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The Art of Not Giving Up – Improving On Your Work As You Query Agents

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The Art of Not Giving Up.

One thing I’ve leant as a writer is the art of never giving up, from losing my way in writers block to hearing a negative feedback about a character I’ve created. As a writer, you must have a thick skin, patience and the ability to dust yourself off when you get knocked down.


Remember rejection is not the be all and end all, if all writers gave up after the first rejection letter then there would be no Harry Potter, Lord of the flies and no A wrinkle in time. All these books were rejected multiple times before getting the chance of publication.

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Every author will go through rejection. We will all open the emails to read the ‘I’m sorry but not this time’ lines. It’s tough, it’s harsh but this is life. You are never going to get anywhere if you stop after the first rejection letter, in doing that you are giving up on the chance that one day you might get the same opportunity as other incredible authors.


Your work is a baby that needs nurturing, as a writer you should always be improving. By querying to agents and editors you are not guaranteed any feedback, so don’t anticipate it. Some won’t even respond to every query. So, you must improve on your own. Remember you must be a better writer than you were yesterday, so read over what you wrote, tweak and edit it to make it better.


Get used to reading your own work, this is because unless you have a professional editor you will be working on your work alone. So, if you don’t like what you wrote then you have no hope in improving.

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Personally, I always write stories that I would read or buy myself that way I am interested in progressing the story, entertained when reading and spurred on when editing.

Now the big debate over free reading sites, do you publish on there or not? There is no wrong answer. There have been many big books published that were successful on reading sites, however some publishers prefer unread, unpublished manuscripts. So, it’s a decision only you can make.


But by using free reading sites you are opening your work to critique, to readers’ thoughts and a way to help you develop. These have been crucial in helping authors gain confidence in their writing, helping new writers get the courage to show what they can do.

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I use these sites to help me develop the novels I am querying. As the reader will spot plot flaws, grammar and spelling errors but will also show you where readers get lost or lose interest. I once found out that two characters “Andrew” the love interest and “Anthony” the female protagonist’s brother had too similar of a name and it confused readers. So, in my edits I changed a name. This would not have been pointed out by agents, they wouldn’t have read that far into the book.


This type of feedback can really help you improve on what you have created, it will give you a chance to put your best novel forward when querying. You may even find your entire plot might change making it an entirely new version to the free reading sites version.


Yes, you are opening yourself to negative feedback about your work, but again that is all part of improving, growing and gaining the thick skin needed for this industry.


Just because one reader hates a character doesn’t mean you should get rid; one hundred readers could love the same character.

Always remember to take a step back sometimes, have a break. Getting overwhelmed can burn you out and you will give up. Your work will always be waiting for you. So, try taking a time out it could help you get new inspiration.

Getting published is not easy, writing is not easy. We struggle with rejection, negativity, embarrassment not to mention writers block and most unpublished writers have school and jobs. Writing is a passion first and foremost, it’s an outlet and a way for us to express ourselves.

So, never give up it might not be today, it might not be the project that you are working on right now, but one day if you try, improve and show the world you are not giving up you will succeed.


An Article by Belle Dowson.


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