Serious title, huh? It is a pretty important question. You've poured your soul into your manuscript. You've sweated, sacrificed, cried, and celebrated. You've written fifty drafts, put it in a drawer for a month, had a critique group and twelve beta readers look at it. You've woken up at 3AM just to fix that one sentence that was bothering you.
So you query. You write, rewrite, edit, get critiques, and rewrite it again. You send it out and sit at your computer hitting refresh on your inbox so much you break the mouse. WHY DON'T THEY GET BACK TO ME? You wonder. And when they do, you wonder HOW CAN THEY REJECT IT SO FAST? You're an emotional shipwreck.
You get some rejections and some requests for partials and fulls. You query ten agents, wait, then repeat until you've queried 100 times. In the end, the phone never rings. YOU DON'T GET THE CALL. You eat a tub of ice-cream. You cry. You call/email/DM all your writer friends who understand. (Notice I didn't say blog or tweet about it). And you want to know, WHY? Why wasn't my best good enough?
What do you do?
Do you give up? NO. You don't. Because you know that perseverance is the key to success. That you constantly learn more, get better, grow.
Do you Throw the manuscript in the drawer and start from scratch? Well, that depends. But the simple answer is YES. It's okay to love it. It's okay to want to publish it someday. Maybe you will. But for now you need to start a new WIP if you haven't already. Because you should always be writing and working and learning. And maybe this will be the one.
Each one is a learning experience. Each one helps you grow as a writer. Especially if you - say it with me now - WRITE WHAT SCARES YOU. To borrow a cliche, don't put all your eggs in one basket. (kind of like don't put all your werewolves in one room because they'll rip each other apart and make an awful mess, but I digress).
I bet you are more than one great book. I bet you are a great writer. And I'm not talking about the sequel you've had planned in your six book series. Resist the urge. If you must, then outline it, but the new book should be just that. A completely new book.
This business is subjective. It's many times about finding the right person at the right time. But you CAN make your work and yourself as polished and ready as possible so that you don't let that opportunity slide by unrealized.