Over the years, I have sometimes wondered whether it would be kinder to tell aspiring authors to give up. It took me eight years to get my publishing deal with the amazing CarinaUK – six to get my first agent. During that time there were many tears and I’m not a cry baby. Somehow the rejection of writing that comes straight from our core hurts so much. I wrote novel after novel, giving in to the passion for my craft, but time and time again I felt like giving up.
Not one single published friend of mine ever advised that though. And I’m thankful now. Without their support and the encouragement of my family I might never now been enjoying the career of my dreams. It is so true what people say. You could be on the cusp of finding success, just when things get really tough.
I have four books under my bed that – quite rightly – will never see the light of day. However Mistletoe Mansion was written before my debut Doubting Abbey. My agent and I just couldn’t find a home for it – but it eventually found a publisher who believed in the story and was a Christmas bestseller. So each individual rejection is just that and doesn’t represent the view of everyone else.
It is hard, sending work out, receiving it back unenjoyed. My very first submission, years ago, was to the Darley Anderson Agency. It flew straight back, just before that Christmas, with a standard rejection letter. I can smile now at my dejection. Naively I thought the hard bit was writing the novel. How wrong I was. Trying to bag an agent or publisher is when the real graft starts. And last year I signed with one of their agents.
I can also smile at the times I would flounce off social media, announcing that I needed a break, telling myself that writing was not for me. But the passion gets a grip. It’s like a switch. Once it’s been turned on and you experience the joy of crafting a sentence, paragraph or chapter that you are pleased with, the light just can’t be switched off again.
So, in the end I gave in to my calling. And now I am so glad I did. The years of tears were worth it, despite the new set of challenges that publishing offers such as bad reviews and deadlines!
So I would say, listen to your heart. It will tell you if you really can abandon your dream. And if the answer is no, you are signing up to a writing life for better or for worse, just remember the wise words of the great Samuel Beckett:
“Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”