Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


Abstract Thoughts has been updated with Heartbreaking Business. If you've ever wanted to know what it is to be an author, this is what it is like.

Heartbreaking Business
The business of being a fiction author is truly a heartbreaking business. It is so much harder than I ever thought possible. On a regular basis, you put your hopes and dreams out there on the display, only for them to be dashed into a million pieces. For me, I have a good cry, pick up the pieces and get to work to putting the pieces of the dream back together - again and again. It is much like fixing Humpty-Dumpty over and over. Only to have this loveable character fall off the wall - again - and watching while it happens.

But, sometimes... sometimes, your stories don't fall. Sometimes they soar and you soar with them. The more they soar, the more you want to soar and the higher you try to fly. And the harder you fall.

The highs are so damn good that they make the falls worth it. In retrospect. When the fall is fresh, it's more than just bone broken. It's your mind, your heart, your ego. Even the good rejections hurt. Later, after a time, I'll be able to look back at this most recent one and smile.

"You are talented and obviously a prolific writer."

"This is a tough decision for me, but..."

"... you'll have no trouble finding an agent that sees what I do which is a superior talent on her way to the front tables of my local book shop!"

In time, I will look at these words later and smile. I will be grateful for them. But, right now, I am shattered. Every edge hurts. Every demon is screaming at me. Every tear is salty on my face. My hand is firmly stapled to my forehead and I feel overly dramatic "woe is me" prose coming on.

I'm going to wallow in this. I've earned it. I was just rejected by one of the top agents in the business because of various reasons but... BUT... she believes I have talent. She had to think about it. She read two of my manuscripts. All the way through. Some people never get that far. So, yes, I am going to wallow and cry and feel this pain all the way to its end.

Then, I'm going to pick myself back up. Dry my tears, remove my stapled hand from my forehead, tell the demons to shut the hell up and start picking up the pieces of my dream again. Because I have to. Because I have a plan. I always have a plan. I always have next step in case what I'm doing falls through. I have to. In this business, you have to. If you don't, you'll fail before you begin.

The thing that keeps me going and will keep me going is the fact that I love to write. I love to tell stories and I will write no matter what else happens. I also have victories to remember. I've co-written three books. Two of them come out this year. I've sold my anthology, the thing I conceived and nurtured for years. It will be published in July 2009. I've been invited to write for anthologies. I have victories. They are awesome victories. They make me proud. They make me feel validated as an author. I -am- an author. Not just someone who dreams about it.

That's why this particular fall is so hard for me right now. That's why I cry while I write these words. That's why, tomorrow morning, I will pull myself up by my bootstraps and keep on keeping on. I will succeed. I know it. I just can't give up. Not now. And I won't.

But that does not stop this from being a heartbreaking business. One that will break my heart again and again. And, yet, like a fool, I will keep on trying. I can't help myself.

It hurts.

I heal myself by writing.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:12 am (UTC)

Jun. 27th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
I imagine it's much the same thing in making films..except , of course, that I'm nowhere near the level of success that you are :) And you're right, you've earned that grief. Clutch it, use it, keep it as long as you need to. And then do what you are doing, have been doing, and will be doing, just lke you said : pull yourself back up, and keep at it.

I'm sympathetic to your pain, and I hope it will only serve to make the successes that much more intense. You ROCK.
Jun. 27th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
I think your last two lines say it all.

Rejections... there's no words for them really and the higher we reach the bigger the chances.

It is one of the things I love about you though, that you know no limits, you just go as high as you can go and take what comes.

My motto is a line from a Smashing Pumpkins song:

"I won't deny the pain"

Pin that rejection over the desk and use it as motivation (not that you need any of that...)
Jun. 27th, 2008 09:06 am (UTC)
(much sympathy)

Jun. 27th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
Jun. 27th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)

Your last two lines made me smile though. Because it's just so evocative of who you are.
Jun. 27th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't make it with that agent, but you point out some very important silver linings. /hugs
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 27th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
If you like. Yes. Shall I re-post this there?
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 27th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
Hey there
For what it’s worth, I have some advice about getting a literary agent.

It’s quite hard to get one through traditional means, as you yourself have experienced. You submit a book, they like it, but they’re still not sure. You submit the book to another agent, they read it, and decline as well. Repeat ad infinitum.

If, however, you can find a publisher for said book, it’s much easier. You simple write to a few agents and say, “Hi. I just sold X book. I’m looking for someone to negotiate the contract and look after my interests. Would you be interested?”

I did this, and within two days, I had three agents email me back. It's how I got my agent, and I know a few other writers who did the exact same thing. It’s like the super secret backdoor trick. All the hard work is done, so the agents are much more easily convinced. And then you have them for your next books.

The problem, of course, is that a lot of publishers will only accept submissions from a literary agent. There are still many that don’t require it, however, so you may want to try this.
Jun. 27th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey there
Interesting. Go straight to the publishers?
Jun. 27th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey there
Yep, that's what I did. I kept trying to get an agent by submitting to them directly, but I only got one afterI got a publisher for one of my books. I'm not saying to stop submitting to agents, just that it might be worth it to submit to publishers as well. It worked for me, and I only tried it after reading how it worked for other writers as well.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )