Lately, I've been writing query letters. It's been a little bit of a thrill, putting the names of actual real-life agents and publishing houses before my one-paragraph pitch ... but it's also terrifying. When the book is just a concept, or a rough draft, you can dream big, because there's no one there to stop you. Writing query letters is the first step to realizing my dream of getting published, but it's also a reminder that soon, I'll be opening myself up to reality; the reality being that most of the people who read my one-paragraph pitch are going to say no. Some of them won't reply at all. And if you think about that too long, it's easy to get discouraged.
I spend so much time trying to fight back against people who think I can't do this ... even though I haven't sent out a single query letter out yet, I try to talk about my book like it's my job, partially because I hope that some day it is, and partially because I am trying so hard to make people understand how important this is to me. I try to hold my own work with as much respect as I'd like to receive from others, but it doesn't always work out the way I'd like it to. A lot of people think that it's a bit of a joke, a fad, maybe a hobby or a stage or something that I'll grow out of once I hit the real world.
And it stings. It's not easy to take the teasing of others when it's so clear that they don't understand that they're poking at a particularly fragile piece of who I am. It makes me feel like I have something to prove, like I want to work twice as hard to publish Seeing Voices just to show people that I did it, after all. But I don't want it to be like that. I don't want to go down the publishing road because I have something to prove ... I don't want to get this book published for someone else. I want to do it for myself - and out of a desire to share this story that I love with others.
I don't want to turn around, years in the future, and realize that I put so much work into this just to impress people who didn't understand. I want to let them go, right now - stop caring about what they think and keep working hard because I believe in this book ... because I think this is worth something.
So, I'll keep writing query letters. Someday soon I'll send them away, and at first, all I'll get back are rejections. But I'm going to keep going ... and even if it doesn't work this time, I'm going to write another book, and someday, I'll be sending off query letters for that one, too. The point is, I'm going to keep writing - because I love it, and because I don't do it to win success or brownie points or impress people. I'm doing this because I think it's important, full stop. And I'm not going to let a few days of discouragement hold me back.
What is important to you? What are you willing to fight for even when other people don't understand? Please share!