Once, there was a girl who was inspired to write a book. So she did. She spent many late nights nurturing it. She cried with it, laughed with it, and loved it. When it had grown into a novel, she queried thirteen editors because if Stephenie Meyer could do it, this girl could too.
Only, it didn’t work that way. The editors weren’t interested. So the girl threw back her shoulders, lifted her chin and queried literary agents. Lots of them. Then she revised her book and queried more agents. Over a period of years, and various query revisions, the girl queried hundreds of agents (unfortunately, that is not an exaggeration for dramatic effect). Not just any agents. The girl knew better than that. She did much research and only contacted agents who represented her genre, the way all good girls do.
And when she began to despair that her beloved novel would never be published, her husband (she was a grown-up girl) suggested she write another book. And if that got published, maybe her dearly beloved first book would have a better chance.
So, she did.
And when this book had grown into a novel, the girl found herself in the query trenches once more. Requests, rejections, requests, rejections trickled in. And the girl learned that the life of a writer is measured not only in words but in waiting. So she waited and waited. Then she queried again and waited some more. But the girl did not give up. After writing seven different query letters and querying seventy agents for her second novel, the girl received an email from an agent she really wanted to work with. She closed her eyes, said a prayer and opened the email. Then she read:
“I’d like to work with you and so to extend an offer of representation…”
She read the email again. The words she’d been waiting years to hear (read) were right there in front of her. The dream had come true. And her first thought went like this: “Huh? I don’t know how to react. Should I scream? Jump up and down? Do a happy dance?”
She bounded down the stairs to her husband’s office and proceeded to jump up and down, not with a happy and merry bounce as you would imagine, but heavy and hard like an elephant being dropped from a helicopter. And she began to yell (not cry out in a joyful voice as you would expect), “YES. YES. YES.”
And her husband wondered what in the world was wrong. And her children up in their bedrooms heard the noise and thought the girl had fallen down the stairs (but none came to check on the poor woman who’d given birth to them, to see if she had indeed fallen down the stairs). The girl’s attempt at a happy dance failed.
Despite that, she signed with the agent.
And the girl is sharing her story with you because no matter where you are on your writing journey, no matter how many rejections you’ve received, how many dead-ends you’ve reached, or how many hours, days, years, you’ve spent waiting, don’t give up. And be sure to practice your happy dance often. You never know when you’ll need it.