Traditional Publishing – Staying the Course When You Want to Throw in The Towel

Have you ever experienced a situation when you felt as though you were completely out of your league, or the scales were somehow unbalanced — and not in your favor?

I was sitting at my computer the other day scrolling through literary agency websites deciding which ones I would query for traditional publishing. As I looked at the faces of the agents and the client lists of those agencies, I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of doom and gloom, and utter defeat. I felt like throwing in the towel.

You see, none of the literary agents I considered querying looked like me. Correction, one of them looked like me. The others looked to be in their early twenties or thirties, most of them female, and all but one of them Caucasian. Undoubtedly, there could be other minority literary agents out there, I just haven’t run across them yet. And I’ve queried close to 60 or 70 by now.

So I asked myself, how in the world will either of these young people who don’t look like me identify with my story? Sigh!

Well, I stepped away from my computer to clear my head and get a glass of iced tea. After I had a moment to think, I came back with a new resolve. I reminded myself that there were a few facts that I must keep in mind in order to be successful in any given vocation and particularly in traditional publishing. I resolved these three things. And this may be helpful to you as well.

1. Deal With It.

This is the reality of the publishing industry, so deal with it. If I want to be a traditionally published author, I have to put on my big girl panties and stay in the fight. Maya Angelou once said, “If you can’t change a situation, change your attitude.”

2. Write Good Stories.

If I write good stories, they will appeal to the right agent at the right time regardless of age, race, gender, or ethnicity. Good stories transcend everything.

3. Don’t Worry.

Our fate and our future are in the hands of the Father above. He controls everything, including time. And He works through people. He knows how to make the right connections at the right time.

So, I decided not to be discouraged but to persevere in doing what is necessary to appeal to literary agents i.e., write the best stories I can in my genre, edit to near-perfection, be as professional as I can be in the pursuit of publishing, and not worry about factors beyond my control.

What about you? Have you encountered situations in your writing career when you wanted to throw in the towel? What did you do?

As always, thanks for stopping by!


2 thoughts on “Traditional Publishing – Staying the Course When You Want to Throw in The Towel

  1. That is a great outlook Catherine! You are a great story teller! Your time will come and you may find yourself in the company of Colson Whitehead or Lynn Nottage who just won the Pulitzer Prize for their works. Keep the faith!!

    • Hi Louise,
      Wow! Thank you for those encouraging words!!! It’s wonderful feedback like this that gives me the motivation to stay in the game. It is appreciated!!


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