Eighteen years later, with blood, sweat and tears, I finally have a contract for my first novel – MIDNIGHT CONQUEST! Hurray! Let's celebrate!!!
It was a long hard road, make no mistake, but don't let that discourage you writers out there who are trying to get their first novel published. Every author goes through it. They pour their heart and soul into their first novel and expect it to be loved by all. When it isn't, it's a struggle to keep positive about your work and not take it personally. I hung on to encouraging stories of famous authors who had been rejected numerous times before their first novel was accepted. For Example: While I was stationed in Germany, Tom Clancy came to our base (Rhein-Main AB) for a visit while doing research and shared with us that “The Hunt For Red October” was rejected 33 times before it was offered a contract (This web site states 12 times, but I'm more inclined to believe what I heard Clancy say). All of us authors go through the rejections before our first novel is published.
My point – DO NOT GIVE UP!
Yes, it's frustrating, aggravating, painful, and a lot of hard work. And it's difficult not to take it personally. Just don't stop doing it! Have your glass of wine or a beer and cry on your popcorn when it gets rejected. It's okay! It WILL get rejected. It goes with the territory of being a writer and that's not being negative. Not everyone is going to love your book, and that's okay, too. The point is SOMEONE out there will love your book, so don't give up on writing.
One other thing to keep in mind: Be open to making changes to your story to make it better. I struggled with the changes made to MIDNIGHT CONQUEST – and I know I have to make more changes during the editing process. I got so sick of reading my book, I wanted to puke on it! I got tired of making it better and more engaging and tightening up the prose…yadda, yadda, yadda. But when my emotions settled and I looked at my story with new eyes (not reading it for several months), I had to admit that it was indeed a better story. I also learned a lot during the process and I know when I write my other novels, I will be able to incorporate everything I've learned to make the process easier each time I write another book.
This blog is to share the news that I finally have a contract for my first novel, but to also encourage those of you out there who are close to throwing in the towel…DON'T. Keep on writing! If it's what you love to do, keep on writing. The reality is you probably won't get rich or even pay your bills off of writing novels. Those writers who do are really only 2% of the population of writers out there who HAVE sold their novels. If you want to do this to get rich, you're in the wrong profession. Write because you LOVE it! Write because if you didn't, you couldn't live. Write because it's from your heart and you enjoy your stories. Though the reality is you may not get rich…don't let that stop you. Who knows…maybe you will! SOMEONE has to be in that top 2%!
That's my two pence…