An acquaintance cornered me the other day and insisted on trying to figure out why my novel had been accepted for publication and why she was still hitting rejection row. This turned out to be an exercise in Fact or Fiction.
Myth: You don’t have children.
Fact: I actually do have children. They are grown-ups. Ask them to recount to you the hours I spent working on my graduate degree. When I graduated, we all graduated.
Myth: You must have some type of financial backing such as a scholarship or grant.
Fact: I have one source of income. This leads me to the next myth she brought up…
Myth: You don’t work.
Fact: I spend long hours at my daytime job. It doesn’t matter what it actually is. When I’m there, I work during my lunch hour and run out for quick bathroom breaks throughout the day. Believe me, I work.
Myth: You must have an agent.
Fact: No, I sent individualized queries to many (did I write many?) agents and editors. I didn’t garner an agent, but many (did I write many?) queries later, I did garner an editor. I did my stint on rejection row just as my acquaintance is currently.
The reason I am writing this post is because at some point I believed that all writers who finally achieved the pleasure of an acceptance letter or phone call fulfilled these myths. I was as misinformed as my new friend there. I knew someone whose father published many books in the writing field. My friend remembered his dad excusing himself to his study after dinner. There was some sort of sacrifice here and it probably included the whole family.
Becoming an author is not an easy feat but take heart if your novel or book proposal hasn’t been accepted yet. There’s much you can do between mailing out your query and receiving rejections and acceptance letters weeks, and sometimes, months later. The most important of which are rewriting and revising until your material says what you mean for it to say.
Myth: You’ll never have to go through this again now that your book is about to be published.
Fact: I will…