I’ve used the image up top before on my blog. It was taken the second day of the trip, on a day I learned how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. This is near the spot where I found my first ‘home’….the place my heart and soul had longed to go back to longer than I can recall.
I’m using it today for a reason. This wasn’t a good day for me as an author. My ego took a hard hit.
We (me and Denise both) received another rejection for ‘Scales & Stingers’. I still believe in this book, this series, but it stung.
Earlier this week, I ran a poll on Twitter in which I asked if anyone wanted me to post another sneak peek of a book here on this blog. I got 3 votes, all enthusiastically ‘yes’. So, yesterday, I ran a new poll. I asked if they wanted a peek at ‘Inversion of Magic’ or ‘Scales & Stingers’.
Not one person responded. I got crickets.
Unless you’re writing with a partner, this is a solo gig. We write in the vacuum of our own minds and souls. In many cases, people we trust don’t even get to see it until we feel it’s ready enough. Which, honestly, can take multiple drafts and tweaks, countless nights staring at just one sentence and agonizing over why it doesn’t read right to us. When we get the courage (yes, it takes a LOT of that) to even share it with our beta readers/editors/friends….we’re scared. We want that approval, that excitement.
We want readers to turn the page, invest as much into our stories as we did writing them. We’ve cried, cheered, and gave up on other things to write these stories. Why? Because we believe we can tell a good tale, one that complete strangers will want to read.
When you put yourself out there and hear crickets….or get a rejection…it hurts. In some cases, authors give up. And it’s not simply because of one rejection. It’s because we’re not getting the positive reinforcement we crave to keep going.
It’s a godsdamn drug and we’re addicts.
So, yeah, that’s where I was for longer than I wanted to admit today. I know it’s worth it, that I’ll get there one day. After all, I did before.
Some may read this and dismiss my commentary because I ‘gave it up’ two years ago when I left my former publisher. I didn’t. I rediscovered who I am as a novelist, my voice, and that’s priceless. I found I had the strength to walk away from a House that didn’t understand the audience I was suited for, and stay true to my morals and ethics.
That got me thinking about where I was when I signed that first contract. I’ve learned so much as an author since then, grown as a person.
The changes in the last 13 years since I started writing are unbelievable. The confidence, assurance, and belief I have in myself now.
I did a thing. A thing that people would tell me never would happen so I shouldn’t bother trying. A thing that people who said they loved me feared me succeeding at and tried to quench the dream before it could take root.
I wrote a book.
I got a publisher.
It went up for sale.
And not just one. I’ve got a trove of books that I could get covers done for and put back up for sale. I may do that with a few, in the next month or two. Or I could take a few deep breaths, find my center, and write on ‘Sword & Soul’ like mad.
Because I am a writer. I am a novelist. And no one can ever take that from me.
BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm