First of all, I'd like to announce that Roberta Walker won last week's contest hosted by guest author Deborah Swift. Roberta, as a reminder to never give up on your publication path, Deborah would like to send you a signed copy of her book, The Lady's Slipper. Please visit Deborah Swift's website to get her e-mail address and contact her to arrange for shipping. Congratulations!
Now, on to this week's profile.
Every author can relate to this: you're written a project, you believe in it, and you hope with everything you've got that it's going to be accepted. If you're not self-publishing, you hope it's accepted by someone who wants to publish it. And you hope and hope and hope until you're going to bust. Debut author of psychological suspense Jennifer Hillier reminds us that any one project does not define a career.
I experienced a few dark weeks while I was on submission last spring. My agent started subbing to a handful of editors last May, and by mid-June, three rejections had come in. I thought I'd be a pro at handling them, because after all, I'd survived Query Hell (where I racked up 48 rejections from agents), but I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like to be rejected by big-name editors at big-name publishing houses. Unlike agents, who mainly rejected my queries, these editors were rejecting my book. And while their rejections were kind and personal, they were also very specific, and they really, really stung.
Intellectually I knew not to take it to heart, but every time someone rejects you – for any reason – it sort of chips away at your self-esteem. I knew the odds of selling a debut novel in this market were slim – my agent had made damned sure my expectations were realistic – but still, I hoped. And with hope comes disappointment.
Then one day, after a particularly great writing session on a new novel, it suddenly hit me that whether CREEP got published or not, I was still a writer. I had as many chances at this as I was willing to write books. And I did want to write books – lots of them – because that's what writers do. We write. This realization made me feel so much better. I felt like a weight had been lifted. No matter what, I was going to be okay.
Two weeks later, my book sold.
Jennifer Hillier's debut novel Creep will be published by Simon & Schuster in July 2011. Best-selling author Jeffrey Deaver says, "Jennifer Hillier's Creep is top-of-the-line thriller writing. You better call in sick, because you're not going anywhere until you finish reading. Oh, and you might want to lock the door too. Just to be safe."