So I sent a batch of queries off intermittently a few months ago. All of them from the Pacific NorthWest Writers Association Summer Conference. All for Off Balance. And I even wrote a post on rejection explaining why the notes I was getting back were a good thing.
Yet there I was, with eight more I was waiting on – for something, anything. And I wasn’t encouraged, like that other post talked about. I was sad actually – realizing that the time isn’t right for that story, that it was time to let go for now. And yet, I was still craving closure.
So I opened my inbox the other day to find another rejection. I felt so vindicated! At last! But this one? This was from an actual editor at Penguin. Can we get a round of oooohs and aaaaahs? What makes this one so special to me is what she said.
She said that I am certainly a good writer – (thank you) – but that in order to get women’s fiction printed in todays market you have to be as good as the best out there. I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. So let’s analyze this. Todays best women’s fiction writers are on their thirteenth or twenty-twelfth novel. I’m beginning my fifth. And I need to be that good?
So you’d think I’d be saddened, upset, whatever. But instead, it made me say “Hurrah!” And then sit down to write. Because I realized that the only thing I can do to get there, is to keep writing. And then write some more. Because in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld – oh sorry, started channeling Prince there for a moment. What I meant to say was that in this life, as writers, we don’t have a choice but to be the very best writers we can be.
And I have to ask, is that such a bad thing? Can I get a heck no from the audience? Coming from a readers perspective – after reading more than a few bad romance and mystery books – I’ve realized that I really do want my work to be better than that.
So here I go, writing book number five and six, almost side by side, and growing, getting better day by day, hopefully. And some day? They’ll say – “By George (or Jenny – whatever), I think I want you to be my writer.” And they’ll fight over me. And I’ll have my pick of agents and editors.
Cause in this life? You’re on your own!