Flake-out Friday–When the odds are against you…

As I timidly enter queryland, I’ve been pondering the whole likelihood of landing an agent thing. On multiple sites you see where less than one percent of queries lead to an agent extending an offer to represent a writer.

So why do we even try?

That’s my question to you as I start off the next blog chain.

What keeps you going (either trying to get an agent or to get published or finish that WIP that’s kicking your butt) when you know the odds are stacked way against you?

Sometimes, I don’t know what keeps me going. That’s the honest answer. Other times, I really believe I’ve got something worth publishing and dammit someone’s going to recognize that and help me.

On the down side, I look at the percentage of people trying to get agents versus the number of people who actually do and I get discouraged. Like REALLY discouraged. Even to the point of taking a break from it all.

Well, folks, the last break I took from querying lasted 16 months. Yup, 16! Granted, I spent that time writing my fool head off, honing my skills, learning to outline so I actually end up with a novel that has a plot, and also giving myself the opportunity to learn pacing and patience. (Plus, I renovated a house…not an insignificant feat, LOL!)

I sent out 5 queries this week. Got a rejection in less than 24 hours.

Looks like I’m back in the game.

Means something is keeping me going. I wouldn’t send a query if I didn’t think it would eventually get me somewhere, right?

A passage of scripture states that faith the size of a mustard seed size is enough. You know how small a mustard seed is? Small with a capital “S.” But that’s how hope works.

Okay. Final answer: HOPE keeps me going even though I know the odds are against me.

Check out Shaun’s answer tomorrow to find out how he keeps going.

21 comments on “Flake-out Friday–When the odds are against you…

  1. vixter2010 says:

    I completely empathise with this post Laura, I went through a lot of rejection as well with my first novel and once I’ve finished the second, will be querying all over again. Like you, it’s hope, it’s the dream that makes me want to try again – what if we did get that agent and the book deal etc. If we don’t try we’ll never know 🙂 Good luck!!

  2. Good question! I think all writers need something to keep them going if they want to succeed.

  3. Lynn Rush says:

    Love this. Hope is powerful. Don’t ever lose it.

  4. Hope is a wonderful thing. Also, we write because we have to write. It would be great to have our talent and skill validated, but there are other ways to get published, especially nowadays. So just keep writing and the rest will fall into place.

    Good luck querying! You have plenty of chocolate on hand, right?

  5. Good luck with the querying and don’t give up. The longer I’m a part of the publishing world, trying to make it, the more comfortable I am with the whole subjectivity part. This business is totally subjective. There are writers whose work is brilliant, yet they’re still not agented. Then there are those who have skill and a manuscript but need work, and they find that agent who’s willing to invest in them and make it all happen.

    Keep going forward. If you know a snippet more today then yesterday, you are heading in the right direction. 🙂

  6. Carol Riggs says:

    Yep, good to have that hope. AND to keep writing because you enjoy it and you’re honing your skills, not “just” for publication. I wrote for 10 years and just got an agent last week at last. 🙂 I got one query rejected in 2 HOURS. Yeah, blow to the ego. LOL

    And actually, rejection often has nothing to do with your skills; it’s all about finding the right fit, the right agent who is on your wavelength and who “gets” your story.

  7. lexcade says:

    Nathan Bransford rejected my first ever query in 45 minutes. 😉

    I couldn’t begin to tell you what keeps me going. What’s made me revise the same manuscript about…um 14 times by now? I think it’s a drive, a need. The same thing that drives painters to paint though they may never hang their paintings in a gallery, a musician to play though they may never get out of their parents’ basement, or an actor/actress to act though they may never make it to Hollywood. Validation maybe? I don’t know how to describe it.

  8. I’m with you on this one.

  9. Linda Gray says:

    Been there, Laura! I think two things (besides hoping to be published) keep me going. One is the pleasure of creative productivity—it feels almost like being in love. Second, perspective. Rejection makes it hard to keep a positive attitude if you don’t have a thick skin, but being around other writers, hearing all the stories, making connections, and continuously making the effort not only to write but to query and be part of the community, DO create a sense of understanding and perspective that sustain a person. After many years I finally ‘get it’ about how important the journey is. That’s where the fulfillment actually is. Publication would be oh-so-lovely icing on the cake, but nothing brings pleasure like being fully engaged in the journey.

  10. Kendall Grey says:

    We persevere because we believe in ourselves and our writing. Every rejection is a smack in the face, but somehow we find the strength (or is it stubbornness?) to continue on, taking hit after hit. At some point, I think we either have to say, “Okay, I’ll call ‘uncle,'” or “I’m gonna try a different approach” – whether it’s writing something new, pursuing self-publication, or settling for something less than we hoped for.

    You know my thoughts on this topic, and I stand firm with my own decisions, even though they sometimes scare the fool out of me. You have to do what’s best for you and your novel. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

  11. Michelle H. says:

    Great question! It can get so discouraging. But there’s just something itching at us to keep going.

  12. I’m the same as you on this. I’m wrapping up my manuscript this month and next month will be sweating on the query and synopsis. Maybe writers have some weird gene.

    Happy Friday.

  13. roguemutt says:

    Hope sucks. If I could quash foolish hope once and for all I would.

  14. Christine Fonseca says:

    I love this post…and man, such the perfect topic for this round.

  15. Laura!!! *HUGS*

    First, you should always try because you WILL land an agent. I promise. Before you know it, one will snag you and you’ll feel like a doggie finally catching the car. That’s how I felt when my publisher said yes to Darkspell.

    I got so sick to my stomach because I wasn’t expecting it. It took me about a week to finally come to terms that it is okay to step out of my comfort zone of my query days.

    Three words of advice: Never. Give. Up.


    YA Paranormal Romance Darkspell coming soon!


  16. Good luck being back in the game.

    For me, it’s intuitive. After some undetermined number of rejections, after changing the manuscript and query around, and still rejections, I move on.

  17. Lydia K says:

    Hope is everything! Hugs on the R, Laura. That’ll be me soon, too.

  18. Nas says:

    After my recent R, I did not open that file and neither have I courage to look and see what can be improved.

    Where do I get the courage and hope to move forward?

    Sorry to be a rain…

  19. […] Posted on May 9, 2011 by Christine Fonseca Blog Chain time again! This question comes from Laura, who asked: What keeps you going (either trying to get an agent or to get published or finish that […]

  20. I admire all of you who are out there in the querying phase. That takes so much courage. I’m not there yet, so thankfully I don’t have to think about it (much). This is a great answer though, and a question I’ll have to think about a bunch before my turn comes up. There is one quote (from Shawshank Redemption) that your post reminds me of:

    “Hope is a good thing, perhaps the best of things.”

    Nice job and keep at it. Your hope and efforts will bear fruit in time.

  21. […] chain time again. This time it was started by Laura. She […]

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