I’m still in the waiting zone right now, with regard to my novels. Last month I sent off a batch of submissions to various literary agencies and the responses are gradually trickling in…sadly thus far in the form of standardised rejection slips! At this point I’m quite familiar with them. But I have received some encouraging words as well, including one agent who told me my work was imaginative and well-written, just not what they were looking for. Another agent scrawled the word ‘promising’ after she signed the rejection slip, which definitely lessened the blow. I appreciate the encouragement so much, especially when it’s such a long, hard and discouraging slog. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when it’s as hard to get an agent and/or publisher.
When I was younger, I had a great many romanticised notions of what it was to be a writer. The reality of it is as far removed from those rose-tinted preconceptions as can be. In reality, it’s a long, hard, solitary endeavour, with little in the way of external support, and it calls for a great deal of courage, conviction and discipline (perhaps even obsession!) on the part of the writer. The courage is necessary to surmount your insecurities and self-doubts in order to externalise your inner world, dreams and most cherished imaginings into a tangible body of work that will then be shared with other people.
The moment you attempt to get the ‘Industry’ involved (here, read my work! Like my work! Publish my work!), you immediately open yourself to being shot down. The Industry is cutthroat and cruel. Even writers that are successfully published are chewed up and spat out, ten a penny. The Industry doesn’t care about your feelings, or how much of your heart and soul you’ve invested in that pile of printed pages. All it cares about is its marketability and monetary potential. To say the odds are stacked against you is the understatement of the century.
Yet we persevere. Writers delve within and endeavour to share something of themselves with the world: something they feel for whatever reason needs to be shared. They endure the hardships and the brutal knocks and in the end, they get there. In some respects it’s becoming easier than ever for writers to get their words out into the world now that ebooks and Kindle are taking over the publishing world. This is an avenue I’m certainly considering, although like many new writers, I first want to try going the traditional route. We’ll see how it goes. I’m endeavouring to embody the karma yoga mindset: the action is up to me, but the results are not up to me. I remain optimistic and hopeful, yet detached. I know I’ll get my books out there into the world and it’ll be in the perfect way, at the perfect time…