August 30, 2001

(email subject: got a few more rejections)

Dear creative friends,

Perseverance in the face of rejection may lead to most of lifeís successes, but it is certainly no path of emotional bliss. Since my last update, Iíve been  discouraged, if not downright depressed.

The wonderful editor at HarperSanFrancisco was unsuccessful in persuading the acquisition committee on June 27 to make an offer to buy my novel, Desert  Medicine. Fortunately, the editor was really warm and gentle and told me that my story and characters are strong, but the publicity and marketing heads werenít  sure I could sell enough copies, especially since the company is new to fiction.  She said she really believed in my writing and hoped that I would go out and  find a different publisher, proving her co-workers wrong. She agreed to allow me to use her name as a referral in approaching an agent she admires, but I found  out several weeks later that agent doesnít handle fiction, either.

So, I was back at square one: no agent, no publisher.

Since then, Iíve dabbled at my next novel, set in Nebraska. And Iíve been  sending out novel excerpts to literary journals. So far, only one has published my writing (spring 2001 issue of the Concho River Review contained Chapter 28 of Desert Medicine), but at least I can finally say that my fiction has been published.

I hit another an emotional impasse when I tallied all my rejection letters  from agents and editors = 33! My goal has always been to keep trying, at least until I reach 100 rejections, but knowing I was a third of the way there was disheartening.

I've rallied enough now to be writing you. I sent out several more rounds of letters to agents and packets to editors, so my rejections now total 44.

The good news is that one of the agents, based on a query letter, first  requested chapter 1, and now would like to see 100 pages, which sheíll read when  she returns to the office after Labor Day.

Thankfully, while my writing life has been a roller coaster ride, other parts  of my life have been steady. I have a satisfying part-time job where my work is praised. My husband and sons donít love me any less because Iím unpublished as a novelist. My mother, who has lymphoma, is in remission.

I read the following in Walking on Alligators by Susan Shaughnessy: Hard work is the ultimate refuge. Hard work in the service of your dream is deliverance.  It delivers you from meaninglessness and into the hands of your highest abilities.

Two of my friends from writing courses I've taken over the years have first novels on book shelves.  Be sure to take a look at Judith Ryan Hendrick's Bread  Alone and Joyce Weatherford's Heart of the Beast.

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patient  waiting for Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

see my web site, read an excerpt of Desert Medicine, and sign my guestbook at:

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