Day 2: Persistent or Delusional?

Day two of my 30 queries for the month of October game/challenge/torture device, and it’s going pretty well. Of course, day two of anything usually goes pretty well. Relationships, jobs, exercise, kidnappings. It’s day 29 that separates the winners from the people who want to poke their own eyes out with a stick.

Today was short story submission day. I submitted two short works of fiction, Full Circle and Sally’s Pigeons, to a literary magazine called Upstreet. As a quick aside, and because I may have a slight case of autism as I tend to count everything, I have written:

  • 18 completed short stories
  • 23 partially completed short stories
  • 4 completed novels
  • 10 partially completed or outlined novels
  • 5 completed screenplays
  • 8 partially completed or outlined screenplays
  • and a partridge in a pear tree

Yesterday, by the way (as I won’t be blogging every day) I queried literary agent MacKenzie Fraser-Bub at Trident Media Group who is actively looking for women’s fiction. Although I never set out to write in a particular genre, I do find myself writing upmarket women’s fiction (which used to be called chick lit until the industry got tired of people submitting gum) and romance. Of course, the current novel I am working on is neither. It’s…general fiction based on quantum mechanics with a splash of thriller filtered through my sense of humor. It’s either going to be a hit or the literary version of MAD Magazine.

My brother commented on yesterday’s post in which I list a handful of famous and best-selling authors who first had to weather an enormous amount of rejections: for Jack London it was 600, and for Gertrude Stein it was 22 years’ worth. And I thought: imagine if London gave up at 599, or at year 21 Stein said fuck it and took a job at a hat shop or a bank.

Where do you draw the line between perseverance and being a few fries short of a happy meal? I mean, at the 599th rejection, London’s friends must have thought he was nuts. “Face it, man, you’re never going to get published!” That’s what it must seem like to others. Like the kid with delusions of grandeur that he will simply hop on a Greyhound bus to Hollywood, meet Anna Kendrick his first day there, and marry her.

I’ve had many people ask me when I’m going to give up trying to make a living as an author. And my answer is always: “When I die.” But only because the postage from the Other Side is so damn expensive.

I’d like to end this blog post with a MAD comic that perfectly illustrates The Rejection Slip.