|Maybe I'd do better if I had a Hatori Hanzo blade...|
Then I read stories like the one about Kathryn Stockett, author of bestselling novel The Help, and how she'd submitted her manuscript 60 times and had it rejected each and every time (some of those rejections, in fact, were pretty damn mean), until the 61st. After that, her life changed dramatically. It's times like this when I realize how much of a wimp I truly am. I haven't submitted anything 60 times.
In fact, if you total the number of submissions I've made for the two novels I've submitted to the market thus far, the total is probably still only half that. I stopped submitting after the tenth or twelfth rejection on either book, and really, that's just ridiculous. Shameful, even. Instead of enduring more possible rejection, I've moved on to the next project, treated the stuff I've "given up on" as ebook material.
In fact, I'm pretty sure a lot of the ardent defenses I make about self-publishing stem from the hurt of my rejections, and my desire to seek shelter from the barbs of ruthless competition. And although I am fully in agreement about a lot of the arguments made in favor of independent e-publishing vs print, and how I don't think the traditional market does many authors any favors, there is no denying that I'm engaging in the use of defense mechanisms. That I've considered the route of self-publishing due to my sometimes crippling fear of rejection. At least, if I sell poorly on Amazon or Smashwords, I can simply say it's because it's harder for an indie author to stand out in the crowd. It's certainly not because of my writing. Not because of my ideas.
It's comforting to think that way, even if in reality what I'm doing is selling myself short. Taking the easy road.
I've decided that it's time to start setting higher thresholds of professional pain for myself. I need to work harder. Oh, I'll keep e-publishing. In fact, I fully stand behind the quality of what I have to offer on the marketplace, and I'm very proud of that work. But I need to be more dogged in my attempts to work the other half of the market. The one where legends are still born, despite the sad stories we hear daily about the publishing market.
I need to get bloody, and then, when I'm sure I can't take it anymore, I need to go even further. My heart has not given up the idea of a book deal. I need to fucking stop acting like it and show what I'm really made of, because I've treated my sensibilities far too lightly.
I have not yet begun to fight. But that ends now. Where's my sword?