I’m still trying to wrap my my mind around what just happened. And keep my spirits up. In a matter of weeks, I read the most elating and disappointing emails of my book career (er, wanna-be-career) so far.
I queried an agent back in January; and since three months had passed without hearing back, I assigned it to the “no” column on my agent spreadsheet. Then, I received this:
Ms. Puelma, please send me 100 pages of your manuscript.
Never have I read those words. Ever.
So, I sent them. Eagerly. One day later, I received this.
Ms. Puelma, I find your story intriguing. Please send your full manuscript.
Once again, this was the closest to my dream of publishing that I have ever experienced. Ever. Closest. Blaggity boo. (That’s how my mind was processing things. Lots of gibberish.)
I then had to wait. For weeks. I forced myself to hold off on checking email by the second. I failed often. And as hard as I tried to keep my mind from wandering, I couldn’t help it. This could be it. The day I hear a yes. The day my dream of publishing comes one step closer to happening. Yes, the reality of no crept in too. All the doubts, all the voices. Every negative thought pounded me–you’ll never hear a yes.
But this time, I could.
Which was the back-and-forth-whiplash of my thoughts.
So, finally, yesterday. I got the long awaited email. And?
It was no.
It was a no to my novel. My baby. Yes, it was devastating to read those letters. N. O. I cried. And will still cry, I’m sure from the anticipation of it all. From the desperation. But, I’m learning that this “no” doesn’t mean never. Thankfully, this dear agent padded her decline with helpful feedback and genuinely kind notes. I have an idea of what to (possibly) change; and some outside validation (though, this isn’t everything) that my story was well written. I made it passed the query round, which was beginning to seem impossible.
Guys, it’s possible. I lived it. And so will you. Hopefully, we’ll live it passed all the rounds, to where we’ll hear that beautiful, savory, luscious yes. We’ll get there. A no is not a never. Keep at it. A yes will come.
Here’s proof (credit for the list below comes from BubbleCow. See the blog for more.):
- Madeline L’Engle’s book, A Wrinkle in Time, was turned down 29 times before she found a publisher.
- C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.
- Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was rejected by 25 publishers.
- An editor once told F. Scott Fitzgerald, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby Character.”
- The Dr. Seuss book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected for being “too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant selling.”
- George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected with the comment, “It’s impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”
- The manuscript for The Diary of Anne Frank received the editorial comment, “This girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.”