What if that fabeled “Yes!” never comes? I have sent queries to so many agents and had my novel rejected and declined countless times.
I really don’t know what to say or do about it if none of them ever want to pick up Salamander and the Unscarred Mind. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on why they’re not interested yet. This has caused me to contemplate a career change that might allow me to have a broader platform for advertising my work.
A project of love like this is such a risky endeavor. The number of hours I’ve spent illustrating, writing, and editing this book may well reach 1,000 or more. It’s been the consistent labor of every free moment I could steal for about 19 months now. Of course I learned a lot, but that’s not enough. I don’t want to work that hard on something I KNOW is amazing just to shelve it. I’ve done that before. It feels wasteful and stupid.
In 2015 I wrote and illustrated a novel called Bleeding Mountain about a noblewoman traveling the world in search of a cure for a plague. I formatted it properly with the illustrations. I tucked it away on my hard drive because the experience of self-publishing has been so lackluster. The next two personal projects I worked on went unwritten, only illustrated, because this whole publishing/sales business vexed and discouraged me so much.
I have to do better.
It is possible to self-publish Salamander and the Unscarred Mind and share it with people that way. With this method, sales are abysmal and the print quality isn’t high enough to make the art shine as it should.
Let me emphasize the part about abysmal sales. Globally speaking, no one would know the book exists. The few people who would buy it are friends who may not even read it. I’ve waded in the kiddy pool enough. Self-publishing an illustrated book takes a lot of time and editing, and a self-published book is a consolation prize. I’m certain those are harsh words and I’ve offended someone.
I want the best for this project. Writing these agents just gets tiresome and sometimes I have moments of dread and doubt.
Only time will tell what happens.