Scrolling back through my old blog posts, I stop at one and check the date. 18th February, 2022. Just over a year ago, now. The post is called “Reigniting the Spark”, and it laments the fact that I have struggled with motivation to write, particularly since finishing The Suffering and entered into the query phase. I’d been submitting queries for months at that point, and was disheartened to say the least.
Although I felt bad that I hadn’t been writing anything new, I rationalised that it could be the universe’s way of telling me not to flit from project to project the way I usually did. To really see out the process and focus on getting The Suffering to as many agents and publishers as possible. And, boy, was I trying! As most of you who have gone through the querying phase know, it’s a bleak process. You submit with high hopes, silencing the voice of doubt by convincing yourself that you “have a good feeling about this one!” only for the inevitable rejection to come back a few weeks later.
When Wicked House Publishing opened its doors last year, I was pretty much at the end of my rope with The Suffering. Perhaps it wasn’t as good as I hoped it was. In fact, perhaps it was terrible! A book that nobody would ever want, and—worse—that nobody would ever get to read. I felt as though I must have been completely deluded when I closed my laptop after the final edit and declared with confidence, “I think this is pretty good!”
I remember when I saw the call-out for Wicked House submissions. It was a Sunday, and I was in the middle of a regular bout of burnout that made me stop to consider whether I could be bothered heading to my laptop to make the query attempt. I was feeling quite down-and-out, and more than a little hopeless about the whole thing. But, something made me haul my ass off the couch and spend the afternoon at the kitchen table, preparing my query and making sure my synopsis and opening chapters were as good as they’d ever been. I hit the submit button. By that point, I was way past “I have a good feeling about this one!” and instead prepared myself for rejection.
But it never came. A full manuscript request was sent instead. And, a few months later, an offer of publication.
Now, just over a year from posting a disheartened blog about fighting for motivation, I’m holding The Suffering in my hands. It’s being read around the world, and many of the reviews have been more positive than I could have ever dreamed.
It would have been so easy for me to give up on The Suffering after receiving months of rejections. It’s hard, and if you’re experiencing something similar with your manuscript at the moment, I feel for you and send you virtual hugs and strength. Self-belief can only be sustained so long when multiple professionals in the business are telling you they don’t want your book. But here’s the proof that it only takes that one lucky shot. Never stop fighting for it. Haul your ass off the couch and make that submission!
Because one day it will be for the last time. And for all the right reasons.