Case in point: my latest project, Nightmares. I think it seems like a cool concept. I think I concocted a compelling story. I think it's well written, with good action and realistic dialog.
I've sent out a few preliminary query letters to agents, and have gotten back three polite "no" responses. Am I ready to throw in the towel? Of course not, especially since in a blog I read the other day, the author said that she received 50 rejections before her book was accepted. So I'll put away the sharp objects and the noose for now. But still...
Am I good enough to be a Writer, with a capital "W?"
Will people want to buy my work?
Am I wasting my time?
And then I get something like this...
I had asked a few friends to review Nightmares, not as a proofreader, but more from the perspective of a fan of fiction. "If you started reading this book, would you keep reading?" I asked. One of my friends wrote the following:
What was supposed to be just at lunchtime turned into the rest of the afternoon. I couldn’t put it down. For me that says a lot. I've been reading quite a bit lately and if a book doesn't catch my interest quickly, I stop reading it. Yours, I enjoyed so much I started through it a second time this afternoon.
Yes, I know it came from a friend, who likes me, and therefore is biased toward my writing. Still, I asked for an honest assessment. And I believe I got one.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a few more agents to query.