Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My World According to FARGO

[After watching Fargo one night many months ago, I sat down and wrote the following blog post. It’s perhaps the most heartfelt and personal piece I’ve ever written. I wrote it for myself, and for a long time I've kept it to myself and not put it on my blog. But now I’m posting it here to perhaps inspire all who might feel as I once felt, and to show them they’re not alone. I hope anyone who reads it will find it worthwhile.]

You know how at the end of Fargo, the Frances McDormand character is driving away with the bad guy in the back of her patrol car, and she’s talking to him in a kind of sad and befuddled voice?

She’s saying, “So that was Mrs. Lundegaard [dead] on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And three people in Brainerd. . . . And here you are. And it’s a beautiful day. I just don’t understand it.”

That was how I felt about my constant stream of rejections from editors, publishers, and agents:

There I was.

And it was a beautiful day.

And I just didn’t understand it.

I tried to do everything right. I wrote the best query letters I could possibly create. I chose agents/editors/publishers who were interested in the types of books I’d written. I used up-to-date information to be sure of having the right names and addresses. I followed directions about what to submit and how. And I spent a lot of money going to conferences so I could pitch my stuff face-to-face.

Nothing worked.

I couldn’t even get a short story published, let alone a novel.

With nothing to show for all my hard work but hundreds of rejections, I tried to make excuses. My main one was this: “It’s the wrong time.” But I knew this wasn’t true. Other unknown writers got published and soared to the tops of the bestseller lists.

I just didn’t understand it.

I’ve my share of pain but nothing was more heartbreaking than my failure as a writer.

Amanda Hocking writes of receiving a rejection and being tempted to destroy everything she’d ever written, and even to destroy herself.

I totally get that. Feeling humiliated that I’d dared to try. Feeling no one understood.

Feeling like an utter loser.

My faith in my work never faltered, however. I know I’m not Dean Koontz or Stephen King or Elmore Leonard. But I also know my work isn’t terrible. And at the time it was a lot better than some of the other stuff on bookstore shelves.

A handful of friends who read my work confirmed this. “Your characters are interesting. Your storylines are intriguing. You're a great writer! We don’t understand why you can’t get published,” they’d say.

I didn’t understand it either.

I still don’t.

But it no longer matters.

I took control by self-publishing my novel as an eBook, first for Kindle, then for Nook, then via Smashwords and AllRomance. And then I published another eBook, and another, and I encouraged my friends and fellow writers Destiny Drake and Nick Navarre to do the same.

And we'll all maintain control by self-publishing yet another, and another, and another, and more and more and more!

So now I’m content. I’m no longer at the mercy of the corrupt and callous publishing industry (see a previous post to read cruel things said in rejection letters). I no longer submit my work and pray for acceptance. (By the way, think about that word: “submit.”) I no longer say to myself, “Here I am. It’s a beautiful day. And I just don’t understand.”

I control my own life. I don't "submit." That’s something I do understand.

And right now, that’s enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.