Welcome, Insecure Writer's Support Group friends!
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
An agent or editor replies to your submission, saying, "We love the story, but..." or "We love your characters, but..." or "We love your writing, but..." or "We came close to saying yes, but..."
You hyperventilate and want to shout, "If you like this, this and this, WHY ARE YOU SAYING NO?"
*bang head on wall*
*take a deep breath*
*pick drywall chunks and paint chips off forehead*
If you've been at this writing thing for a while, you've probably had some close calls. And if you haven't had any yet, you will.
I've had close calls. At first I was frustrated, thinking OMG, I can't believe how close I was. I sulked because my "almost" became a "no, thanks." But then a lightbulb snapped on over my head and I realized, OMG, I just had a close call!
It's all about attitude. How can close calls work in our favor? How can we handle them without frustration? Here are my thoughts:
- Recognize close calls as signs you're on the right path. Your work is getting read. It's been noticed. Something about it sparked interest. No, it wasn't right for a particular agent or editor, but that doesn't mean it's not good. A close call reminds you that your manuscript has merit. You just haven't found the right love match yet.
- Use close calls to fuel your dedication. Were you feeling defeated before your close call? Did the close call make you feel worse? Please, please turn that around. Use the close call as motivation to dig back in and keep sending out your work. Repeat after me: it came close, it came close, it came close. You have no idea how close you really are. Seriously. Need more rah rah? Check out my post, Don't Quit at the One Yard Line.
- Use close calls as opportunities to sharpen your submission. If the agent or editor gave you specific reasons why they said no, hooray! Consider using those notes to beef up your query, pitch, or manuscript. Tired of reading your own story? Set it aside, read a great book, then come back to your manuscript with fresh eyes and perspective. You'll fall in love with it all over again.
One agent, editor, or contest will not break your book. However, one agent, editor or contest can make your book. If we let close calls get us down, and stop sending out the work, how will we ever know what could've been?
Remember: it came close, it came close, it came close.
Have you had close calls yet? Did they frustrate you or inspire you? If you're published, how many close calls did you have before you got the call?