Here, on this land of freedom, where dreamers aspire, dissidents admire, and where the natives are speaking a language that I have only acquainted for less than 20 years, I knew from the beginning that it would not be a smooth journey to achieve a writer’s dream–to get my first book published.
I spent several years writing this book. And then I spent the same amount of time, if not more, on agent hunting. In the past two years, I received over 150 rejection letters in whatever format you can imagine. I kept telling myself, you can do it. It’s okay. You’re not a native speaker. It can be your disadvantage but also can be your advantage. Every coin has two sides.
From frustration to learning to cope, from anxiety to accept in peace, I have grown so much I can tell. Finding a home for my writing has taught me patience, perseverance, confidence and resilience. Most of all, I’ve learned if you don’t love your project, if you don’t stand up for your writing, nobody will. It’s not about stubbornness but integrity and allegiance to your own career.
Obviously, the future of traditional publish on this land is a dog-eat-dog world, very competitive and grim. Unfortunately, as a newbie in this industry, I learned it the hard way. Despite rejection slapping on my face one after another, I have not given up and I will not. On the contrary, rejection has strengthened my belief that God only helps those who help themselves.
Perhaps I should not put all eggs in one basket, laying all my hopes on the literary agents. After all, we don’t see eye to eye on my project. From my point of view as a writer, I only want to get my story told. That’s it. No condition, no premise, no payback. But from an agent’s viewpoint, she is looking for a bestseller that can make big money. I may be foolish. Or am I? I would be even willing to give up my share of profits to the agent if she helps me to get my book published. In fact, prior to my writing, I had had a thought that a large portion of the proceeds of the book would go to a research center for the disease that took my mother’s life. Yes, I am willing to donate what I gain from this book to the public, to those who need financial support the most. That’s the purest hope a writer can have.
Alas, I may have thought too far ahead. I am so looking forward to collaborating with an editor to get this book published. I am tired of agent hunting. I am tired of waiting indefinitely. I am longing for the next productive level. And yet, on this land that boasts nothing is impossible, somehow the chance of having an agent who would represent me is near nil. I certainly understand it even without opening those rejection letters or reading the indifferent rhetoric that I am no celebrity, I have no platform, I don’t write as perfect as the agent had first thought etc.
But why do we see things so negatively? Why are there all “no” or qualities that “I don’t have”? Why can’t I, as a writer, be positive for a change? Why can’t someone just work for artistic reason, for passion, for compassion for once?
Enough said. I have no regrets. Just like I have no regrets after I had done my best for my late mother in her last year of living. This book, with or without an agent, is slated to be published. If Walt Whitman did so, as can I. I have done my best in the traditional way. I have no regrets.
This is a book not only about myself, it’s also about my family, about the people who are suffering the same problem, and about a community. From a wider scope, this book is about the human race, about everyone.
Stay tune, for my first book.