Today I'm welcoming Rori Shay to the blog to talk about a time when she kept going, and how that helped her to get published.
Any author who plans to get published will have to deal with rejection, at least once—by an agent, an editor, or maybe in book reviews. How does one persevere through rejection and keep going, especially if we’re supposed to be sensitive, artistic people? One author said she tries to be like a roasted marshmallow (soft and squishy on the inside with a crackly hard exterior).
Throughout my writing career, I’ve been fascinated by the myriad of successful authors who’ve received rejections. Part of me can’t help smiling as I picture the agents or editors who turned those authors down early in their careers. I bet they feel duly regretful now! But part of me knows it’s all just part of the process. Agents and editors can’t say yes to everything.
So over the years, I’ve collected a few choice perseverance stories that I like to keep in my back pocket for a rainy day.
Let me start with my own story. I started out querying, not knowing exactly how to do it and not even having a polished first draft. I got a lot of requests for the full manuscript, but it wasn’t until I’d queried 100 agents that I actually got an offer. A hundred! Whew! The agent who eventually offered me a contract and signed me with a publisher was number 82. Then…if that's not enough of a keep going story for you…my publisher closed its door and went out of business…one month before ELECTED was supposed to release! I had the blog tour set up, famous authors providing quotes for my book, a launch party, a book trailer, etc. and all of a sudden it all went up in smoke. I took the requisite one night and cried my eyes out. My poor husband! But then I picked myself up kept going. I called the authors who had written quotes for the cover, and did some serious networking. One of them was affiliated with another publisher who decided to pick me up within 48 hours of my first publisher closing. All of a sudden I was back on track. Just goes to show you don't know what could be around the corner. And…it was a better deal!
Now my book, ELECTED, a young adult sci-fi thriller, has released releasing with Silence in the Library Publishing through a cool new marketing technique for publishing. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/elected-a-young-adult-dystopian-novel-by-author-ro
There are others like me—much more famous—who have similar rejection stories. I thought I’d detail another one here to help inspire all of us and remind us to keep persevering, no matter what!
Beatrix Potter: She was…gasp…self-published! She was rejected by so many publishers, she decided to self-print 250 copies of Peter Rabbit just for her friends. It was sold in a few bookstores, and through word of mouth, it gained popularity. Only then was it picked up by a traditional publisher. In Beatrix Potter’s own words, here’s what she said about receiving rejections.
Tuesday, March 13th, 1900: “Another rejection today for my “Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor’s Garden”. The publishers Frederick Warne and Co. seemed interested and I went today by appointment to meet Mr. Harold Warne. But he wants a bigger book, which I cannot do, and we had arguments. (It is odious to a shy person to be snubbed especially when the shy person happens to be right). If no one will accept the book as it is, I will get it printed myself.
Thus, the moral of the story is… persevere! If you are passionate about writing and getting your novel out to the public, keep going no matter what. Even if you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room, remember that it only takes one YES to make your dreams become reality.