Earlier this week, I was deleting a rejection email, and I decided to go back and read the nice rejection. It still stung to read it again, but I thought the agent had a lot of really good points. I started thinking about some of the things I needed to do.
My biggest concern should be to increase my platform, and I try to brainstorm ideas every day of how to do that. I'm a contributor on a blog that talks about zombies, and I try to make appearances in various places to talk about zombies. I try to promote myself and my work, but I have to have people to promote it too. I'm trying to get more focused on my audience and find like-minded people. In this case, that means finding more zombie nuts. That shouldn't be hard, but it will take some time.
Another suggestion was to increase book sales for the work I already have done and to increase my blog traffic. The agent's suggestion was to increase it into the 5,000+ range. It's a really great suggestion, and one I took to heart, but I also had to be honest with myself. How am I going to do that? I work a full-time job and have a family to take care of. I try to devote time to promotion, but there just aren't enough hours in a day. And I'm not exactly swimming in extra income, either. I'll be honest, I've totally thought about quitting my day job and devoting all of my time to books, but it's not feasible. I want to make sure my family is taken care of and provided for.
I think the hardest part of reading that rejection was that it made me feel like I wasn't doing enough. It made me feel like I was cutting myself short by having a real job and needing to take care of my family. It made me feel like my books should be the only important thing in my life and if they weren't, then I had failed my dream.
Don't get me wrong, my books are incredibly important to me. I want to see them go out into the world and be enjoyed and have thousands and millions of people read them. But I have to ask myself if that's really possible. I read almost daily about how the world is inundated with millions of books and authors everywhere are struggling to get them to be seen. The advent of the ebook changed the publishing industry, and so did self-publishing.
The fact of the matter is that becoming a bestseller requires a lot of work and a lot of luck. I put my work in, but probably not as much as I should. Yes, again, my books are important, but they're not more important than my family. I'm sure there's a balance that can be struck somewhere, I just need to find it.
The other question the agent raised in my mind is one I've struggled with and thought about many times and that deals with my success. This agent wanted me to wait 1-2 years to allow my previous books to sell, and then I could query again. I'm not a very patient person, and a 1- to 2-year wait is like a sentence in Hell for me. Why would I wait 1-2 years when I have a publisher who is willing to take the book now? Plus, in that time frame, there's absolutely no guarantee that my other books will sell the way the agent wants them too. AND what if in 2 years the agent totally changes her mind?
It's completely and totally possible that my impatience is part of the reason I haven't "made it big." But on the other hand, there are no guarantees I will make it big. There's no guarantees in 2 years agents/publishers will be clamoring for this book. Life is too freaking short to not see my work released into the world, and I have opportunities to do that NOW. I'm all about instant gratification.
There's so many things that go into creating book. And the hardest part isn't even getting the damn thing written. I sent out my last round of queries on Monday, and I'm still waiting to get the manuscript back from the editor, so I have some time to see how things will play out. I always have so many questions about my careers and dreams and constantly wonder if I'm doing something wrong. I have no easy answers for any of them. But that's life. The only thing I can do is hold my chin up high and be proud of what I've accomplished thus far. And I am.