I know I personally have been following your blog, watching you try to get the "big break" and my thought has been, "Geez, if T can't break through, who can?" It seems to me that you were doing everything right - you had multiple complete manuscripts, an agent, a big (and loyal :)) blog following - what changed to enable the breakthrough? Was it just a matter of time and persistence, or did you actually start doing something different?
here is the truth:
we're not much different, you and i. we daydream at our day jobs about the days when we might spend our waking hours luxuriating in the arms of the written word. we're architects. historians. builders and purveyors. give us 26 letters and we'll construct monuments, galaxies, human philosophies about love and hope and horrible, beautiful, breathtaking adventures.
we need 26 letters to change the world.
so we write. we write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little dream every day. manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle around our necks. we plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs only to thread them in our hair. we write with no guarantees, no certainties, no promises of what might come and we do it anyway.
this is who we are. we're punched in the face for every rejection that stacks up in our inbox. we're tossed off a cliff for every time an agent says no to our full. we bang our heads against our desks and wonder if we're wasting our time. we look around at our friends and co-workers and envy them their one full-time job, their ability to be satisfied with just enough and we wonder, we really wonder if we've lost our sanity.
the chances are slim to none, they say.
they say hey why don't you go back to school or hey maybe tuck in your shirt and hey how about Katie's kid? you know, the one in law school and oh, i hear she's graduating this year so how's that little story of yours coming along? they look at us like we're cute, like this phase will eventually end and we'll come to our senses, we'll wake up and get a real job and maybe we'll even get a haircut and it hurts. it's like a toothpick caught in your throat and you're choking but you're not crying, not quite, not just yet and no one understands.
and sometimes you want to quit.
every day you want to throw an expletive in the air and you don't really care where it lands you're just frustrated and rejection hurts, it hurts like hell and when will this ever end? when will you catch a break? why is it that every day someone else has an agent or a book deal and a goddamn golden retriever and what about you, why not you, you know what why don't i just kick a proper noun in the face.
the tricky part is pushing past those moments.
the secret is fighting when it hurts the most. when you think it's over, when you've tried everything, you've given it everything and it's still not working. the test is in the time and time again. it's in the hundreds of rejections that would make a grown man cry and it's in the heart and soul you've poured into every word on that page. you have to keep fighting no matter what.
trust yourself. trust that you are doing what you love and don't lose sight of that. there is no method to this madness and there is only one guarantee. there is only one thing in publishing -- and in life -- that is an absolute, verified guarantee.
if you give up, the game is over.
i've done exactly the same thing i've always done: i've avoided social responsibilities, inhaled too much caffeine, read far too many books and spent countless hours huddled in a small corner with only my laptop and my imagination. and somehow i got a book published.
so keep fighting.
and invite Rejection to get hit by a bus.