I was reading a very interesting post by author David James Poissant earlier in the this week explaining how to make submitting your superpower. Poissant was referring to short stories in the article but it could also refer to submitting novels. He says there are many tools in the writers belt, and one of the most important ones is Relentlessness.
He says: “By relentlessness, I don’t just mean endurance. I don’t mean the hours you write even when you’re not in the mood to write. I don’t mean the months or years you devote to the revision of a story that’s close but not quite there. I don’t even mean how, at times, you must push friends and family away in order to carve out a space in your life for your art. All of those are things that you’ll have to do. Here, though, what I’m talking about is outright tenacity in the face of those voices—most of which will be your own—telling you that you don’t have what it takes, that your work is crap, or that you will never be published.”
He says to not give up on a story after only submitting 3 or 4 times, but to keep going. Most of his stories were rejected 10-15, and even up to 50 times, before they were accepted, and to not give up easily. “When you get a rejection with any kind of personal response from an editor, you know that story was strong. You got the editor’s attention. That editor likes your stuff and is worth trying again with something else. Plus, such encouragement probably means that another editor will like the story even more, maybe even enough to publish it.
Alternatively, say a story goes out to fifty places, and not one editor gives you a nice No or asks for more work? That story is probably a dud. Time to revise it or put it away for a while.”
He says: “You should only send out your absolute best, your work at its most polished, work you’re proud to show the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to know when a piece is done. But, when you feel like you’ve really got something, when your story sense starts tingling and tells you you’re sitting on something special? Send it out! And don’t let the first dozen rejections stop you.”
So go on, keep submitting and not give up. Be Relentless.