Never Give Up
By Pepper Espinoza
Thanks for inviting me to write something!
I think it was around December 3, 2005 when despair set in. I hit a major slump. I wonâ€™t say I got â€œwriterâ€™s blockâ€â€”I wouldnâ€™t know. I never tried to write anything. For the entire month. Meanwhile, I collected three rejection slips on projects that really meant a lot to me, and one of the contests I entered pushed back the announcement by a full six weeks. At one point, I even convinced myself that I should withdraw my submissions, or at the very least, never submit anything again. You see, I believed that I had American Idol Syndromeâ€”I wasnâ€™t self-aware enough to realize I sucked, so chances were, I probably sucked.
But a few things happened to change my thinking. First, two of my short stories were accepted by Whiskey Creek Press Torrid (http://www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com) for their Torrid Teasers Line. That was a healthy boost to the olâ€™ ego! Healthy enough that I could at least consider submitting again.
Then my second full-length novel, â€œThe Zebra Wore Fishnets,â€ was released on Jan 2. ( http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/the…refishnets.htm) Itâ€™s a good novel. I like that novel. So I thought to myself, â€œSelf, you have another novel thatâ€™s finished. Why sit on it? That novel deserves a chance!â€
So the next day, January 3, I prepared a submission for Samhain Publishing (http://www.samhainpublishing.com/). I targeted Samhain because I am really impressed with their website and their other releases, and it seemed like a company Iâ€™d like to be a part of. Meanwhile, I emailed Raven at Liquid Silver (http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com) and asked for an update on a revision I had sent her in October.
Of course, the stage was now set for horrible heartbreak. If they both turned me down, would my confidence be able to take the blow? I figured I had some time to prepare myself.
Except that I didnâ€™t.
Two days after I emailed Raven, she replied that she liked the revisions and she would accept â€œCalifornia Stars.â€ Oh, Happy Day! I have been trying to sell that novel for over a year now!
Three hours after that email, I received one from Samhain Publishing. As soon as I saw the mail alert, my heart sank. You get rejections back in two days, not acceptance letters. With a trembling hand and a faint heart, I opened the emailâ€¦to find an acceptance! She loved â€œBe Thou My Godâ€ and wanted to offer a contract! Now, this acceptance was gratifying for a couple of reasonsâ€”namely this particular novel has caused me nothing but grief from day one. I liked the idea and I liked the characters, but they didnâ€™t like me, and it was a struggle to make them behave. I didnâ€™t believe Iâ€™d ever finish it, much less get it to the point that itâ€™s publishable!
But here we are. Three years since I started â€œCalifornia Starsâ€ and two years since I started â€œBe Thou My God.â€ The point of this story? Just donâ€™t give up. Donâ€™t give up on yourself and donâ€™t give up on your work.