Back on Feb 17th, I wrote a blog entry on when to give up on trying to get published. I'd like to add to that now. Someone put a new swing on the question for me. It wasn't about giving up writing so much as her discouragement at having rejection after rejection and when to give up on that particular book. This was my answer to her... Hope someone finds this useful!
Don't. Someone once said that the only difference between a published and unpublished writer is determination/dedication. Okay... Maybe that first one needs to go in a drawer...for now...or forever. You MIGHT be able to sell it, once you have a few other books out there. You might have to rewrite it. It might get published posthumously, an author's first work that never published. It might never publish. But, never trash it and never dismiss it as completely unsaleable. Sometimes the market just needs to catch up with your vision.
And, don't let rejection make you quit, if it means something to you! Frank Baum was turned away from nearly every NY publisher, before he managed to publish the first Oz book. So was Dr. Suess. He didn't sell his first book, either...at least not at that time. It sold later.
In the meantime, keep writing. Some authors tell me that they didn't sell a book until they'd written 5 or 6 or even 7 or 10. They often sell those earlier books later in their careers.
If you've never heard Sherrilyn Keyon's story, you should. She made a few sales...then nothing for (if memory serves) 7 years. She decided on one last chance and stole a stamp out of her husband's wallet to send a final query out. When the request for full came in, she BORROWED the money to send the mss to NY from a friend, without telling her husband. They were a biscuit away from losing their house, but this was something she had to do, and she did...and it paid off. What would have happened if she'd given up before that last stamp?
I should also note that she kept writing the entire time she wasn't selling. She wrote book after book and kept going.