Last year, I completed a heavily researched 95,000-word novel about an emerging pandemic that targets primarily children. I am a former scientist and current nurse and wanted to do teaching about what to expect if a serious pandemic emerges.
My novel leans heavily on actual historical incidences and LOTS of realistic action by multiple agencies: military, epidemiologists, politicians and, of course, average people caught up in quarantine. It also has many exotic locations as outbreak clusters are carried by unwitting healthcare workers.
I have submitted it to over 500 publishers and agents without success and rewritten it twice to tone down much of the science, yet even my few beta readers don't bother to give comments in exchange for my copious suggestions about their own work. I have an editor friend with a science background who tells me there is nothing wrong with my writing. She also has no problem with how I weave actual science into a realistic plot.
So, what exactly is my problem? It may be that I have a similar issue as Richard Preston's Hot Zone or Laurie Garrett's The Coming Plague, very didactic even though it is an action adventure. So, just rewrite the story some suggest. But that removes the very purpose of my writing, to teach about the real science and medicine that will occur during a pandemic.
I am well on my way into the second novel but after so many rejections, I question whether it is worth the effort to write a trilogy that obviously has little general appeal. I took a six-month break from writing and wish to return to my series even though I am sure it may never be published.
Above all else, I am an educator and only wish to offer readers a realistic portrayal of how containment of a deadly pandemic will be botched by world health agencies.
What is worse than a rejection of a manuscript? It may be apathy. For, if no one responds to your query, you do not even get suggestions about what to improve or where to edit?
I am just curious what keeps most writers writing, after multiple rejections?