That was the number of rejections I received from major literary agents prior to making the decision to self-publish the Abigail Phelps series. I was a mess — not due to the rejections, but in how I approached the whole querying process to begin with. I had no idea what I was doing, and each little bit of encouragement actually got me further off-track. What was so frustrating was the fact that quite a few agents actually loved my story. They praised my writing, admitted that I had come up with an entirely new idea, and fell in love with my characters. And then:
“We regret to inform you…”
They told me I was ahead of my time. If I had a dime for each time I’ve been told that, I could afford to build a time machine and jump ahead to a point in the future when I would be considered a little more on schedule! Agents claimed on their websites that they were looking for completely new and ambitious concepts, and then I received rejections from them in which they said my concept was not safe enough for them.
The worst part was that I began to believe them. I wandered around, trying to land on the magic formula. Maybe if I kept the story lighter… Maybe if I removed a layer… Maybe if I took away all possibilities of getting sued by the Kennedys…
But that’s not who I am. I wrote the story I believed in, and though it isn’t perfect, I know it is good. And they knew it was good! It’s not for everyone, and there are people who will never understand it, but guess what, folks? That’s what we all love about literature! We escape — sometimes we love it, sometimes we hate it — and we dream. And we are fortunate enough to live in a time which allows us to publish our dreams ourselves. We write and we publicize and we cry and we work and we scream and we want to give up, but we are published authors, and we deserve to be here.
We aren’t ahead of our time. This is our time.
Anyone who doesn’t see that is getting left behind.
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Scenes From Highland Falls