Met with my monthly critique group last night. And was saddened to know that one member wouldn’t be joining us. She recently received a critique/rejection from an agent, and she was pretty much crushed by it. She said she doesn’t feel that she can critique other people’s work when her own wasn’t up to this agent’s standards.
I tried to change her mind, of course. To tell her that everyone’s opinion matters and that she does us all a great service with her critiquing.
But she didn’t change her mind and come.
And I started to wonder — why do we let agents and editors determine so much of our self-worth as writers? Sure, I know everybody wants to sell and see their pride and joy in a bookstore. I’m no different. I’m practically counting down the days until Karma Girl is out (it’s something like 230, not that I’m obsessing or anything). Everybody wants to be the next Nora Roberts. Everybody wants to hit the bigtime.
But I got over 200 hundred rejections for three different books before I got my fabulous agent (Hi, Kelly!) and my terrific editor (Hi, Cindy!). Some of those rejections were nice. Some were impersonal. And some were just mean.
I think the worst one I got said something like this: I love your voice andÂ premise.Â But as I’m sure you’ve already placed this, I’m going to have to pass.
Um, no, I hadn’t placed it. That’s why I wasted my 39 cents, paper, ink, envelope, etc.Â and mailed it to you. Geez.
I tried to tell my critique buddy some of my horror stories and to encourage her to submit to other people. That one person’s opinion isn’t going to make (or in this case) break her. But I haven’t changed her mind. Yet.
So, I think we should all remember this — writing a book, no matter how good or bad it is, is an amazing accomplishment. It’s something that everybody says they’re going to do, but only like 1 percent of the population ever does. So, be proud of yourself, even if all your book ever does is collect dust bunnies under your bed. I’ve got a few manuscripts down there with you, too.
What about you? Do you live and die by what agents and editors say? Or do you feel a sense of accomplishment no matter what? Inquiring minds want to know …