Monday, December 26, 2011

Is standing out the key?

The other day I sat at my computer contemplating what to start next.

Here are my stats:

I've written six novels. Some young adult, some adult.

I've queried two.

One was too unique of an idea. In agreement I decided to step back and write another.

The other I queried for awhile, received a few requests, but overall the query didn't cut it. Agents weren't biting. I felt defeated.

Then, while staring at my computer, I changed my tactics. I went different, unique, quirky even. I decided to be myself. I rewrote my query.

It paid off. I gave myself the guts to take a chance. I emailed my query to an agent whom I adore and they asked for a full within the hour. It was thrilling. My quirkiness had paid off. I didn't ask anyone to look at it, I realized by doing so I was questioning the work I knew was good.

Now, I will note, it was later rejected but the euphoria that came with me being myself made it worth while. The agent also rejected it, not for my content, but due to the age of what she normally represented. The agent gave me hope, and without her even knowing, she gave me the courage to be myself.

Where do you gain courage? How do you pick yourself up when you've fallen? I want to hear your story!

12 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad the re-write of your query worked on more than one level. Keep sending it out, Jen.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I've had a few stumbles and falls, even after publishing my first book. I found the courage to get up and keep going by reading the stories of other writers. Not very many writers have a road without pitfalls and bumps and some dead-ends to reckon with. One small success does not guarantee you will get everything you want. But the only alternative to getting up and continuing the journey is getting off the road altogether.

And that was one thing I really didn't want to do.

mshatch said...

I have had my share of disappointments as well as moments of jumping up and down and I am still waiting for my agent. But like Dianne said, what's the alternative? Get off the bus? I don't think so. I'm going to keep on riding until I reach my destination.

Melodie Wright said...

I love this story! It suggests that what was missing from your first query was your voice. Once you went w/ what makes you, you - viola! A positive response.

What keeps me going? Knowing that quitting makes all my trying a failure. :)

Cynthia J. McGean said...

Often, I get my courage from stories and posts like yours. Thank you! Just last night, I was having a conversation with someone at a party that went something like this - "Oh? You're writing a novel? More than one? There isn't really any money in that, is there? Have you had anything published?" Whereupon I thought back on all the hard work and the small successes that have kept me going and I felt dis-couraged. But then I realized, the only way I'd ever find homes and an audience for my stories was through exactly that kind of long, sustained, often thankless hard work.

Carrie said...

This is such an awesome story. I'm glad your decided to be yourself in your query and that it seems to be paying off.

I get courage from some of the encouraging rejection letters I've gotten. Also having pieces published in magazines and collections is encouraging too.

LynnRush said...

Way to keep going!! Write on, I say. Write on!!

Even though I'm pubbed, I get rejections. We all do. The key is picking yourself up. I usually rely on my sweet hubby, close critique partners, and exercise. Nothing like spending time pounding the pavement on a long run to get the disappointment of a rejection out of you system. :)

Keep going, my friend!

DL Hammons said...

Giving ourselves permission to experiment is not easy. You are making progress, and that says a lot! :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I definitely think standing out is key.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i think i get the courage to go forward because stopping would be like the worst rejection. Because i'd be rejecting myself, if that makes sense. The time's going to pass anyway, i might as well spend it by giving it my all.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good for you! Learning to trust your gut is hard - so glad it worked out for you :)

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

My courage has never come from anything conventional.
I wrote a small piece for a church bulletin late last summer. A woman said to me, "Stop writing drivel and give me some meat." She has been a great help and inspiration ever since and I'm closing in on the final chapters.
Never thought I'd find my own creative writing instructor in church or anywhere else.