~snort~ ~snicker~ ~rolls on floor~
Dear readers, last week I re-engaged in the great Agent Quest. Since this is not my first time into the foray, I find this week's topic a wee bit amusing. You see, my previous stories were shot down in great flaming blazes of form-rejections.
~slaps back of hand to brow~
~nails couch landing~
The first time, I took rejection like a champ. I mean, hey, I have a lot of stories spinning through my head-space. I'll just write something else. Something different. I reminded myself the rejections weren't personal (as if any of these people knew me, psht). I pulled up a new doc and stared at the blank page one.
It occurred to me that maybe, just possibly, there was something "wrong" with the way I'd written my first story. I mean, I hadn't even scored a personalized rejection. No one said, "hey, your writing is great but the market's oversaturated with this genre. Sorry." So, analytical me took some classes. I worked on my craft. I learned I'd committed some fairly atrocious sins that were common among beginners. The second story I wrote committed
Nobody wanted Story Two.
Honestly, the second round of canned Hell-Nos was harder to accept. I'd done what I was supposed to. I'd honed my craft. It was, I felt, on par with works in print. Why didn't anybody want this story? Why couldn't I get a nibble? Thanks to the handful of professionals who taken the time to personalize their response, I learned what I'd done "wrong." What I viewed as the genre of my story was not what the professionals considered it. Sure, it had elements of Genre A, but it was far more like Genre B, a genre-pool in which they did not swim. When I submitted to folks of Genre B, they responded with "too much like Genre A, we don't want it."
Fine. Be that way. Since publishing is a game of hurry up and wait, I had written Stories Three and Four. This time, I made sure the stories fit within the tropes and expectations of a very specific genres. I chose Story Four to be the one to brave the Agent Quest again. How will it do? Too soon to tell.
I haven't gotten remotely close to the other potentially demoralizing trials of being an author -- 100 page editorial letters, scathing reviews, poor sales, dropped contracts, etc. I'd like to think I'll cope with them in the same way I deal with rejections.
Keep Learning. Keep Writing.
There is only so much within my control.
What about you, darling readers, how do you cope with discouragement?