Getting Our Hopes Up
Dealing With the Tough Stuff, Part 1
If you read my blog regularly, you might be tempted to think the pursuit of publishing is all rainbows and butterflies. (‘Cause I’m just so darn nice all the time.) But think again. Sometimes it’s barbed wire and snarling dogs.
This week we’re going to talk about the aspects of being a writer (agent… editor… human being…) that just sort of, well, suck.
Let’s start with one of my favorite topics: false hope. Or we could call it “unrealistic hope.” Or simply… counting our chickens.
I’m talking about when you meet with an agent or editor at a conference, you give them a verbal pitch and maybe a one-sheet, and they express interest (maybe even exuberant interest) and you walk away from that meeting feeling like your project is as good as sold! It could also be when an agent or editor requests a partial or a manuscript from a query. Or when your mom, your aunt, and your best friend read your manuscript and give you glowing reviews.
Yes! That’s a really good thing! Be happy!
But realize this is the first of many steps.
If an agent or editor likes your pitch or your query, it’s wonderful, but it means little until they’ve read your actual manuscript – more than just a page or two. You could have the most amazing premise ever to hit the page, but if you haven’t executed it well, it can be rejected by an agent or editor in less than a minute. I’ve seen it happen so many times.
And let’s not forget, once you have an agent (yay!), once the agent has submitted your project to publishers (yay!), once editors have said they love it and they’re taking it to pub committee (yay!)—well, less than half of projects that go to committee get approved. It could all end in heartbreak.
So when good things happen… celebrate! But in the midst of all that celebrating, keep a level head and keep reminding yourself… this is great! But I’m not there yet! I have to keep going!
This is a tough business and we all need stay positive. Part of that is to pay attention to every tiny piece of good news and enjoy it, cling to it, allow yourself to be encouraged by it. (Yay!) But it’s also got to be balanced with reality. And what’s that they say? Sometimes, reality bites.
Let’s try to stay encouraged, but let’s be smart too, so that when things don’t go our way we won’t be completely thrown for a loop but instead can pick ourselves up and keep going.
(Which, conveniently, is the topic of tomorrow’s post.)
Q4U: Have you gotten your hopes up unrealistically high in the past? Did you regret it—or was it what you needed at the time?
© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent