Funny how one thing in one compartment of your life can affect many things in other compartments of your life. You know it’s true. We all do.
Well it so happens that’s exactly what’s going on with me.
I got a rejection on a full from the first agent who requested “Ernest”. He requested at the end of August. He rejected at the end of January. It took him a while to get it read and he gave me all the proper apologies and even a few reasons for the delay. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. It was the most personal rejection I’ve ever gotten and led to a wonderful email exchange that really gave me hope.
We discussed my writing. He said, I’m very good. That’s encouraging.
He said “send me the next thing”. I said I would. That’s encouraging.
He said his reader really liked it and passed it on to him to read for himself. That’s encouraging.
He said he was rejecting it because he just really doesn’t like Ernest Hemingway. I laughed and wondered why he even asked to read it, considering the title and query. I didn’t ask though, but appreciated his honesty. He said not to let his bias discourage me from continuing my search.
He said his reader told him that this kind of book is in the midst of a small trend, and asked me if I thought so too. I said yes, that it seemed to be. That was encouraging, since I wrote it quite a while ago, and I had gone with my heart on it, and wrote what made me happy and didn’t write toward a particular “market”. It validated, I suppose, that when you write for yourself first, and not toward a “zombies are really selling, maybe I’ll write a zombie book” that it can work. Because honestly, I really can’t write what people make me write.
He said to keep going because someone is going to want it. That’s very encouraging.
We ended the discussion with the fact that he wants to see my next book. I told him he would be the first to see it. Now I just have to finish the damned thing – most challenging story I’ve ever written. Seeing potential in a story and wondering if you can be as big a writer as this big story requires is scary. Can I turn out my vision for this story in the right words? I don’t know yet. I still feel like it’s bigger than I am. But this conversation I had gave me a nudge to get back to it.
While the NO itself didn’t make me happy, the information I got and the multiple ways I was encouraged thrilled me.
Our conversation made me want to finish what I’m working on now, (no, scratch that, I want to finish it Right Now!) so I can send it to him. Trouble is finding the hours to match the enthusiasm.
The conversation we had put me back in the “Ernest could be good enough” frame of mind. It also put me in the “my next one will knock his socks off” frame of mind.
It feels good here where I am with this process, not only for the encouragement that Ernest is a good book, but because my writing has improved over time and I know it. My next one will be a better book than my last. My plot and character and pace and language are stronger in this one than they were when I wrote Ernest. I know they are.
Maybe I just needed to hear from a professional that I just might have the right combo to break into this publishing world.
I have no doubt I will get knocked down to size again on this journey to author-hood, but if it’s okay, while I have it, I’m going to bask in this Feel-Good-No and put the energy it’s given me to good use.
Life and work have been busy for me lately, and I suppose I’ve seen recently that priorities and time and energy are precious. If you’ve wondered where I disappeared to, I’m just trying to do less things, because there are a lot important things in my life I should be focusing on, and I’m trying my damnedest to do THOSE things well.
Thank you, feel-good-No. :)