As writers we spend a lot of time inside of our heads. A LOT. I’d say we also spend a GREAT deal of time focused on the future. OMGGG when will I sign with an agent? When
if ever please please please will I find an editor who wants to buy my book? What if no one thinks my manuscript is pretty? What if I get a kajillionmillionbillion sad faced reviews on Amazon/Goodreads/Barnes and Noble/and GAHHHHHHHH.
No really, take a nice deep breath. Don’t focus on that stuff, focus on the here and now. Need a little help? Okay, here are some things you can be proud of RIGHT NOW:
1.) I’ve said this before a KAJILLION times, but it’s SO worth repeating. YOU WROTE A BOOK. OMGGGG. Do you have any idea how many people say they’re going to write a book one day, and NEVER
ever ever ever ever do? You came up with a plot, a story arc, YOU KNOW WHAT A MACGUFFIN IS, you have amazingggg characters, and HOLY FREAKING MOLE you rewrote until your eyes bled 26 letters all over the page thousands of times. Be proud. No matter where you are in the publishing process, don’t ever forget that you wrote a book. You sat down late at night when everyone else was asleep. Maybe you wrote at the crack of dawn, when even the birds were too tired to get up. You sacrifice any and EVERY extra second in your day for this one dream. You’re my hero, so BE PROUD of yourself.
2.) You got a form rejection. How is THAT something to be proud of?!! Simple. You didn’t just talk about making your dreams happen, you went out there and you DID something about it. YOU WERE SO BRAVE FACED I WANT TO INTERWEBS HUG YOU SO BAD. You learned how to write a query letter. You researched agents, you boiled your plot down into 250-350 words INCLUDING your bio – holy crap you are a rock star. A form rejection, while it isn’t pleasant, means YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING. HUZZAH!!! You are wearing something that walks, talks, and looks a WHOLE lot like perseverance right now. So be proud.
3.) You got a partial or a full request. First of all YAYAYAYAYAYAYYYY high five! That feels AWESOME, doesn’t it? I mean, a real live literary agent saw something in YOUR query letter and was all, “OMGGG SEND ME THIS RIGHT THIS SECOND AS AN ATTACHED WORD DOCUMENT PREFERABLY. I HOPE TO GET BACK TO YOU IN 60-90 DAYS THANK YOU FOR THINKING OF ME…” SQUEE! Now do me a favor. Remember this feeling. Take it and squeeze the juice out of it and put it in a bottle to savor when you’re feeling down. Stop focusing on what happens next. The best thing I can tell you is this; you now have a 50-50 shot. It’s either going to be yes, or no. So breathe. SO MANY THINGS go on behind the scenes for why an agent may or may not take your project on. Be proud of how far you’ve come, and don’t forget that squishy feeling in the pit of your stomach and the triple beat of your heart slapping against your ribcage when you open that email and see a request. Allow yourself to feel proud, you accomplished something. You are so awesome.
4.) You have read every last book in your genre, your mother’s genre, your mother’s mother’s great Aunt Sissy’s genre and — holy crap that’s A LOT of reading. Why is this on the list? Reading is essential for writing. YOU are doing research, whether you think you are or not. How else will you know where your book fits into the market? Eat books for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sprinkle stories on your ice-cream at night. Read read read read read as MUCH AS YOU CAN. Then write. Reading work that has been published helps get your brain into butt-kicking sharpness. PLUS, isn’t part of the reason you’re in this whole publishing game BECAUSE you heart books so much? So be proud of how much you read, no matter where it sits in the bookstore. If you like YA…YAY!!! Mysteries, thrillers, science fiction WHATTTT. (Sorry, I loves me some science fiction.) Ahem. Be proud of yourself for taking the time to read. YOU are working on your craft and that is DEFINITELY something to be proud of.
5.) You never give up. A rejection dings its nasty little head in your inbox, but you don’t even bat an eye. You take out your handy-dandy list of well researched agents and you carefully send out a personalized query in the rejections place. You don’t view rejection as a toxic dart being shot into your heart. You view it as it was intended; It’s nothing personal – you just weren’t a good fit with that agent for whatever reason. You are a professional, you are always kind and courteous – you bravely soldier on. YOU ARE SO ADORABLE AND AWESOME AND OMG KEEP GOING GOING GOING GOING. Because you are SO CLOSE, I can feel it. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER GIVE UP. One day I’ll be reading your book, falling in love with your characters, and DYING for your next work to come out. Thank you in advance for all that you do. I am so very proud of you. <3