It’s nice to be liked. I can say this without ego, because for quite awhile, now, I have been persisting without likes.
Aside from the general low-level anxiety that comes with little or no acknowledgement for one’s work over time, I also have been experiencing some confusion. When we started querying my daughter’s and my novel in early 2015, we immediately began entering pitch contests. Our very first #PitMad, we received several likes, including one from a small publisher. As you will have guessed, none of these resulted in the sale of our book, but that’s hardly the point. The point is, we were utter novices at pitching, and yet in our very first contest we interested several agents/publishers.
That never happened again. Our first pitch (all four versions, in fact) were horrible. We hadn’t even properly identified the stakes or what were the key parts of the plot to pitch. And yet we got 3-4 likes. Later we sought and received advice on our pitches, on how to query, and most-importantly, how to actually improve our manuscript so that identifying the stakes and key plot points were much easier. And yet, as we improved our manuscript and our presentation to agents, we received fewer requests. In particular, #PitMad seemed to forsake us altogether.
I’m not bitter about it, not especially. But I am curious, because I want to succeed. I want to crack the formula that leads to success — the sale of our book. I see others manage it, and they are almost universally younger than I am. And that implies to a thoughtless observer that they are less experienced, and therefor less deserving. This is the sludge that builds up in one’s motivational “engine.” I know our manuscript is better than before (and I am improving it still, as I have notes for still more important revisions), yet my confidence going forward is not where it should be.
Last week, during the most recent #PitMad, our latest pitch got liked. And just like that, I felt my confidence rushing back.
It’s a little pathetic, isn’t it?