There are no guarantees in life. I know, shocking revelation. But it’s true. And if it sounds like a typical digression …
The path to becoming a writer is paved with broken glass and hurdles that you’d swear were set too high—at least that’s the way it seems sometimes. You write and revise and agonize over phrases and words and even punctuation that most people just plain take for granted.
The phrase “It’s good enough” isn’t one of yours.
So you work away until, at some point, you decide, “It’s ready.” Though it’s never really ready. There’s always something to tighten or fix or revise. A better way to say it would probably be, “It’s time to put it out into the world.”
If it’s a book, the first thing you need is an agent. And this is truly a quest. Not exactly the Holy Grail, but more like the cute-in-the-right-light friend of the Holy Grail who you double with to get close to the actual Grail.
The actual Holy Grail is a book deal. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The hurdles are higher on the path to getting an agent, and the path is strewn with rejection. For the record, I was going to say “hedges of rejection” but that seemed really pretentious. Bad enough that I said “strewn” for crying out loud.
Let’s just say you get rejected a lot. My first book got rejected into oblivion. Honestly, I once received a rejection—this is not an exaggeration—less than five minutes after I sent the query email, which included the query letter, a synopsis, and the first five sample chapters. To an agent whose website said they were hungry for the kind of book I wrote.
I didn’t even know how to respond emotionally. Like maybe I’d been abducted by aliens and lost time.
My second book—which became my first, on account of the whole oblivion thing—was rejected 20-plus times before I found the agent who loved it. And is now questing for the Holy Grail with me. Or I’m with her. All I know is that one of us is Indiana Jones.
Side note. I have an author friend who found the Holy Grail. She said that she’s thankful for every rejection. I’m not that Zen, but I will acknowledge that there have been rejections that helped me by pointing out stuff I should fix. Those rejections eventually funneled me to the story my agent fell in love with.
And for the record, those rejections didn’t hurt less because the outcome was good. It still felt like people wearing cleats danced on my soul. Maybe I’ll feel different once the Grail rears its holy head.
But then I think, Tattoos hurt before they look cool.
Anyway, the moral of this story—or so I thought at the time—is that maybe, just maybe, I finally arrived. And life would get easier from here on out.
To be continued.