So you have your novel completed. You are so excited. You have put so much energy into the project, Aunt Gert loves the plot, your mom brags to all her friends that her child, the writer, has finished a best-selling novel, and all your friends agree that you will soon be rubbing elbows with John Grisham, Michael Creighton, and JK Rowling.
Waiting to hear about your submission is next to the worst part. I had no idea that it took so long to hear back from a publisher, sometimes months. When I began this process, I was so anxious for a response, I would chase down the mailman in my car well before he got to my address. If you plan to do this, be sure to wear jewelry intended to ward off the evil-eye because there is nothing that the mailman hates more than sorting through his deliveries to pull something out of order.
Whether it is snail mail or e-mail, the almost worst part is when you receive the rejection letter. The absolute worst is the most dreaded form rejection letter. What do you do? No, let go of the cat’s tail. Fluffy isn’t there as an anger conductor and has no idea that your soul has just been cast into literary hell. Try to resist responding that the publisher wouldn’t know good writing if it bit them on the butt or that obviously your manuscript was reviewed by the town idiot. Don’t threaten to write to their superiors. Arguing the rejection may blacklist you from that source and give you a bad reputation.
What did I do? Well, once I was finished with the supersonic, ear-shattering, teeth-jarring screams and holding my breath, I threw six raw eggs in the shower. Thank God my cat was the only witness to this tantrum. Once I calmed down, I called another writer in the writing club that I belong to. He had the audacity to laugh about it. It only made me angrier to hear him say that I shouldn’t take it personally. “Think of it as someone who declines one of your homemade brownies because they are on a diet or when your child refuses your helping hand. That doesn’t crush you, does it?” It didn’t help for him to remind me that publishers are inundated by thousands of manuscripts every month. He told me to look over my manuscript with ‘new eyes’ and submit it to another publisher.
I am happy to say that I have been published. I don’t rub elbows with any of the famous authors, and I’m not on New York’s best seller list, and that’s okay. I had to ask myself, why am I writing? Is it for publication? The money? Heh. Prestige? No. The reason I began writing in the first place was to get the voices in my head to shut up. Stories whirled around relentlessly, and the only relief I got was when I set them on paper. If I didn’t write, I think my head would explode. I realized it is all a process, a healing, and another form of learning who I am. I have attracted people who cheer me on and those who wish me ill. If anything, I will leave something for family and friends to remember me by.
Don’t forget; you’re somebody’s hero.
Venita Louise is a published author and an accomplished singer. You can learn more about Venita and follow her magnetic sense of humor at www.venitalouise.net.