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 e-pubs)."
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 next step.
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 crushed.
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.
© Copyright 2016 Chris Stevenson. All rights reserved.