Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Letting go.

A lot of people write several manuscripts before they get an agent or a book deal. I've only heard of a few instances where someone has gotten a book deal with their very first book.

It doesn't happen often.

I wonder if everyone starts out like I did. You write a book, think it's super awesome, query it and get nothing but rejections, and wonder why no one will give you a chance. Do you give up? Move on to something else? When do you know it's time to move on?

I say when your heart isn't in it anymore. When you can admit to yourself that it's okay to put your book away for a while. Or when all you've gotten is rejections and no requests, or have gotten requests, but they all turned into rejections in the end.

Moving on to another book does NOT mean you suck. Timing is everything in this industry. And honestly, putting a few books on the shelf can help you grow. It means you recognize that this business is hard, but you're willing to work at it. You're willing to put your baby away and start from scratch to write something new because you believe you can succeed. You'll notice your improvement with each book. It may be subtle at first, but when you have a few books under your belt and go back and read some of your very first projects, you'll be amazed at how much better you've gotten.

I'm embarrassed at how naive I was when I first started trying to get published. Which is stupid, since no one really knows how hard publishing can be until they try. I could have given up so many times, but I'll be the first to admit I'm stubborn. And you kind of have to be a little stubborn to keep going. I still make mistakes. I'm not perfect. But I've come so far and every single book I've written has helped me get to the point I'm at now. Even the books that sucked.

The point of this post is, if you're not sure whether a book is working for you, or are so sick of rejection and wonder if it's not the right time to query your book, it's okay to put it away for a while. Or in several of my cases, forever. Work on something new. Keep yourself busy. You'll be glad you did and you never know whether your new idea will be something greater than you ever imagined.



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13 comments:

Julie Luek said...

This was a post after my own heart. I had the same experience. Wrote my first MS, thought it was OK (never confident enough to think it was excellent), even had a couple people read it for me. Sent it off before I did any real editing (talk about learning curve!)and now it sits, shelved. I don't have any regrets at all. I learned a lot. I'm still writing-- more actually, but freelance work. I may try a book again-- we'll see.

Emily R. King said...

I totally agree. I got my last MS all the way to querying stage and decided not to. My heart wasn't in it anymore. I don't regret my choice!

Patti said...

I agree. I put my first book away, but every once in a while I come back to it, so some more editing and test the waters again. In the mean time, it's important to keep writing and not put all your eggs in one basket.

ilima said...

I could have written this post. So, so true. The best part is none of those manuscripts were a waste. You wouldn't be the writer you are without them. Nice post.

S.P. Bowers said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this last night. I still have some queries I want to send out so I'm not giving up yet, but so far I haven't had any requests (talk about heart breaker) Last night I realized that I would be ok putting this one away for awhile. If the rest of the queries don't pan out, I'll survive, I'll move on, but I'll keep going. I still believe in this book though so I'll probably come back to it sometime. It was good to realize this. I knew I would survive, and because I could deal with putting books aside that someday I would make it to the point where I'll be published.

Jenny S. Morris said...

It is really hard to know when to let an MS go. You've put so much work into but sometimes it's the best decision you can make.

Angela Cothran said...

This can be heart wrenching, but you are right. I like to look at it as no giving up but trying something new for a while. I've heard lots of stories of authors getting published on a fourth or fifth book and then revamping their first one :)

Krista McLaughlin said...

Amen sister. I've shelved 4 novels and I'm working hard to get the 6th published, since the 5th still needs quite a bit of work. It was hard to give up on the others, but maybe someday I can fix the major plot holes and resurrect them. Until then, I'll be trying hard to get published and not give up. Not yet anyway. :) Great post!

Jessie Humphries said...

Ahh yes, the first price of crap I ever wrote was really hard to let go. I rewrote it twice and changed so much over the two years it took to learn the basics. But shelving it was the thing that helped me grow the most!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

It is hard to walk away from them, but I just tell myself I'll go back to them when I am smarter. Maybe I will, maybe I won't...but it allows me to move on to other books without the feeling of wasted time.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I've given up several manuscripts, and it's sad every time. Not sure if I'll go back to them, but I never feel like writing is ever wasted time, so that's good!

Kelley Lynn said...

Yup, I was completely naive. There are a few MS that will never see the light of day. But we have to start somewhere. :)

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