Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Bother?

I am currently looking for an agent to represent my novel and over the past week have queried 38 agents who handle Young Adult fiction. Of those 38, 14 have already sent back a “thanks but no thanks” rejection letter.


I try not to take the rejections personally. I understand that I have a product to sell—my novel—and I just haven’t found the right customer yet. But it’s still difficult to maintain a positive attitude—if nobody thinks my book is any good, should I even bother trying to get it published?

That’s a scary, slippery slope to start going down because the next natural question is: if my book isn’t going to get published, why did I bother writing it at all?

Why bother?

In many cases your art won’t be seen, your book won’t be read, your fashion won’t be worn by others and in the end you’re doing it all for yourself.

Is it worth it?

Are you worth it?

I have to say yes! I am a writer. That is my soul’s identity and how I want the others to know me. I truly believe that is why I’m in the world now—writing is my purpose in life.

Writing. Not publishing.

When I write, I get into a zone, a different world. I am “in flow” and everything else falls away. All that matters is my story and the insights and inner understanding I gain by putting my feelings and experience down on paper.

My novel is about a 16-year old girl whose sister has committed suicide. Ronnie, my main character, is left confused and lost after the death. She has buried her feelings and denies that she is grieving at all. She eventually comes to realize that she is furious at her sister for dying and hates her sister for not being to open up and tell the family about the problem she is facing. Ronnie is filled with guilt because she didn’t know her sister was hurting so much and couldn’t help her. These feelings are eating her up but instead of facing them, she tells the world she is doing fine.

This is really my story as it mirrors the feelings I had following my father’s death when I was 18. But I never realized this was how I really felt about his death until I put it down on paper in the form of my novel.

Writing is my therapy, as it is for many others. And this is why I write. Not to get published (although that would be nice) but to understand myself, heal and move on.

Why bother, indeed.


Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

My agent, Rachel Dowen, handles YA fiction. She took on my book-- if you look at Chapter 1 on my blog, you'll see that Rachel is unafraid of difficult topics. If you want to query her, her e-mail address is

Good luck!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Ch. 1 is online!

Leanne Beattie said...

Thanks, Beth. I'll check it out.

Kathy Buerger said...

Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Give Up.

Deborah Mulholand said...

You could publish through a self-publishing house like OutskirtsPress. If you decide to go with them, tell them Deborah Mulholand sent you! Your books can go online on and or you can choose to take a lower discount and retail in bookstores also. They are an amazing book publisher to work with! The contract is non-exclusive, so your book can still get picked up by a major publisher at any time. Here's the website:

Wendy Matthews said...

Ask Andy Andrews how many rejection letters he got before publishing The Traveller's Gift !
I'll give you a hint .. it was a heck of a lot more than 14 !

Wendy Matthews

Sean Cummings said...

It all depends on that query letter. Email it to me if you like: info AT sean DASH cummings DOT ca

PS - I have two books under my belt from an award winning publisher and a third coming out in January. I just got an offer from an agent last week and I STILL get "Dear Author" letters even though I'm published. It's a very selective and subjective biz ... don't get discouraged because you just have to keep at it.

Melinda said...

Ever thought of self publishing. You can do it through Amazon.