I recently had to make a tough decision in my writing journey.
After spending four years writing and revising a manuscript, entering almost every writing contest with it (and not getting in), two solid rounds of cold querying, and 55+ form rejections later…I finally shelved a piece of my heart.
This was not easy.
This was not easy.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter for awhile, you probably have seen my pitches or even helped me critique this story along the way. My feedback was always a mixed bag and at some point, I knew where this might be headed.
My story, A FEATHER’S FORCE, is a YA portal fantasy about a girl who finds out she’s from another realm and only raised human to stay safe from a grandfather, who wants to steal her powers. Here’s a pitch from the past:
Ember can’t deal with her new siphoning ability let alone glowing tattoos crawling up her arms. But when her other superhuman friend is kidnapped for the king’s next experiment, she must embrace her true self or her friend dies.
#PitMad #YA #F DARKEST MINDS set in sword & sorcery
I believed in this story so bad and for so long. In the last few years, I also wrote several other YA and MG stories, some of which are only outlines and unfinished.
However, knowing when to shelve a finished manuscript after years of writing, revising, and querying is one of the hardest decisions in a writer’s journey. This manuscript has been through so much and I tried so hard to keep it going. I finally made one final push in querying it December 2017 through February 2018. What did I do during the waiting period? I became a CP for a new friend, offered a book giveaway for new releases, tried to blog more, and wrote a brand new story – one that’s been in my heart and mind for years. And it’s TOTALLY different. It’s an adult mystery and I adore it!
That day I finally decided to shelve my YA portal fantasy was a day I received my 57th form rejection. I wallowed. I drank some wine. I binged television. I read a couple books.
Then I picked myself back up because PERSISTENCE! I also fell madly in love with my brand new story. So, here’s to the next leg of my writing journey and I can’t wait to see what’s around the bend!
Every leg of your journey will teach you things. Here’s some of what I’ve learned so far:
- Timing is everything in publishing
- Be patient. Seriously!
- How to be a good Critique Partner for other writers
- Wrap your arms around your close writing friends
- The value of CPs and beta readers in your writing journey
- NEVER GIVE UP! (but it’s okay to take a break)
- Giving back to the writing community is important – whether you’re giving away books, critiques, or anything that’s encouraging and helping other writers succeed
- How to craft a Twitter pitch and prepare a submission package
- Celebrate the small stuff – whether it’s positive feedback or achieving your word count or even a shiny new story idea
- How to pitch to agents and editors face-to-face, get excellent feedback, and requests for pages
- How to revise – especially in removing filter words and passive voice
- How to OUTLINE
- How to accept rejections and learn from them