As writers, we’re expected to handle all kinds of rejection. Before I indie published Vallar, I had subbed it to several agents and publishers. And by this, I mean the big publishers. I had some trouble with a small publisher once and was since then leery of them, so I had never tried to go with a small publisher for Vallar. (That could be another blog post)
Anyway, one editor requested a full, but then nothing happened. What did I do? Since I hadn’t gotten any feedback, I kept trying to guess why they rejected the story. The chaos of self-doubt had begun.
The published version of Vallar is actually Vallar version 3.0. Yes, I wrote three complete novels of Vallar. It wasn’t even called Vallar the first time around. It was called “The Vision Maker” It started out with a device, like a headphone set, that when worn over the ears let my main character (Ian Connors) have visions of the future. It also started out with Ian being a little older. He had been cryogenically preserved hundreds of years. His body eventually was purchased by Marscorp for experimental reasons. The experiments are related to turning someone into a psychic. One day he escapes and finds out where he really is (on Mars). He freaks out, so they sedate him with these headphones, using sound waves that are used on patients to put them under. But while he is out, he has these visions. Then he realizes what he can do with the headphones and his next goal is to escape and somehow steal them.
If you have read Vallar, you will know that the story changed from that. There are no magic headphones, and Ian is not ever cryogenically preserved. I had read somewhere that starting with a cryo-preserved character was an overused cliché, so I assumed that was the reason for the rejections. But I never knew for sure.
However, Vallar continued to be rejected. All the self-doubt and re-writes made no difference. I was not going to write it again. So there is no point in doubting your creativity when in fact you may be on the right path with something. Once something is published, that puts an end to the re-writes. The only plus is I feel Vallar 3.0 is the best version. I might use some of the original for a short story…someday.
If you ever feel doubt creeping in because of rejection, just look at all the big names that were once rejected too. Reading the negative reviews of books you love also helps.
Lastly, I read Rusty’s novelette “War Angel” last Monday and I highly recommend it. You can see my review of it over at Amazon. This post was in part inspired by Rusty. He always seems so modest and perhaps under confident. We have that in common, but he is such an awesome writer. Rusty, don’t ever doubt your writing.
That goes for all of you!