Write or Wrong? The Fear of Rejection, Self-Publishing and the Words Not Written
Once, I went on a self-assigned journey in order to understand what sets bestselling authors apart from every other kind of author out there. I searched biographies, interviews and funny articles about famously rejected authors to find some sort of answer. It all resulted in the most intense frustration I’ve ever felt in my entire life. As it turns out, bestselling authors give incredibly annoying answers to the questions that have always mattered most to me.
The Origin Story
Most interviewers inevitably ask bestselling writers the same question: what made you write this book? I read more than one such “origin story” for some of my favorite novels, and I never could find a single author who talked about jumping up in the middle of the night to scribble down ideas, pacing around a room for hours trying to work out a complicated plot, crying and sweating over their keyboards — all that crazy stuff I do when I’m trying to write. As a matter of fact, some of the authors made it sound as though writing a bestseller is akin to falling into a puddle — “well, I was walking along one day and I tripped. And when I looked down, I had completed this incredible piece of fiction that millions of people love!”
Honestly, that’s only a slight exaggeration. Jean Auel, the author of the phenomenal Earth’s Children series, is the actual writer who inspired that metaphor. She began her breakthrough hit, Clan of the Cave Bear, as a short story. The way she used to tell it, one day she just started writing. Before she knew it, she had this massive novel in her hands. Anybody who’s ever seen the Clan of the Cave Bear in print knows that “massive” is really an understatement. Short story, indeed.
Which isn’t to say her comments are true — I’m sure they are. But at the same time, it’s still incredibly annoying. Where is the blood, the tears, the sweat, the agony and the pain?
Case in point: J.K. Rowling, author of the smash hit Harry Potter books. They are books, they are movies, they are indelibly ingrained in pop culture, they are epic. Rowling was famously rejected by 12 different publishing houses before she got a break…and the rest is history.
Did you catch that I wrote 12? Twelve! Many writers out there, me included, have received hundreds and hundreds of rejection letters. So how does it feel when you know that Lucky Thirteen is already several years in the past…and it didn’t pan out?
(Read Write or Wrong? Part II here)
Jade Varden is the author of Justice (Deck of Lies)
A House of Cards…
When you build an entire life on a foundation of lies, it only takes one truth for the whole thing to come crashing down. I never invited the truth in. I never went searching for it. I never had any reason to suspect that the two people I loved most were dishonest with me every second of every day.
I made one bad decision, and in a single day my entire world changed. If I’m ever going to discover the truth about myself and my parents, I have to trace all the lies back to their source. I have to try to find the truth that they’re hiding.
The more I discover about myself, and my past, the more I realize that lies really are better than the truth. But now that I know the lies are all around me, I can’t stop until I’ve discovered them all. I’ll pull each lie away, one by one, and examine it to see what’s underneath…until this house of cards crumbles into dust at my feet.
I just hope I can survive the crash.
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