Landing a deal with the Big Five is the only goal worth pursuing. That's what we're told. In this Disney dream, a big publishing house is Prince Charming and an agent is our Fairy Godmother.
Two years ago, I cleaned my first manuscript, polished my query, and waited for my Fairy Godmother to arrive. She politely declined. I looked for more Godmothers. They declined, too. Although I had collected so many rejections that it didn't hurt anymore when they arrived in my inbox, I still felt like each rejection ticked the clock closer to midnight.
A year later, I had an honest talk with myself that there was a chance that I wouldn't attend the Ball.
As I sat in the garden, surrounded by plain pumpkins and field mice, I realized I had adopted the idea that Traditional Publishing was my goal without really thinking about it. I'm not Cinderella. I'm too rebellious and too weird. The waltz? Ha! Give me a table to dance on and a pole. Prince Charming? I need a man with a little more substance to keep me intrigued.
I still don't have an agent, and maybe I never will. Maybe I'll be one of those princesses who can drive herself to the ball. A princess who kicks off her glass slippers so she can "get low" on the dance floor. A princess who wants a different kind of prince.
The rejection isn’t personal. It’s okay if they don’t love your book. Be grateful. Maybe you're not a Cinderella either.