entitled to think what you like. The reality, though, is that publishing, like pretty much every major industry out there right now, is understaffed and overworked. I don't know the circumstances of your promised read by this editor, but I do know that's an unusual thing for someone to have offerred. I get the disappointment that it didn't pan out, but the odds that it's personal and not just someone who got sucked into other work they're actually being paid to do are pretty low.

As for callous? Of course it is. It's capitalism. No matter how they personally feel about your work, the gating question is "can my house make money selling this?" This doesn't make them moribund and callous. This makes them people who have to get paid to eat.

Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
No, no, I want to play by the rules. I'm just sick of seeing crap like James Patterson and Twilight succeeding all the time. Yes, I'm awash with envy, I realize that. I don't know what to do about it.
I don't know what to tell you to do about it, but I do know you're trying to put some sort of literary value on what does and doesn't catch the public consciousness. Both Patterson and Meyer hit on something - repeatedly, both of them, despite popular criticism of the literary merit of their work - that resonated with a large number of readers. I can't tell you why; I haven't read either of them.

If that's the kind of fame you're chasing...I mean, I get it. But you're setting yourself up for almost certain failure. You could sell every novel you've written and the odds you'd become Patterson approach zero.

(Also, other writers aren't your competition. Really. And nobody knows why some titles go viral and some don't.)

Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
I have a loving wife and a good job, I could give up and have peace anytime.
Take it from someone who knows: if giving up would genuinely give you peace, you'd have done it by now.

You sold two short stories, switched to novels, and haven't had any luck. (Your emotional disappointments are perfectly valid, but career-wise? Not relevant, except that they're holding you back at this point.) If you want to keep writing, find a better crit group.

And yes, it's possible that your work is as sublime and perfect as if it were dictated to you by angels, and for whatever reason nobody thinks they can sell it. (There are more than 30 agents who rep SFF, btw, so while I always advise caution when choosing an agent, you're not exhausting your possibilities.) That is a thing that happens, and it sucks a lot.

But it sounds to me like you had your head turned by a few people with some creds, and your expectations got over-elevated.

You want to write? Start over. Take your current work to Share Your Work. Listen to critiques, even the ones you ultimately disagree with. Critique others. Let the community shred your query letter. (Don't know how many of those nine queries included pages, but if they never got past your query, your writing doesn't matter one way or another.) If you want this, regroup, reset, and start again.

You are not the only writer who's been through this. You wouldn't be the only writer who took 20+ years to get traction. You're not the only writer who struggles with the green-eyed monster and loses. But that jealousy will kill any hope you have of a career faster than anything else. That's the enemy you need to fight.