You’re an author, honing your lonely craft at crowded coffeeshops and dusty desks. But you don’t mind the solitude, because you’re passionate. Maybe you've shelled out money for writing workshops or degrees, or maybe you’ve just read some great books and wanted to write one yourself.

But you’ve hit a snag.

You polished and polished your project, and polished and polished your query letter, and pulled out your thick copy of Writer’s Market and found the agency that looked like the best fit for you, and you queried them, and waited. And waited. And waited.

Then came the letter.

It was a slender letter, too thin to be a contract. It was an impersonal rejection. What’s worse, the envelope which delivered it looked strangely familiar. That’s right, it was your self-addressed stamped envelope, in your own handwriting. Punishment by your own hand, like those schoolyard bullies who would grab your arm and hit you in the face with it while telling you: “Stop hitting yourself!”

You told yourself, “What do they know?” You hefted your dusty copy of Writer’s Market (for it has grown dusty, waiting to hear back from the agent) and tried again. You wrote several more queries.

You got several more rejections.

Or maybe you got some interest. A request for a few chapters, or for the whole manuscript—excitement like you’ve never known! And you sent it, and you waited, and you tried to remember that it takes you a long time to read books, too. And maybe your agent (and if you’ve ever made it to this point, we know you were very eager to refer to them as “your agent”) really enjoyed your manuscript! Maybe they said it was in great shape! Maybe they loved your first draft and just wanted you to make a few revisions. So you eagerly made them, and sent them back, and waited.

Maybe your agent still wasn't quite happy. Or maybe they believed in your project, and loved it! Maybe they shopped it energetically, only to run into frustration after frustration themselves in the quest for a worthy publisher.

Either way, nothing happened.

We know how you feel. We’ve been there, too. Stop hitting yourself!