Becoming successful can elude some of us from time to time. And that's if it actually arrives at all. What makes us hang in there when things are constantly going down hill? Why is it so easy to be a failure and extremely hard to be successful? No brainer, I would guess.

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What sort of success are you talking about? Money? Fame? Respect? or Happiness?
Maybe rejection slips like the one I received this morning from a major publisher:

"Thanks so much for letting me see this. I think McKenzie is a fantastic storyteller – he really gripped me from start to finish. The dialogue is great and this does have the same polish and assurance of a young Dennis Lehane. There’s real energy and purpose to it and I think he has such promise.

The awful thing from my perspective is that I have a list crammed full of younger male suspense writers and it is just so hard to find space for another one. I have given this a lot of thought, but ultimately have to pass just from the standpoint of shape of the list. Really sorry – it hurts to pass on something this good!"

Argh! What do you do but keep on keepin on.
Boy, does that one suck, Grant. I would've preferred a "doesn't meet our current needs" letter to this. But this letter also tells me that the one "yes" you need is right around the corner. Keep on keepin' on! It's coming.
Grant
Ouch. That had to hurt. "Real energy" and "fantastic storyteller". Great input even if you didn't get a contract. I agree with the general sentiment -- you're close, guy! Real close. Send that back out NOW.
LOL, thanks, guys.
I definitely seem to be the master of the oxymoron: positive rejection.
"A list crammed with younger male suspense writers..."

(Please allow for tongue-in-cheek humor) Have you considered a sex change? Or perhaps a pseudonym that sounds vaguely female? (How ironic). Now if you could pass yourself off as a 15 year old homeschooler I'm sure you'll get a contract. It worked for Chris Paolini and he didn't even have to change his name.

When you make the NY Times list, go into your bathroom, close the door and shout at the top of your lungs, "Boy did you screw up, buddy!" Then come back out, gracious as ever, and enjoy the rest of your career.
You're within inches of a sale, Grant.

Get this thing out and about!! Multiple simultaneous submissions are perfectly fair these days (see Dr. Anne Mini and her web site, 'Author! Author!') - DO NOT stop now!
Grant's example is a particularly good one, but the rave rejection is not unusual. I kept telling myself, "Don't quit five minutes before the miracle" as I sent one more query and another and another....In the end, I got my miracle, but the five minutes lasted five years. (Or 55 years, depending on how I count.) It takes talent, persistence, and luck, and the only one we can do anything about is persistence. And that probably answers the original question, ie what makes us hang in there--it's the only hint of a way out of feeling totally powerless. Success is elusive because it depends on luck--often of the total fluke persuasion. Liz
Can't spill the beans yet - but it looks like I might've cracked it :-)
2008 is going to be a fantastic year.
Fingers are crossed, at least not when I'm typing.
Say nuffin' until the check has cleared the bank. Then we want to hear everything, man!

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