[L]et me give you a little hint: if you don’t have faith in your story, why should anyone else -- like, for example, an editor? First impressions are important . . . but it’s last impressions that count. I’m not saying that every rejected story is a misunderstood gem, but a story that remains in a desk drawer or a computer file (or gets wiped) never has a chance of being understood or misunderstood. …Read the whole thing. I don’t exactly know all that separates a professional author from an amateur. Surely uniqueness of vision, command of the language, and the ability to create engrossing plots and people all play a part. But as time goes on, I’m becoming more and more convinced that much of it comes from simple determination, a dogged willingness to soldier on when you get no encouragement from the gatekeepers or friends and family. Or sometimes even from yourself.
Every publisher, major and minor, in the science fiction field turned down Frank Herbert’s Dune. Every one, without exception. You know how it finally sold? Sterling Lanier, who had written some science fiction in the 1950s, was editing at Chilton, a company that specialized in, so help me, books on motorcycle maintenance. He had hardly any budget to spend on such a flyer, but Herbert had reached the point where he was happy to take hardly any money for it. And the rest is history: a perennial bestseller, with something like 40 million copies sold worldwide, five bestselling sequels by Herbert and a batch more by his son Brian in collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson, two movies already made and a third in pre-production. All because Herbert believed in his book, and despite all those editorial first impressions that it was unsaleable, it was the last impression that counted.
(Picture: CC 2008 by s~revenge)