They say, “no news is good news,” but I don’t believe that’s true when it comes to writers and submissions. When a writer submits their work, they’re almost always informed that “because of the number of submissions we receive, we only respond to those we’re interested in . . . ” or some similar jargon. Thus, no news is bad news.
I think it’s only right to share that I only submitted my intriguing novel of death and life, Terrebonne Parish, to nine agencies. I have a list of approximately 20 literary agents and publishing companies I should be submitting to. I just haven’t. I don’t have a good reason why. It just hasn’t been in me lately. Something has changed that I can’t quite explain.
In fact, today I opened Terrebonne Parish just to read on. I found myself walking with Karla and Helen, the soft moss of the woods moist on our bare feet, wondering where the moon-lit night might be leading us. For a while, it was just the three of us.
I liked that.
As always, I made a few grammatical changes — rearranging words that mean the same thing, then putting them back the way they were, wondering why I messed with them in the first place; then, changing it all back again.
Maybe, I tell myself, I’m not ready to share Terrebonne Parish. Maybe that’s why I’m not motivated to submit it to more publishers. Or maybe, I reply, I’m afraid of further rejection; as we’ve already established, no news is bad news. Nine submissions. One rejection. Eight “no news.” That translates to nine rejections.
Nine is nothing, really. Rumor has it that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected twelve times. William P. Young’s The Shack, which was recently adapted into a movie starring Sam Worthington, Octavi Spencer and Tim McGraw, was rejected so many times that Young self-published the book. A little over a year later, it peaked on the USA Today and New York Times Best Seller lists with more than 20 million copies having been sold to date.
Nine is nothing.
Rejection is nothing, either. Rejection is easy. It doesn’t bother me in the least. If you were to ask me which is my biggest fear: to fail or succeed, I would tell you it is to succeed. I smile now, because some potential publisher or literary agent just tucked tail and ran, thinking success scares me — that I won’t be able to keep up with the demand success requires — but that’s not the case, at all. Fear has many stimulates.
I have a gift. Of course.
Everyone has a gift.
Not everyone is lucky enough to discover what their gift is, but they nonetheless have one. I happen to be one of the lucky ones who’s very clear on what I’m meant to do here on planet Earth. Like a painter sees colors on a white canvas, like a musician hears notes on the wind, and like a mother simultaneously maintains a home and a smile, I gather words and rearrange them to mean something. Sometimes, those words only mean something to me; but sometimes, those words find meaning world wide. My fear is that I don’t know where to draw the line — I don’t know what’s meant just for me and what’s meant to be shared.
No matter. I made a commitment to you that I’d share Terrebonne Parish, and I intend to keep that promise. Lucky you if I don’t get on the ball fishing for agents. Lucky me if I get to share it with you for free. Unlucky agents who never had a chance.
Watch book trailer for Terrebonne Parish here.