New Beginnings

Today marks the day that I started sending out query letters to agents asking them to represent my manuscript Aisha.

I got the idea for Aisha almost 2 years ago now. It took me about a year to actually write the story down, after a few months of brainstorming and procrastinating. Then after the story was done in December, it’s been about four months since I’ve been revising it. 

Over the past month, I’ve spruced up my manuscript even more after my massive edit. There were still loose ends, and so I got three more readers to take a look at it, and then worked with their edits. I knew that this day was coming soon, that I would have to leave my manuscript and jump into the other side of the writing business: the publishing side of things.

For those of you who have been reading this blog for some time now know that this is not my first manuscript or even my first time trying to get published. I’ve been on this journey for 13 years now, as I started writing my first novel at the age of 10. Since then I’ve written 2 other manuscripts and have tried (and failed) to get them published.

While writing and revising Aisha for the past few months, I kept thinking to myself that this manuscript was different, this story was different. This would be the one that would be my dream come true. There were (and still are) days of strong doubts, but the feeling that things would be different this time were more prevalent and they kept me going.

But this morning, as I faced the long list of agents in front of me, of their likes and dislikes, requests and demands, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach again. The one that I hadn’t felt for three years now since the last time I tried submitting my manuscript. The one that filled my stomach with dread and despair.

I know it’s very pessimistic of me to anticipate rejection even before sending my manuscript out, but I can’t help it. After writing for the past 13 years, I’ve never had even a request from an agent or publisher for more materials. It’s always been a standard rejection letter. And so I kept abandoning one story for another in high hopes that this one would be different. And so as I faced the long list of agents and what I imagined was a long list of potential rejections this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do if I would get rejected again. Would I start yet another story and abandon this one, a story that is extremely close to my heart? I didn’t know.

And then I stumbled upon this video by author Sarah J. Maas, the author of Throne of Glass, by the recommendation of my friend Chelsey. It was such perfect timing.

Writing is such a solitary task, and so is submitting to agents and publishers that it’s so easy to forget that other people currently are and have gone through the same experience. Listening to Sarah talk about her struggles with publishing were just what I needed at that moment this morning when I was shaking in my seat. In her words, “it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you pick yourself back up.”

So I’ll keep trucking along, because I can’t imagine giving up at this point. Even though it seems like it would be easier to give up. Even though some days I’m convinced it’ll never happen. Even though it’s such a struggle to keep going.

With that, I want to thank each and every person who’s ever taken the time to read this random, rambly blog of mine. My Facebook page just reached 100 followers the other day, and looking at that number gives me such a boost, especially on days like today when I can’t imagine anyone caring to read what I have to write. So thank you.


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  1. Rukayya says:

    Oh my goodness!! I’m soo excited for you! Good luck with the whole publishing thing, hopefully it all works out for you. I think you’re so lucky to be able to follow you’re dream of being a writer, I can remember that i wanted to be a writer since i was 11, but I didn’t end up doing that, so no matter what happens, keep writing because one day (hopefully this time :P) your dream will come true 🙂 Good luck and all the best xx

  2. Olena says:

    That’s great news Ikhlas! It is a hard next step, but it will be worth it in the end. Don’t give up! You’ve done it in the past and will keep doing it in the future, whether this will finally be the manuscript that gets taken in or whether it will be the next one. Keep believing and keep on writing! 🙂 Good luck.

  3. Haneen Ibrahim says:

    Well my friend it’s the make it or brake it time, The journey we all have to go through or something similar and I wish you all the luck in the world, it will be a grand day when I finally get to grab a copy of your book in my hands and read it (telling everyone your my online friend of course hehehe).
    Haneen Ibrahim recently posted…5 for Promises & Upcoming Fun StuffMy Profile

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