My very first rejection letter.
A mere ten years ago I was living in a coal chute, writing YA paragraphs in order to buy fish heads to have for dinner. Now I'm so successful that I wear suits made entirely of caviar. What's my secret?
No friggin' idea. Blackmail, maybe. I dunno.
Anyway, here's some stuff I learned.
1) Don't give money to anyone.
It's tempting to whip out the checkbook when someone promises to get your book in print, but unless you're arranging a print on demand deal, the money should be coming to you. I'd have been out several hundred bucks if not for a slap in the face from my writers' group.
Also, don't get into their van, unless they have really good candy.
2) Don't give up, even if by all logic you should be dead.
I can't count the number of times I woke up face down in the library, covered in rejection letters and my own vomit. But stick it out. Sometimes they send free bookmarks.
3) Appreciate your spouse, for you will be impossible to live with.
I'll never forget the Christmas my wife Sandy sold her hair to buy me new typewriter ribbons, not knowing I'd pawned my typewriter to buy whiskey.
4) Appreciate your editor. She knows what she's talking about.
Plus those thumbscrews really hurt.
5) Be kind to your readers.
The piles of lingerie on my lawn every morning are kind of a distraction, but a deal with it.
6) Give up. It's never going to happen.