My friend Cinda Chima posted on a listserv her advice to someone who needed encouragement. I found it very helpful so wanted to share. Here it is, in part:
“I once believed that all my troubles would end once I found an agent/found a publisher/launched a book/made a list of one kind or another. What I’ve learned is that each step along the way brings a whole new set of challenges.
“And yet–it is a step along the way, and something to celebrate. Having a good agent puts you many miles ahead on the road to publication.
“I probably have twenty rejections on file from publishers for my various books. I keep them, because they remind me of that journey. I have 7 or 8 for The Warrior Heir, including correspondence from an editor who strung me along for a year before rejecting it. At the time, it was emotionally shattering–I cried for days–but now I know it was the best thing that could have happened. I ended up at a better house, with a better editor. The Warrior Heir became the first in a bestselling series.
“It’s easy to demonize agents and editors, but they are only human. They need to find good books, but it’s a subjective, crazy process. Editors reject books for many reasons other than the quality of the ms–it may have to do with what else is on their list, etc etc. I know editors who’ve rejected bestsellers, and lived to regret it. And, yet–they were likely not the right editors for that book, because your editor has to believe in the project and partner with you to make it as good as it can be.”
I think the take away message is: keep writing, keep networking, keep going if you want to succeed.