The Truth About Rejection: Part 3 (Now What?)
So what happens when the industry rejects you or you reject the industry? What is a writer to do when no major publishing house wants to sign them, for whatever reason. Twenty years ago, there wasn’t much you could do but lick your wounds and try again, but nowadays, we have this thing called the Internet which has given rise to the self-published author and a myriad of small presses, both in print and online.
A quick True/False quiz:
1. Self-published books are vanity publications.
FALSE. Many self-published authors are professionals with other projects published by mainstream media. Many authors, especially those with large followings, choose the self-published route because of the artistic freedom, fast turnaround and increased share of the profits.
2. Self-publishing is easy!
FALSE. Self-publishing is neither easy nor necessarily inexpensive. Any project worth its cover price should have been professionally edited and formatted for e-book and print with an eye-catching cover. Unless you’re an expert in several fields, you’re going to need to pay someone to do some or all of those things. The costs quickly add up.
3. Self-publishing is lucrative.
MAYBE. Like any venture, you get out of it what you put into it. If you simply put a book up on Amazon and sit back to let the profits roll in, you’ll be sitting there for a while, broke. You still need to promote your work, build a fan base, outreach, and build relationships in the reading community. All those things that a publisher may do for you or in conjunction with you, you must do yourself.
4. Self-published authors can earn enough to make a living.
TRUE. Some self-published books go on to be bestsellers by mainstream media. Some self-published authors make enough profit from their books to quit their day job and isn’t that the dream of all artists?
Speaking of dreams, we can’t talk about rejection without also talking about expectations. When I started out, I had visions of fat gold stickers, movie deals, and the New York Times Bestsellers list. I still have those dreams, but in the meantime, I set goals that are within reach and under my control. If you’re consistently falling short of your goals as an artist, maybe it is time to adjust your expectations for yourself.
These are the questions I ask myself:
Is what I’m doing making me happy?
Is it important?
Is there anything I’d rather be doing?
When I ask myself these questions, everything else becomes somewhat irrelevant. I’m an artist. My medium is the written word. I write fiction, specifically in the YA genre because I identify with those readers more than any other. I will always write in some capacity because it’s good for my mental health. I’ve got many more years to produce great stories. I will endure many more rejections. One day, I’ll make it.
Or maybe, I already have.
Maybe you have too.
Laura Lascarso is the author of RACING HEARTS, an e-novella series, which tells the story of two star-crossed lovers set in the world of competitive car racing. Her debut YA novel COUNTING BACKWARDS, which deals with mental illness, won the Florida Book Award gold medal for YA literature in 2012. Laura lives in North Florida with her two children, darling husband and a menagerie of animals. Follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso