“They shouldn’t have rejected that. What do they know?”
“I’m still fine-tuning my first book so it’s perfect.”
“I just finished my first book. It took me 4 years.”
“I’ve written this great story. I can’t wait until it’s published.”
These are a few of the things I’ve heard people say since I entered the world of writers. Each one is driven by a dream, which makes them admirable. Each one is also a little narrow in focus and each one always has the same thoughts popping into my head. They’re what worked for me.
“They shouldn’t have rejected that. What do they know?” For starters, they know the market and what is selling at the moment and what they’ve just contracted for their house. A rejection doesn’t mean your story is garbage. It could be a perfectly clean, perfectly good story. A lot of these are simply missing a special spark to make it stand out. As the creator, it’s hard for us to see that.
“I’m still fine-tuning my first book so it’s perfect.” It’s never going to be perfect. Finish the story. Set it aside and write the next one. When that one is finished, go back and edit the first one while the second sits. When the first is edited, get it critiqued while you’re editing the second. After you’ve edited the second and gotten the first critiqued, make your final changes and begin submitting the first while the second is getting critiqued and you’re writing the third. Always have another idea in the works.
“I just finished my first book. It took me 4 years.” See the response to “I’m still fine-tuning…”.
“I’ve written this great story. I can’t wait until it’s published.” Be ready to wait. In publishing, you never stop waiting. You write your story, submit it and wait. You get the contract offer and you wait. You sign the contract and you wait. You get your edits and you wait. You get the cover and you wait. You get your ARCs and you wait (for reviews). You get the reviews and you wait (for reader reactions.) Rinse. Write. Repeat. Somewhere in this waiting game you should have submitted that second book. Maybe the third.
So often, people look at publishing with the view that one great story is all that’s needed. That might have been true at one time. In this instant gratification world we live in, where we can get millions of books with a single mouse click, or ereader touch, that is not the case. We have to stand out. We have to be prolific.
Don’t believe me? Think of your favorite authors. How many of them release one book a year? Many of them might. Now. Look back at their career. How long have they been writing? How many books have they written? How many books per year is their average? Get the picture?
Authors, like musicians, can no longer be a one hit wonder. Yes, one great hit will get you in the game. Then you have to repeat the process. You have to create another one. And then another.
There is nothing easy or fast about this business. But when you get that email or the call saying an editor wants to work with you, when you get your first reader email saying they’re either looking forward to your book or that they loved it, every moment of frustration, pain, anger and every other emotion we feel on the roller coaster to publication becomes worth it.
Know the process for you, but enjoy it. Enjoy the little victories.