Friday, April 1, 2011

You SUCK! (Or I’m Okay, You’re a Terrible Writer)

Written by j.a. kazimer last April 2010...

You Suck! Part I


How many people have to say you suck before you give up your dream of writing, and ‘get a real’ job? One? Ten? A hundred? Five hundred? How about 1,000? Congratulations to me, I officially suck!


Recently, I received the dreaded 1,000 rejection. Neatly typed in a form letter. It read something like: YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK! Or at least that’s what the words, formed so prettily, said to me. Now mind you, 1,000 people haven’t told me that I suck. THAT would be humiliating. Nope, faceless emails from faceless agents, editors and interns at publishing houses have had that honor. And it must be an honor, because, well, I hear it so damn much!


And it doesn’t get any better once you land an agent. Not even a little bit. You see, my rejection is now a shared endeavor. Not only do I suck, but my poor agent sucks by proxy. Thankfully, when I signed my agent agreement, we agreed on a YOU SUCK clause. In other words, she doesn’t send me every rejection letter. She does pass along the ones that offer suggestions, or say nice things. I really hate those. You know the ones. They say stuff like LOVED your voice, LOVED the characters, LOVED the plot, but the young adult-urban fantasy-serial killer-one-armed detective market just isn’t selling right now...


Go figure.


But you know what? One day it will, and then I’ll plaster the walls of my multi-million dollar mansion (thanks to my 7,000 book deal) with every rejection letter, email, and smoke signal ever received.


Or not.


Either way, rejection can’t kill you. Oh, it can sting and make you cry like a little kid, but it won’t kill you. You will live on to stare at a blank screen. To wonder how to arrange the perfect scene. To stage the perfect murder. To write another manuscript about vampire girl scouts with the ability to sell cookies at lightening speed.


When your next rejection letter comes, and it will, even famous authors are rejected sometimes, open it up, read it slowly aloud in your best I SUCK voice, and hit delete. Then pop open your word processor, and start writing...


‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for selling cookies. Thin Mints won’t sell themselves...’ I think I’m on to something...


April 2011...


You SUCK! Part II


Alas, I wasn’t onto anything. But as I sit at my computer, today, right now, this very minute, I can say that a lot has changed in one year. Sure, the Girl Scout, one armed serial killer thing didn’t quite work out, but a couple of other books did. As I write this post, I am finally a published author; in fact, by this time next year I will have three books in print, with a fourth on its way. I’m not saying this to brag. I swear. Okay, maybe just so you'll like me...


But really I’m telling you this because realizing your publication dream can take a split second, a chance encounter, a bit of luck. For so long I thought that I sucked and had the rejections to prove it (and while I still suck in plenty of ways), I don’t suck at telling a story. And neither do you. So take a chance, send out that 1035th query letter, risk it all, because you too can be writing from your freshly purchased mansion decorated in rejection letters.


Okay, more like a cardboard box under a viaduct off Speer, but that’s not the point, persistence makes us great writers (and stalkers). So keep trying until Janet Reid has to take a restraining order out on you! BTW, anyone know a good lawyer?

12 comments:

Ron at CM said...

Julie, You Don't Suck!

However, that Gusto Dave guy...

Cheap shot trick to get people to come and read this crappy blog...

He shouldn't have told everybody in the world that this was the very last post. A dirty trick like that really sucks! April Fools B^)

Chiseled in Rock said...

Aren't I a stinker? Love the Apes 1st. Made for us jokers.

Dave

Anonymous said...

Amen girl!
You inspire me to seek out those letters. Have you seen the cost of boring wall paper? The drab flower rolls that don't tell a story? Can't wait to stand before you, in awe, and buy your book - at the conference. Karen Lin

N. R. Williams said...

The wonderful thing about self publishing my own e-book is...no more synopsis, queries or suck letters, email or balloon shots. That last is just filler. Congrats on being published.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

L.G.Smith said...

What a difference a year makes. Enjoy your success. :)

Susan S said...

Heck, I am a good lawyer...but even I know not to tangle with the Query Shark! (Besides, I hear cupcakes work great as shark decoys. Toss a few in the water and swim for your life.)

Seriously, congratulations on your publication and thanks for sharing your story. It really does help the rest of us to remember that this is a process and the only way to lose is quitting, and that much at least we can all control.

Karen Duvall said...

The sucking part did suck. :) I can definitely relate.

I think the worst part of feeling like you suck is when you do open that word processor and get back to writing, but your spirits are dampened just enough to affect your creativity. Well, mine at least. Takes at least a day to shed that brief episode of suckidis.

Congrats on the pending publication! What a difference a year makes. :)

Karen Duvall said...

Gah, i hate typos. I meant impending publication. Sigh...

Vicki said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Julie, on NOT sucking and your great success!

Your blog is well-timed for me today. Got my rejection from PPWC (by 2 measly points) .... not sucking, not sucking, not sucking.

j.a. kazimer said...

Ron, That Dave. He's a funny guy!

Thanks Karen, can't wait to see you too. I'm excited about your workshop at the PPW. And yes, who wants flowered wallpaper anyways?

Thanks, L.G. & Nancy.

Susan S, cupcakes it is! Thanks for the tip. You put it wonderfully too, so many things we can't control, but the one thing we can is our giving up.

Thanks Karen, yep, it is so hard to be creative with that voice in your head telling you how much you suck.

Hi Vicki, you don't suck at all. I know this because you're sending stuff to the PPW contest, and only missing by 2 points. Someone at sucks does not do that.

I hope to see you at the PPW conference, and hear how you pitched your book, and it was picked up instantly, and now you're making Twilight money!

Jodi said...

Julie,
You are so far from sucking as a writer...keep writing and we'll keep buying those books.

Great blog, just what I needed.

Jodi

Shannon said...

I love your success story! Keep inspiring all of us. And Dave, you suck.