When life hands you lemons, I know you are supposed to make lemonade. And I often do, because as an eternal optimist I can usually find a silver lining. But lately, it’s been a real struggle because I feel like a dream of mine has ended. I know it sounds dramatic, but this past year my life was consumed with trying to find an agent for my book. It was my second job, and a full-time one at that. I attended seminars on getting published, I joined a writer’s organization, and I even hired a freelance editor to critique my query letter and synopsis. I knew going in the odds were stacked against me. Everything I read reminded me that agents receive hundreds of unsolicited queries a day and accept only a small percentage from the slush pile. Every seminar I attended started by saying how many rejections each famous author received. Still, I believed I was different. I had a quality book that my friends loved (so they said) and my editor claimed my letter was solid. And I wondered how many submissions from the slush pile were actually quality material. I figured mine was a diamond in the rough, so I eagerly awaited for responses requesting my manuscript. Instead, radio silence. I figured no news is good news. But then the rejections started pouring in. Determined not to be daunted, with each rejection I sent out a new query to another agent. Until there were none. I’ve reached the point where I’ve been rejected by every agent on my list.
It was devastating. I know it’s naïve, but I honestly thought I would be more than a statistic. I poured my heart and soul into this book, not to mention the countless hours researching agents and perfecting my query. And it feels like it was all for naught. People who knew I was struggling through the process told me to self-publish. But that was always Plan B. My goal was to get an agent and in turn a publisher, because to me, that was a sign I made it. That someone in the industry recognized my work and felt it was worth something.
I’ve been really down about it for awhile now. I was talking to a friend recently about how I’m jaded by the whole process and don’t want to write anymore. Her response, “But did you enjoy writing the book?” I didn’t have to think twice before I told her my answer, a resounding yes. So I took a step back and tried to remember why I started writing in the first place: because I love it. There’s something magical about crafting a story that started as a seed in my mind that brings me great joy, and I want to share that joy with others. So I’ve been grappling about what to do. Then I came across a quote that was perfectly fitting.
“Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go — and then do it.”
— Ann Landers, American advice columnist
I realize the time has come for me to let go. Yes, I could send out my manuscript to more agents because all it takes is one, but it’s time. It’s funny because most of my book ideas center around a girl in search of “The One” and she always gets her happily ever after. But for me, finding “The One” was not meant to be in this case. Although it wasn’t the path I set out to take, I will self-publish. When I make a decision I try not to look back, so I’m now invested in learning all I can about self-publishing with a goal to get my book out within the next few months. Thanks to those of you who have supported me during this journey. I originally started this blog to have a web presence and writing samples for prospective agents. I had no clue what I was doing, and I still don’t. But I know that I love hearing from all of you and plan to continue with it.
The new year brings a new chapter for me. I hope this one has a happy ending.