Today’s Author Insights is all about that dreaded word: “no.”
Check out what Mr. Tomlinson had to say about working with a traditional publisher and how to handle rejection.
Reinfried: What inspired your first book?
Patrick Tomlinson: The first book I ever wrote started life as a few chapters of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fanfic. Later, it was cleaned up and scrubbed of any HHGG references and became its own thing, growing into a full-length novel in its own right. That book is now called GATE CRASHERS and just released through Tor Books on June 26th, 2018.
R: Once you were finished with your manuscript, how did you look for agents to pitch?
PST: With the best kept secret on the writing web: www.querytracker.net. It’s a search engine for agents and publishers. You can narrow your search down by agents currently accepting submissions, genre, a bunch of key factors. They rate agents with useful metrics like response time, recent deals, etc. Even if you don’t know a single person in publishing, you can get a list of your best dozen agents to target built in minutes.
Then once you’ve submitted your query, they keep track of who it went to, how long it’s been out, when it’s accepted/rejected, etc. They’ve gone to a subscription model, but for like $20 a year, it’s SO worth it.
R: I definitely wish I had known about that sooner! I’ll have to look into it for my next novel!
R: Many authors, myself included, get discouraged with rejections. How many did you receive, if you don’t mind sharing?
PST: Over two hundred.
R: What encouraged you to continue pitching regardless of receiving rejection after rejection?
PST: Rejection means nothing to me; it’s all a numbers game. The more submissions you send, the better your chances get.
R: What do you like most about working with an agent and traditional publisher?
PST: They do everything, freeing me up to do what I got into this to do in the first place: write books. I don’t have to worry about covers, formatting, copyedits, chasing payments, negotiating deals, knowing the ins and outs of audio, foreign, TV rights. I’ve got people for all that stuff. I just write, instead of having yet another full-time job.
R: Is there anything you dislike about the process as a whole?
PST: Not a damned thing.
R: What advice would you give discouraged writers?
PST: Toughen up. This ain’t flag football. Rejections never end for anyone. This never gets easier, you’re just presented with new kinds of obstacles and challenges.
I want to thank author Patrick Tomlinson so much for this insightful and encouraging interview! I highly recommend his books if you are a fan of sci-fi, mystery, and all around fun! I met him a few years back at GenCon and picked up a copy of the first in his Children of a Dead Earth series, called The Ark, and absolutely loved it.
Get your own copy of his newest book by clicking the image below. Thanks again, Mr. Tomlinson!