Remember when I would wait like a high school junior at the mailbox for my latest rejection letter from an agent? Remember when I got so many that I lost count…. Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed by launching a new book and all the what-ifs–am I promoting enough, am I selling enough, will folks like the story, will I ever have another book contract, etc.–I remind myself that there was a day when I aspired to be plagued with these doubts as opposed to the what-if-I-wrote-this-for-nothing what-if. Writing on spec is one of the most difficult things to do (I know. I did it in between book contracts just last year). You are pouring yourself into a project and you’re not even sure that it will be read by anyone save immediate family members. You hope, but you know that writing and reading is subjective. Just because you like a story, doesn’t mean anyone else will. And, even if you write a brilliant story, it doesn’t mean that your artistry will come across in an elevator pitch. I am fortunate to have a wonderful agent that makes me confident that everything I write will eventually find a home. I also remember all too well when I didn’t. So, the purpose of this post is to tell all the would-be authors out there penning a novel with the dream of getting traditionally published that what you are doing is difficult. It can be demoralizing. It can be frustrating and self-doubt inducing and throw-the-computer-across-the-room-infuriating. But, hang in there. That old adage about success and perspiration is true. It just doesn’t make clear that some of the sweating isn’t from effort but fear and frustration.