Be Ready for Rejection
Even if someone had told me about this, I’m not sure I would
have believed just how much rejection there would be. I even used Query Tracker
to hone my agent and publisher searches, making sure my manuscript fit what
each agent or publisher was looking for and that I followed their query rules. I
can look back now and smile at how many rejection letters I received for my
first novel, only because there were a few kind agents in the bunch who took
the time to offer brief critiques on what I had submitted.
I would send out 15-20 queries at a time, then I’d wait to
hear back from the literary agents or small press publishers. I didn’t always
get a response, but when I did, it was ultimately a rejection (cue sad music).
With some of those rejections came little nuggets of advice. Trust me, those
nuggets aren’t meant to be mean, they were bits of gold meant to improve my
writing. I took that gold and made revisions. And I made revisions. And I made
revisions. This book was my first attempt at writing a novel and I had a lot to
learn. The rejections were disappointing and hurt at first, but the advice was
necessary, appreciated, and it did make the book better. So I’d say be ready
for rejection and be open to any advice a writing professional offers you.
Be Prepared–the Publishing Process Moves Slowly
Once I received a publishing offer for my first book (woohoo!),
I was slated for edits. There were three rounds of edits that had to fit the
various editors’ schedules. Completing a round of edits does take time.
Fortunately, I am good with deadlines, even when I had to take a chapter and
rewrite it completely. Once that was done, the book went to their graphic
designer for cover art, and it was typeset (set up for printing). The book was then
scheduled for a release date that worked for the publisher and their other book
releases. Plus they had to plan social media events leading up to and for the
week of the release.
My favorite part of this slow-moving process is the cover
art. There’s nothing like getting to see what your “baby” is going to look like
on a bookshelf!
Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams
Dreams do come true, but they may not happen the way you
expected or on your perfect schedule.
After my first book was published, three months later the
publisher went out of business. I was blessed to find another publisher that
was excited to take on my novel along with my second book. My third book was
discovered during a Twitter pitch party. That was a nice surprise. However,
after the book was published the pandemic happened. That publisher suffered
financial losses and went under. The company’s name was purchased by someone
who had their own catalog of books, so that allowed me to take ownership of the
third book. Finally, after years of hoping, I signed with a literary agent for
my fourth book. I worked with her on the edits for that manuscript and it is currently
out on submission to editors and publishers.
When that book went on submission, I finished my fifth book
which is a YA thriller set in coastal South Carolina. There are three sisters,
an exotic garden, and Big Pharma causing lots of deadly trouble. I just love
it. Fingers crossed that my agent finds the best homes for both of these books.
My sixth book idea is being outlined at present. It will be a YA thriller set
in D.C. and it’s going to be super fun to write!
Leigh Goff is an author of three published young adult novels and is represented by Lauren Bittrich. She is working on her next novel, a young adult thriller, while her current manuscript, Wicked Sweet, is on submission.