If you're thinking about giving up, consider this
letter to a friend:
"Dear One, I've been close to packing it in
myself. And I'm repped! Nothing has come easy for me it seems--a
struggle all the way up that hill. I know you've been trying to
snag that dream agent, and the odds are just so crazy. I know
that POD small press is distasteful to you, as it is with a lot
of us. But there are some gems out there that I think you should
at least try--give it a shot. (Honest, I think I'm becoming the
king of small press like veinglory is the queen of
Gawd knows publication with the smaller outfits
won't give you that MMP deal you've been looking for. Dawg knows
that you won't get a writing group thread praising you for your
accomplishments to the high heavens, nor hundreds of members
buying your book. But what it will give you is vindication that
somebody, anybody, read your book and loved it--believed in
you--believed in that story. It's all about positive
reinforcement--that drive to keep you going, pushing for that
Just taking one example: I landed my agent with
Planet Janitor, a SF survival tale--kind of a cross between
Robison Crusoe on Mars and Starship troopers. Oh, did I have high
hopes for that one! After it went through two rounds of agent
subs over a year's period without selling, I was totally
Until I sent it out. Three editors at one small
publisher loved it and requested minor changes. Contract came. I
got an advance and a wonderful contract. I thought it was fluke.
I kept thinking author mill. It was later that the publisher came
under some terrible discrimination. I voided the contract but
kept the advance. I sold it again to a larger e-pub/print
publisher. Two editors there said they loved it. When I tried to
work the contract in my favor they wouldn't budge. So I pulled
the book from them.
My final sale was to a newish pub house that
specialized in SF. They praised it up one side down the other.
The CEO shared the manuscript with a "name" SF author. Yep, done
deal. This was a hot one. They wanted some medium changes--which
I made happily. (Still making them today).
That was not a fluke.
My point is, eight people couldn't be wrong. Nine,
including me. The big houses made a mistake, probably cutting me
off at the knees at the query stage or the first few pages. Most
agency stables are filled, with no room for new clients. I was
dismissed out-of-hand. But I'll tell you something very important
I learned; I knew that my instincts were right all along. I had
something very special there, but for whatever reason, those big
name's didn't catch it, couldn't see the gold in there. Bad
timing, bad luck, bad breath, the stars out of alignment, some
evil force conspired to get me and hold me down.
I think you need to so something similar for YOU,
if agents have been showing you the door, or if your agent has
failed to sell. It's not the death call for your book. And I
have to admit that handing out rejection slips to publishers sure
did something for my ego.
I'm reminded of a gal, and the hassle she went
through trying to find a publisher. She finally landed with one
and turned the small press on its ear by selling more books than
anyone expected. Wonderful reviews, TV and radio spots--it all
came into place for her. I'm positive that she never regretted
that decision. A great story will find its way to the readers,
inspite of all the obstacles.
But that means you can't give up on it. Listen to
your heart. The heck with the establishment.