The best* Christmas Eve gift

All I want for Christmas....

All I want for Christmas....

*Sarcasm.

Once about ten or twelve years ago, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I went through a process that will be instantly familiar to every struggling writer: I sent a query letter to a publisher, and they responded with a request to read the first three chapters of my manuscript.

This happened fairly often, so I did not get my hopes up.  Still, I sent along those chapters, and eventually they asked to see the whole manuscript.  This was rare, so now I allowed myself to (guardedly) get excited.  I sent my manuscript off and waited, fingers crossed, watching the days creep toward Christmas and daring to hope for the best Christmas present I could imagine: acceptance for publication.

I got a form rejection letter.  No personalized notes explaining what they didn’t like, not even comments like, “Not for us, but please submit again.” Just a form letter addressed, as I recall, to “Dear Author.”

And that form letter arrived on Christmas Eve.

So to everyone struggling to be a writer out there, I hope 2012 brings you the greatest gift of all: the publication of your book.  The only certainty is that you won’t be published if you quit trying, so don’t give up, and don’t lose faith; I was 44 when my first novel came out, and I started writing it when I was seventeen.

What’s your worst story about submission and rejection?

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