How many submissions until you’re flogging a dead horse?

DEAD-HORSEI’m trying to stay positive after another rejection but sometimes it’s like saying no to a tasty dessert or a beautiful ex that dumped you, you know you should walk away but it’s soooo hard.

I’m getting close with ‘Railroaded‘. I’ve been sending it out to be ignored and rejected for nearly 5 years! (Christ! I didn’t know that until I just referred to my submission spreadsheet. That sounds even worse now). I got a couple of requests for the full MS, a few positive words but mainly I got a form rejection.

Here’s the cold hard facts; I submitted to a total of 44 places – 26 agents and 18 publishers. 6 of those agents never replied and 8 publishers didn’t reply.

When do I stop torturing myself?

Good on Donal Ryan who carried on for 47 rejections and is now shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Is it worth me submitting to 4 more places? It only takes one yes.

About 4 months ago a few old university friends and I went on one of those once-in-a-blue-moon Facebook group messaging frenzies, catching up with each other and I told them I’d written a couple of novels. Luckily for me, some of these friends have now grown up to be full-on, professional, experienced, prize winning graphic designers and suggested I self-publish so they can do the cover.

Result! Especially as shit self-published covers is a massive bugbear of mine.

That’s put a totally new perspective on things. I’ve been following this new self-publishing revolution but in the back of my mind hoping…wishing for a good old traditional route into literary stardom…but times have changed. The fact I’m currently submitting my second novel (Broken Branches) and also writing a third (Blindsided) makes this avenue a bit of a no-brainer at the moment.

I’ve now changed my mindset over the past few months. I’ll continue submitting Broken Branches and when the first draft of Blindsided is finished and I need time away from it, I’ll spend a month or two focusing on self-publishing Railroaded. I’m very lucky to have excellent graphic designer mates but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be marketing a new product but this sounds fun.

The moral of this post? Rejection doesn’t mean the end…and…keep on writing. If I hadn’t written my 2nd or 3rd novels and put all my eggs in the Railroaded basket, I’d be a basket case of depression. But now, I’m a handbag of optimism.

That’s good, I think.