Back on January 30, I discovered that the British branch of TOR Books in the US was accepting unsolicited novel manuscripts from self-published writers for some unspecified period in 2013 due to the difficulties so many face in getting their books accepted. Thinking I'd give marketing my first science-fiction space opera novel one last try after years of its rejection and several revisions to the original manuscript since 2001, I submitted the first volume to a proposed five-volume epic story Goram - The First World (originally titled The Planet at the Center of the Universe) with a subtitle of The Prophecy of Kolab (originally Arrival of a Prophecy) for the first volume. The manuscript ready as it would ever be, I had hopes maybe different editors from ones that rejected my work before might have a more positive view of the story idea's commercial viability. Sending it on January 31 as a Word file following TOR UK's guidelines, I read at the website they took up to 12 weeks to reply and then would respond only if interested in the submission.
Weeks went by and in late March I sent them one of my self-published novels since the page indicated already self-published work could be submitted as well. It was my other worlds fantasy story Sister Helena of the Sword. Then in early April I sent The Circle of Light, my self-published superhero fantasy story. By April 25, I had assumed Goram - The First World: The Prophecy of Kolab was rejected for any consideration at TOR UK and had no hope any other works I submitted would be taken seriously there. Nothing unusual - I have the long list of previous rejections to my novels that drove me into trying the self-publishing experimental route back in August 2011 for the first time.
Then imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from TOR UK about my first novel submitted to them this morning. Had something finally changed to all the bad luck and mistakes my writing career had suffered from almost since the beginning of its first fruits in 2000? Would this finally be the big chance I'd awaited for more than a decade? Of course not - opening the e-mail with great trepidation, as I suffer rejection with far less grace than the average person who can take such setbacks, I found the brief sentence indicating my novel would not be advanced into any publishing stage with the usual best wishes closing every writer takes and tries again with the next market. This seemed like a cruel cosmic joke on me. Their site said if a writer didn't hear back from them after 12 weeks consider the submission rejected. As of April 25, I had considered it exactly that and forgot about the submission entirely. WHY did TOR UK even bother to send that e-mail? The prior silence was indicative enough of the outcome I received.
And now for something completely different - no, actually it's related to my ongoing hard struggles to survive in a life that keeps kicking the shit out of me at every turn it seems. Being 45 and considered over the hill by a working world that has no use for a college graduate with the useless Bachelor of Arts degree in History and an unfinished attempt at securing a Master's Degree in the same field a few years after that, I can only get marginal dead end jobs with my spotty past employment history, apparently having Asperger's Syndrome making my mind impractical about building up a good work history being a silly-hearted dreamer wrapped up in an ambition he cannot realize if he lived to be 100. The job I hold now pays a paltry (in current US economic terms) $7.50 per hour as a research interviewer for the NYC firm Abt SRBI in their local Huntington, WV call center calling strangers on the telephone to get their cooperation in taking surveys about travel, health, political opinion, etc. I won't get my first raise for two more weeks but it doesn't matter anyway since I'm almost out of money for the gasoline I need to commute 19 miles for this job. Plus with my social anxieties and the AS making me unable to function as a people person in sales or service jobs, this job is sometimes too much to bear for the 20 or more hours and 4-5 days I must work at it for survival. Of course friends advise me to hang in there and persevere at my dream, but this standard advice just isn't working to motivate me any longer. I may lose this job if I miss even one scheduled shift being considered a probationary employee until the first raise. But there's no public transit option for evening shifts in my largely rural area and the Saturday options are somewhat limited. I refuse to drive to work in a car that might sputter and stop along the way from an empty gasoline tank I cannot afford to refill. I cannot even buy any food or other supplies right now because all the little money I have left must be saved for gasoline to reach a job that pays me too little to survive. And don't say get another job - that one was the only one out of a few dozen I tried applying for and the five I received interviews with that hired me. I have no other options. I cannot do direct sales jobs - no charisma or self-confidence to be a success at pushing someone else's product whatever it is. IF I had to work on commission I'd starve. I couldn't sell a burning man a bucket of water, much less even persuade him to take it for free. My bank is robbing me of $8.95 every month because I cannot maintain some artificial minimum balance in the checking account and I've lost $53.70 that could've bought me more gasoline today in the past six months due to this foolish policy that probably puts Christmas bonuses in the executive's pockets. I could switch banks but won't have any money to deposit until Monday.
So as you can see from what I've written, my personal life is a lonely mess of near-bankruptcy, unpaid debts (a few thousand I still owe medical agencies for a week's stay at a local hospital last year and all the services they provided I could not afford), and a dead-end job I might lose soon because I cannot afford the commute to it any longer. Even if a promised reimbursement check from the State of Ohio would arrive sooner than 9-13 days from now and if there was enough left from my next paycheck (the smallest one I have ever received from Atb SRBI due to cut hours and shift cancellations) after paying the overdue portion of my rent from May 1 and my local water utility bill a few days late, I don't know if I'll have enough to survive on in the immediate future much less pay for fuel to drive to a job I hate. My Asperger's condition makes me an all-or-nothing sort of mentality. Either I'm happy doing what I love or I can never be truly happy with everyday living. Disappointments and setbacks other people take in stride, crush my will to live far more cruelly than the do the average neurologically typical person. I've sought out government assistance remedies, against my better judgment and chronic mistrust of powerful institutions, but government aid services move exceedingly slowly in determining whether one is worthy of becoming a ward of the State. By the time they decide I am too nucking futs to be left unsupervised in the next few weeks or months, I could be homeless and destitute with no reason left to live.
So you can see how destructive TOR UK's decision to reject my science-fiction novel has proven. I never had any reason to expect them to want my work, but after saying they didn't contact writers whose work they didn't want and then sending me that rejection e-mail today was the spoiled pickle on my rancid crap sandwich of a life. Seeing the unopened e-mail today, I had hoped finally to become the professional author. But no, my work is too flawed or badly written or not good enough or doesn't precisely follow the rules of English grammar or has no commercial potential or whatever the bullshit excuse is for keeping John X. Grey trapped in the legion of rank amateurs who thought he had any talent at writing fiction to try this as a career ambition. I just can't take the crushing disappointment any longer and no one in a position to change that will ever lift a finger to prevent my premature death from terminal failure. I am a natural born loser with no reason left to live. What, you might say, isn't your new book doing well? Yes, but three copies sold and $11.97 in as-yet unpaid royalties will not be enough to prevent my financial oblivion in 2013.
As I have said elsewhere anything good that happens in my life seems always to be too little and too late to make any difference, while the bad news seems to crash down upon my fragile mind in waves. I see God as a tough love Father who lets His children fail and suffer the consequences of their bad decisions as the way He shows His love (allowing His Only Begotten Son to die on a cross for some greater purpose being the most illustrative example of this tough love). I admit I cannot manage my life, desires or finances, but He seems content to allow my end for some reason after giving me this life's calling or ambition 15-16 years ago. If one has great faith, you would think this is the sort of sad life's story He would intervene in to turn it around so that person could be a shining example of His power to others, but due to some personal failing I am not considered worthy of divine intervention, even though I've received signs I'm supposed to write as my life's calling. I'm just not made for survival (of the fittest or anything else) in this cruel imperfect world and unless God takes pity and mercy upon me I've not much longer to go left in my life. I cannot bear starvation, homelessness and destitution as my only visible future.