I have some exciting news! Today marks the first blog post on JillianQuinnBooks.com. My goal with Confessions of a Romance Author, which is also the name of my author newsletter, is to give you an insight into my writing career, process, publishing history, and ongoing experiences. For those of you who are new to me, I am an Amazon international best-selling romance author known for my sports romance novels. But this blog is not about my books. At times, I will mention my books but only to give you a better understanding of my overall thought process as far as certain aspects of writing and publishing are concerned.
Each week, I will post a new confession. You never know what I’ll write about each week, which adds to the fun. I was a book blogger before I became a published author. Sadly, I don’t have as much time to read as I I’d like now that I’m an author and on a tight publishing schedule. But I miss the blogging community so much, which is why I decided to share my life and career with all of you.
Even Stephen King got rejected and so did I. Let’s talk about Query Letter Tough Love
Rejection sucks! I’m not even going to pretend like it’s fun to get a rejection letter from a literary agent. The first novel I ever wrote is a young adult urban fantasy title Cursed, the first book in The Price of Magic Series. I sent out about 11 query letters to agents, and I think I got back about 9 rejections. Side note: You can tell how impatient I am just by the low amount of query letters I sent out. Most authors send out around 50-100 if not more.
So, what did I do the first time I got a rejection letter?
Lie: I dusted off my tiara and pretended I didn’t care.
Truth: I turned into a total couch troll and shoveled brownies and ice cream down my throat for a few days, all while binge reading and moping around the house. My hair looked like something was living in it after a day or two, and I was a complete mess. I didn’t cry, though. I’m not a crier. Oh, I also got that letter a few days before Christmas…from the agent’s assistant. That was a double slap in the face, the brush-off of all brush-offs.
But here’s the thing. The publishing industry is tough and good writers are rejected every day. Even Stephen King had piles of rejections for his first novel, Carrie, before an agent saw the potential. Every author that attempts traditional publishing goes through the same process. It’s brutal and time consuming.
After the first meltdown, I didn’t mope around the house. I told myself to put my big girl pants on and deal with it. I’m the Queen of Tough Love. I am the hardest on myself and dish out the same advice to others. If you let the rejection get to you, it will keep you from doing what you love and that’s writing. I apply the same logic when I get a bad review for one of my books. People have opinions and they are entitled to them, so you have to figure out a way to deal with it without losing your mind.
I know it can feel as though you’re stranded on an island, all alone and with no one to talk to who understands what it’s like to pour your heart into a book, only to have an agent take one look at your synopsis and send a generic rejection email. You start to wonder if your writing is bad or if you could have presented the idea better. You will doubt yourself because that is a perfectly normal thing to do when you have your work criticized. But you have to keep going. Take the criticism and learn from it.
Your book along with your writing career can stay afloat if you work harder, learn your craft, take advice, and research the hell out of whatever you’re writing. One of the biggest mistakes people make when approaching an agent is not doing their homework. I spent a lot of money on writing and editing courses, worked with several agents and editors, and considered every piece of advice they had given me about the business. If you can’t afford classes or editors, you can learn from the Internet. You can find plenty of good advice online for free as well as at the library.
In the end, I decided to self-publish because I always knew I was geared for this business. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it’s so much more rewarding to go through this on my own and on my own terms. I like the freedom of publshing on my own schedule. I hope this blog post has given you some insight into the beginning of my writing career. This is only the beginning of this blog series.
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