Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Dear Publisher: crisis of faith
I have been writing now with at least a little facility for almost 40 years. And though over that time I had my moments, it is only in the past five years that I not only became very dedicated, but I also got really good at it. I got so good that I started to think "Hey, I could go pro!" I work at a library and I see professional writers' work all the time and I swear I can hardly open up a book anymore without thinking "I can totally do this!" Maybe not Jane Austen or James Joyce, but possibly Rex Stout, I'm pretty sure Jodi Picoult, and definitely Kazuo Ishiguro. So I began to contact publishers like yourself. Over a few years I contacted 93 professional publishers (like yourself) and not a single one of them thought I was ready to go pro.
I had to face a reckoning: Should I believe 93 writing community professionals whose very livelihood depends upon their acute evaluations of the quality of writing, or should I believe in myself.
I decided to believe in myself!
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Good choice!"
But I was a little nervous about it because 93 sober, intelligent professionals were a lot to go up against. So I looked to the Internet. I typed in a search for believe-in-yourself quotes thinking I could find inspiration from the authors I most admired. But it turns out that while there are an almost endless array of quotes by famous people about believing in oneself, not a single one of them was by a real author. Not even Kazuo Ishiguro, if that would count.
Here is a partial list of the people who told me, in no uncertain terms, to believe in myself:
Norman Vincent Peale
Oscar Pistorius (!)
So, I'm feeling a little confused right now, and I'll have to get back to you later.
Thank you for your time.