Writers need a thick skin

So, you have written, edited and re-edited your book. You have prepared a killer query letter that is burning in your hands, ready to be sent to a full list of agents and/or publishing companies.

You wait five to eight weeks and eventually receive a note saying: “Sorry, not interested”, or “too busy right now”, or “already have a few contracts in this genre”. That is if you receive any response at all. Every once in a while the agent will ask you to send the full manuscript. You get more than excited and start dreaming about your book cover, your back cover picture and book signings around the world!

Weeks pass and you are afraid to call because they might get upset and reject you even if they were interested. You fear the rejection so we continue to wait. The rejection finally arrives and our dreams collapse.

For those who have been there, please know that even renown authors have been rejected on their first try, and many more times after that!

Kathryn Sockett – The Help – 60 times

Pearl S. Buck – The Good Earth – 14 times

Joseph Heller – Catch 22 – 22 times (must be a sign!)

John Grisham – A Time to Kill – 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up publishing it himself!)

Chicken Soup for the Soul – 33 times

Dr. Seuss – 24 times

Jack London – 600 times before his first story

The important thing is that all these writers kept trying and kept writing.

However, the options over the last ten years have grown exponentially. Self-publishing, among other options, is now available to anybody with access to basic technology. Moreover, many of our famous classic writers self-published and marketed their books out of the trunk of their car or off the back of the horse carriage. Here are a few of them:

Deepak Chopra

Gertrude Stein

Zane Grey

Mark Twain

Bernard Shaw

Ezra Pound

Virginia Wolff 

Edgar Allen Poe

e.e. Cummings

Henry David Thoreau

Benjamin Franklin

Alexandre Dumas

William E.B. DuBois

Should you decide this may be the route you take with your work, you follow in the footsteps of some of our greatest authors. Just know that whichever path you choose, you can always transit back to one of the other paths, and soon we may have even more options as our world expands faster and farther than we can imagine.


Source of information: Dona Lee Gould – “Plotting Success”


Virginia Victorio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: