Last week, the first publisher I submitted to rejected my novel. As a self-conscious, insecure writer, I was very upset. I began to slip down the slope of self-loathing and questioned if any of the 125,000 words I poured an entire year of my life into were actually even a smidgen worth reading.
Thankfully, I have a friend who used to intern at a publishing press. I reached out to her and asked her to read my cover letter and synopsis. When it comes down to it, I have faith in my story. It’s the stuff the publisher reads before the chapters that I’m insecure about. So she read it, and said magic words: “most of this looks great.” My entire heart melted and suddenly, I didn’t think I was quite so terrible a writer.
To my understanding, usually the people who read a submitted manuscript (especially an unrepresented one) are not the head honchos of the press. It’s probably an intern, or someone lower on the totem pole, who has to read hundreds of cover letters and synopses every week trying to figure out which projects look like they fit in with what their press wants. Then they pass those onto their bosses. This realization numbed the pain of rejection for me.
Whoever read my cover letter and synopsis at that press did not think it matched with what their bosses are looking to publish, or they didn’t like my idea, or they didn’t like my writing style. They are not the ones who will publish me. That’s okay. They are only one out of a long list I have to apply to (if I keep getting rejected, fingers crossed I don’t). Eventually, the right fit will recognize my work as something they want.
Then, in typical writer-craving-success-searching-for-comfort-amidst-misery style, I wasted more time than I care to admit watching interviews with J.K. Rowling. I love that she shared her writing and publishing journey with the public int he way she has. But my book is not the same as Harry Potter, so when it does get published I think the audience for it will not be as broad as the Harry Potter books and therefore will probably not be a phenomenon in the same way that series was. That thought threw me for a loop for a couple of days, but then I realized that’s okay too. J.K. Rowling is the exception, not the norm, and knowing that one writer can do what she has done with a story is enough.
Just because something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It just means it hasn’t happened yet.
I sent everything off to another publisher, so now I get to play the waiting game for a few months to see what happens in round two.