Try

Have you ever wanted something in your life so badly you can’t imagine living without it? Have you ever felt that if someone just gave you a chance, you know you could succeed?

This?

Is every writer I know. Every dreamer.

We write, we create. We make real our fantasy worlds, give breath to characters who live only in our minds until our words bring them to life. We pursue our love of storytelling, of words, of poetry, of sound – all without ever knowing what success, if any, our words will bring.

I watch writers around me succeed. (And I cheer, my friends. I cheer!)

But more often, I watch them fail. Then I watch them fail again. And again. Some shove the words away into a deep, dark drawer, never to be seen again, thoroughly convinced they aren’t “the chosen” writer or they haven’t produced “the chosen” work the world wants to see.

More often than not, they are wrong. More often than not, there are simply too many ways to stumble when it comes to publishing, and it has nothing to do with the writer at all. How many Harry Potters never made publication? No, I don’t mean how many times was Harry Potter rejected. I mean how many other stories are just as marvelous, just as fantastical, just as ready for the eager eyes of excited readers? Dozens. Hundreds, maybe. Perhaps even thousands.

Thousands of manuscripts with talented, good-hearted authors behind their fiery pages, and marvelous minds behind the creation of their worlds. But these stories may never be seen, may never be known. Because in the end, publishing is a business and business is about money.

Oh, how much art has been lost to money!

My heart weeps for the number of manuscripts I’ve known (both my own and those written by friends) that may never make an editor’s desk, and, therefore, may never see the inside of even the smallest bookstore or library.

But, writers.

Do not walk away. Failure is only failure if you stop trying. So, friends?

Try.

The world needs your words.

Eleven Minutes

Publishing is brutal. It’s the first thing you learn as a new writer, and it’s a lesson reiterated at every step along the way. From drafting to critiquing to querying to subbing. Brutal. All of it.

Previously, my record on receiving a rejection for a query was thirty minutes from the time sent. Thirty minutes. I know what you’re thinking. How can anyone make up their mind so fast?

(The simple answer, of course, is that these kinds of responses from literary agents are part and parcel of the job. It’s their career. They can’t spend all day on one query. It’s business.)

And I totally get that. Time is money. And just like I can tell whether or not I’m going to enjoy a book by the back cover copy or by perusing a random page in the middle, agents know what they’re looking for, and when they find it, there’s no question. So thirty minutes? That’s fast, but I get it.

This week?

This week, I received a rejection eleven minutes after sending a query. I’m not sure I even had time to get my hopes up in thinking this agent might have been the one for me.

Eleven minutes.

Eleven.

No, really, I don’t think you understand how fast that is. You can’t even watch half an episode of My Little Pony in that time. (I’m a parent. MLP is how we measure time around here. What of it?)

Anyway.

All of this to say, hang in there, querying writers. I know exactly where you’re coming from. And as many times as we lament about long wait times* for query responses, I’m not sure the alternative is really any better.

A reminder…

Eleven. Minutes.

*Long wait times being six weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks, a year, or more…