Becoming an author
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Becoming an Author
So you finished writing your book six months ago. And you have rewritten it seventeen times since. But it’s still not perfect – each time you go through it you find something that needs fixing. Well, you say,
You are stalling. Sooner or later, unless you are simply writing for your own pleasure with no intention of ever being published, you are going to have to bite the bullet and get your little pet out there on the stage. So what is causing this endless procrastination? Well, the symptoms are fairly clear; you have caught a nasty little writers’ bug. It’s called – Fear of rejection – How to overcome? How to become an author? First be aware that if you do receive a rejection or two, or thirty-two, you will be in good company. Consider what these writers have experienced.
Stephen King –
One of the world’s most popular writers of chilling horror, Stephen King has sold over 350 million copies of his novels. Yet he pinned his rejection slips to a nail on the wall of his study until the nail could no longer bear the weight. He then, `replaced it with a spike and kept on writing.’
Louisa May Alcott –
The editor of Boston’s The Atlantic magazine, James T. Fields, told Alcott’s father about Little Women, “Tell Louisa to stick to her teaching; she can never succeed as a writer.” Louisa May told her father: “Tell him I will succeed as a writer, and some day I shall write for the Atlantic!” And she did!
Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was said to have had 20 rejections. Today, Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time with four billion copies of her 66 novels sold worldwide.
Sparks wrote The Notebook in his spare time. It was rejected 24 times before literary agent Theresa Park picked it out of her agency’s slush pile, liked it, and offered to represent him. She secured for him a $1 million advance from Time Warner Book Group in 1995 and the novel was published in October 1996. It made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of release.Nicholas Sparks –
Margaret Mitchell –
Everyone has heard of the classic, Gone With the Wind, but this early blockbuster was rejected by 38 publishers before it found a home. It has now sold over 30 million copies.
Jean Auel –
When she submitted The Clan of the Cave Bear, one publisher said, “We are very impressed with the depth and scope of your research and the quality of your prose. Nevertheless … we don’t think we could distribute enough copies to satisfy you or ourselves.” As of today, Jean Auel’s books have sold over 45 million copies worldwide.
John Grisham –
This author, best known for his legal and crime thrillers, has sold over 250 million copies of his books worldwide but in the beginning his book, A Time to Kill, was rejected by a dozen publishers and over 15 agents.
Dr Seuss –
During his lifetime, Dr. Seuss won two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and a Peabody Award. Yet even he was rejected. His first book, And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times. One famous rejection letter excerpt reads, “This is too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” Hahahahahaha!! Excuse me.
How to become an author –
Every author (bar obviously a few very lucky ones) has been rejected at some stage. When we look at these examples, it just goes to show that agents and publishers are simply busy people with their own opinions. And often those opinions can be proved wrong.
If all published authors stopped after the first few rejections; or refused to even send their work out in the first place for fear of being rejected, the world would be deprived of much worthy literature. But the optimist does not lie down and melt into the substrate.
No, they believe in themselves and in what they are doing; they know they are winners and that it is just a matter of getting someone to agree. The rest is generally history.
But what gives a writer the kind of self-belief that refuses to give up in spite of rejection and opposition? I believe it comes from a desire that is stronger than the pain of rejection.
No one likes being rejected. Some believe it spells F.A.I.L.U.R.E. Frigging Awful Inhibiting Loser (with) Umpteen Rejections Eeeuugghhh!!! or whatever other ludicrous excuse a writer and author can come up with for not sending out their manuscript.
So what can be done about it? You have written a book for heaven’s sake. It deserves at the very least the courtesy of a decent submission and maybe, hopefully, prayerfully, an acceptance.
You have poured your soul into those 50,000 to 100,000 words; day after day, night after night, until it resembles something that even your Great Aunt Fanny, who hates popular fiction, would place on her bedside table – even if she didn’t actually plan to read it.
Therefore you owe it to yourself, if not Aunt Fanny, to knuckle down and prepare a submission. Forget the fact that it might be rejected; read From Pitch to Publication by Carole Blake, a hugely experienced agent so she knows what she’s talking about.
Then put your query together and start sending it out. If you don’t know where to start sending, go online to www.agenthunter.co.uk or www.agentquery.com and look for agents who deal in your type of literature. Remember, perseverance is the mother of success.
Or something like that. Oh, and don’t stop writing just because you have sent your story out – you are going to need something to follow up with when this one is accepted. Go to it – and Good Luck!