The book that landed me an agent took me two years to write, from conception to final draft. I shuffled it through CPs, a revision program (obligatory shoutout to Author Mentor Match), and an R&R before I got my first offer. It was an exhausting journey, so after I signed the agent-author agreement, I took a short break to recover my author juices before beginning my next book.
I created an 8-page outline, ran it past my agent, started writing— and immediately hit a wall. It wasn’t the productivity vampire called Writer’s Block. The pages flowed naturally, and I knew where I was going with every scene. The wall was more like a gauzy curtain hanging between me and my computer screen. I wrote through the dreariness, sometimes in a haze, and I wondered if what I felt was just an aspect of Post-Querying Life.
After some time of wallowing behind the curtain, a certain tweet appeared on my dashboard. I don’t remember the tweeter or the exact words, but two special words were mentioned, and sirens went off in my head.
The persistent curtain I could never bat aside was Imposter Syndrome. Despite getting into a revision program and signing with an amazing agent, I doubted myself. I had taken two years to make one high-quality book, and half of the time, it seemed luck, not skill, had seen me through.
After identifying my ailment, I was able to tear it apart at the roots— as you do. (The easiest way to defeat problems is to identify them so you can tackled the causes.)
Sure, luck is a key component in the publishing industry (right book, right person, right time), but a larger component is good writing and persistence.
I had been rejected from other revision programs before Author Mentor Match. Were the rejections bad luck? Maybe, but my writing wasn’t the greatest, and my ideal mentor wasn’t in any of those programs. My ideal mentor was someone who wanted my book, and that mentor wasn’t in PitchWars or #RevPit. She was in Author Mentor Match.
I had collected 100+ rejections over two books before signing with my agent. Were those rejections bad luck? Maybe, but my first book was sloppy, and my second book couldn’t appeal to everybody. It was persistence that improved my writing and finished my second book. It was persistence that led me through 100+ agents to Rachel Brooks (BookEnds).
It’s easy to look back and point out all the tiny coincidences and attribute them to luck. But a closer look will show that often, coincidences are results of persistence.
Luck won’t create a top-notch book. That’s the key thing to remember when you’re struggling with a post-querying book. You’ve done it once, and you’ll do it again. You got through with hard work.
You’re not an imposter.
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About the Series:
Now What? is a series dedicated to navigating post-query life and the agent-author relationship. Authors from every stage of their writing career have come together to tell their stories. They understand the struggles of querying and moving forward with an agent and are here to help.
New posts go live every Friday!
Previous Posts in this Series:
How To Come Up with a Marketing Plan for Your Book
Keeping Motivation After Signing with An Agent