Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crunching Numbers

How many rejections will I get before I get the YES? 

How many queries do I have to send before I get the YES? 

WHY the heck am I still trucking through this painful world of querying!?  Aaaaaaah! (lol)

These are just a FEW of the questions I've wondered throughout my journey with EVER.  

Apparently, there is no set answer. 

But if you're anything like me, you want to see the numbers. No, no, not because you like math - I hate math. Ugh. But because you want a cut and dry easy assessment of what writers go through. Well, its going to be different for everyone, of course, but let's look at some examples.  

I've found the following information online regarding some really big-name books: 

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett received 60 rejections. You can read more about that HERE, and I suggest you do. It is an honest article that gives you a little insight and lets you know you are not alone. 

TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer received 8 rejections. You can read more about her journey HERE, but please remember that 15 queries and 8 rejections is NOT THE NORM. Most authors go through many more than that before they get the YES! 

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL by Jack Canfield received 33 rejections. Here's an interesting snippet, from an except of the first Chapter of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE WRITER'S SOUL, which you can find more of HERE.
"When we completed the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, it was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. Ah the major New York publishers said, "It is too nicey-nice" and "Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories." Since that time more than 8 million copies of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than 53 million copies."

HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost (one of my favorite writers, by the way) received over 20 rejections. Her post HERE is a great explanation of what that process was like for her. 

So, with that said, what do my numbers look like? Well, I can honestly say I NEVER thought I would share the true hell I experienced in the querying process, even though I swore I'd be open about my writing journey with my blog readers. Want to know the truth? My critique partner doesn't even know the *exact* numbers. Its going to take me a long time to be willing to admit the truth, even to her.

Querying is a painful, heartbreaking process. I will not sugarcoat it. I've wanted to give up MANY times. I wanted to shelve my first novel and chalk it up to practice. I wanted to quit writing all together, admitting to myself that I'm obviously just a silly housewife who thinks she can write. 

But there's this little voice in my head ... she's sweet, and quiet, and sometimes I can barely hear her over the roar of failure and shame and self-doubt. But she's there, and she's optimistic, hopeful and pure, and she keeps telling me to keep going. 

She's adorable. And naive. But her innocence is contagious, no doubt.

When she can't get through to me, my critique partner whips me into shape. She recently made me re-query the agents I'd received initial rejections from. I'd changed my manuscript for EVER significantly, thus updating my query. It now looks like something I can be proud of. Well, almost proud of - I still hate it, but that's probably just for the simple fact that it's a query. *cringe* 

You know what happened? I received PARTIAL REQUESTS! From agents who have already rejected my first query and original manuscript!  I also received FULL requests from a few publishers!  CRAZY!!!!! 

My little inner voice dances around merrily, her blond, pink-ribboned pigtails bobbing in the sunlight. She's proud of me. 

I'm proud of myself. 

I keep going. 

And you should too.  


  1. And I am SO proud of you! Soon everyone will get to read EVER:) *hugs*

    P.S. You have no idea the exact number of rejections I'VE received for RAPTOR SNATCH... I bet it's WAY more than you.

  2. (((HUGS))) SOON, soon indeed EVER will be on bookshelves nationwide...maybe even worldwide! And I'll get you a cute pen with your name on it so you can sit at signings and autograph your masterpiece!

  3. Congrats!!! That's terrific.

    I'm a big fan of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, books that are always bestsellers. From an interview with Janet:

    "I received rejection letters for ten years (one on a napkin, written in crayon.) I had all my rejection notices stored in a box. When the box was finally full I took it to the curb and set it on fire. The next day I went out and got a temp job. Luckily four months later I got a call from a publisher saying that my manuscript had been accepted. I quit my temp job immediately and went back to writing full time." (First published Oct 31, 2010 at

    If JE could keep going for ten years with nothing to show, who are we to cry about a couple of rejections?

  4. Congratulations! I am so proud of you! Keep moving forward! I'm not there yet, but I plan to be by the end of the year, so it's good to hear it and to be realistic in my expectations. Thank you for sharing.