“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.” ~Isaac Asimov
Recently I posted a review of a certain site I use to find freelance writing jobs. One main concern of mine was the steep learning curve (that is, admittedly, not unique to the site) and that it is more geared toward established writers than a rookie like myself. Today I looked past those concerns and submitted a few pitches in hopes of landing a new job.
Why would I do this? The answer is simple, and for the same reason that writers trying to get published send out queries and manuscripts to anyone who will accept them. Yes, it’s a game skewed in favor of the elite. But how do you think the elite got there?
It’s a concept I’ve had to learn the hard way, especially now that I’m looking for a new job. Finding a job in my area in my chosen field is more difficult than it should be. Even though this is the right time of year to be looking (Season is about to kick in, when all of the tourists come to south Florida and throw money at hotels and restaurants), I reply to many job listings and receive few calls for interviews in return. Some of the ads can be unreasonable (I need a cook with 4-7 years of experience, to work in my small kitchen and do his own dishes, for $8 an hour), some of the ads are minimal (Me need server! You call now!), and some are downright fishy (I’m opening a bikini bar on the beach and need servers! Send me pictures of you in a bikini to be considered! Oh, you want the name of the bar? Uhhh…) Navigating the job listings is like walking through a minefield, except you kind of hope one of them will go off. But that’s for another post.
Yes, I’m going to be turned down. A lot. I accept this. And I’m not just talking about my recent pitches or my attempts to land a new job. The same applies to the short story that’s currently making the rounds. It will apply when I send a query letter for a finished novel. But the thing to remember is this: The worst answer you will hear is no.
I’ll repeat that: The worst answer you can hear is “no.” And odds are it won’t even be a rude “no.” The rejections I’ve received for Swamp Gas so far were form letters, but politely worded. Nobody is going to mock you for submitting your story. (You wouldn’t want someone like that representing you anyway.) You’ll get a thank you for submitting and an apology that it doesn’t fit.
Granted, you’ll also get a lot of non-answers. Instead of a definitive answer you’ll just get silence. Those sometimes sting more than hearing “no,” but keep in mind that, for whatever reason, this person couldn’t put up the effort to send a quick email or phone call. Why go through the effort to stress over them? Focus your attention on someone who appreciates your awesomeness.
It’s only by going through all of these “no” answers that I will achieve some forward motion, because the more exposure I get, the more likely I am to be noticed by someone who will say “yes.”