So it's a long story.
But earlier this week I sent off my novel Retreat to a few small publishers. I've decided "that's it." I won't be actively doing anything with it.
It's tough, though, when you've spent years on something... and then nothing happens.
This is a novel I finished in 2004 (I think). I got an agent. The novel was sent around to six or seven publishers. After they all passed (for similar reasons), the agent suggested I do another draft of the novel. I obliged. Then he/she didn't like the result. And that was that.
More rounds of submissions. Ups, downs. Contests. More submissions. Yes, I'd like to see the full manuscript. No thanks, this is isn't right for me.
Then I did nothing with it, focused on stories and started another novel, which is supposedly the best way to deal with this kind of stuff.
Now I'm sending out a few last messages in a bottle. Because, as Flannery O'Connor once said, people without hope do not write novels.
Yesterday I read an interview with Don DeLillo. He had this to say about his first novel, Americana:
"I don't think my first novel would have been published as I submitted it today. I don't think an editor would have read 50 pages of it. It was very overdone and shaggy, but two young editors saw something worth pursuing."