It’s actually going to be a real post this week! With length and misery and everything!
Seriously though, this blog post is not for the fainthearted – it is, however, intended to be an understanding cuddle to everyone who has felt what I’m feeling at the minute re: rejections. And to try and reassure myself, as much as anyone, that this feeling isn’t reserved for me, and that it won’t last.
So here’s how I feel. Nearly ten years ago, in my tender early teens, I knocked politely on the door of a Very Intimidating House, and had this conversation with the very tall and scary person, called Publishing Industry, who answered:
Me: Will you publish my book please?
Publishing Industry: *flicking through my 500+ page, dragons-and-swords fantasy trilogy* No. Go away and write a better book.
Which, to be honest, was fair. So I did. Two years later, we had the same conversation about my much-harder-to-genre-ise YA story, only now there were some extras:
Publishing Industry: Still not a good enough book. Also, you need to get better at writing cover letters and synopses, pay attention to every minute detail on our various and sundry websites to make sure you don’t piss us off at the starting post, find out where you stand in the children’s market, learn how to pitch better and get more writing experience.
So I went away (skipping and frolicking) and read hundreds of books, learned the children’s market about as well as anyone who isn’t being paid to do so can, studied countless guides to writing cover letters and synopses to write a good pitch, made sure I was submitting precisely within the guidelines of each individual agency / competition, and in the meantime got an MA in Creative Writing as well as writing thousands and thousands more words.
Now, I’m standing in front of that same door (only now it’s cold and pissing rain) and they still won’t let me in. And now, no-one will even tell me why. Is it because my writing isn’t good enough? Maybe; I’m no JK Rowling, but I’ve also read (published) worse. Is it because my story isn’t marketable? Again, maybe; but it’s essentially children’s fantasy – how un-marketable has that ever been? Is it because I’m just unlucky, and keep writing to the wrong people at the wrong time? Maybe; but that doesn’t make it sting any less.
What’s frustrating me the most at the minute is that I keep finding myself trawling the internet for more tips, more guidance, more things I haven’t tried that might finally get me through that door. But all I ever find is stuff I’ve already done.
So that’s me this week, I’m afraid. Standing outside of a perennially closed door; cold, soaked and very, very grumpy.
Next week we’re back to short and sweet, but I promise to also say some things that won’t leave you wanting to go to bed forever. Maybe.