Thursday, January 13, 2011
Gotta Learn to Live with "Rejects"
The more I seek an agent or publishing company, the more I relate the process to dating. It really is an attraction/dating/mating process.
Hear me out:
I find that I groom the product, the novel, like I groom myself. Edits after edits after edits. Smoothing the kinks out. Building character, improving depth. Making the presentation better all around. Then it's time to present to a few good suitors. I know who I have my eye on, let's see if I catch theirs.
After the presentation is just right, I make the novel available (the whole package is ready to go), but I won't flat out hand over the goods, not in the beginning. The publishing company/agent doesn't get the whole thing *snaps finger* just like that. Some are even turned off by the audacity and aggressiveness.
And in relation to dating, a Lady doesn’t just jump out there with a guy she's interested in and says "Ding, I'm ready. Take all of me even though we just met two seconds ago." I just don't think that's a Lady move, although a Lady doesn't have to be a Lady all the time (leaving it alone). BUT in Lady mode, she may walk past her object of desire, gain eye contact and smile or walk past him and compliment him on an item of clothing. He smiles and says, "thank you." She responds and walks away. Once his interest is piqued, score for her! She’s opened a door!
Well, the door opener for publishing is the query letter, which basically says, "I'm interested in you. Here's why, AND here's why I think you should be interested in me." It may also include the summary of the story. That’s that something extra that you hope will hook them even more.
But know this, there is no guarantee the agent or company is gonna bite. Just like complimenting that very handsome guy doesn't guarantee a date. As honest as you were and as cute as he became when he blushed and thanked you, he might have a girl or many girls on his team; he might not have time for you; he might not like your style or your face or your hair or your perfume. It just might not be a fit.
Publishing companies and agents do the same thing. I've been told they have no time for my story. I've been told there’s too much on their plate. I’ve been ignored… No one has said that the story wouldn't be a good fit- there's a ray of light. That means good research has paid off. I'm in the right area, I just haven’t struck gold (meaning signed on the dotted lines)…yet.
It's funny because a friend asked me last night about dealing with rejection and things not going my way, but she was referring to men. Basically how do I deal with it? I thought back, a ways back, and told her that I used to get mad…then it became disappointment and frustration but it has come down like 20 notches. Over time I naturally developed a "Shit Happens," "Such is Life," "What God Has For Me is For Me" type of attitude. Life goes on.
1. I'm not meant to be with everybody…Ewww that's just gross. And as long as I've been dating, Jeez, I can't imagine following through with every guy who winked at me.
2. Being let down is not a bad thing if it reveals to you that it's not a good match anyway.
3. If you know that the best is yet to come…in whatever form- could be a more mature version of who you're with now, or a totally different person (IDK), then take the negatives with a grain of salt.
In dating and in publishing, why get mad when someone's says, “It ain't gon' work.” Keep going AND look to the positive.
The positive things that I can say about this process:
1. I've gotten amazingly far from the first scene I wrote years ago.
2. I've connected with a lot of writers, publishers, supporters and will continue to do so.
3. My quality of life has improved because I’m passionate about what I do.
4. My manuscript has NOT been rejected by all ;-) (under wraps for now).
5. This is pretty damn fun, actually.
My friend called me optimistic and I agree with her. There are far more positives than negatives. And the negatives, really, I mean really, aren't that bad :-)
Organic Leaves 2009©
When Melanie Bridges, a beautiful, single, successful D.C., journalist, decided to attend her first love's wedding to her college enemy, she thought she was closing a chapter for good, but instead she unknowingly opened up a world of deceit, betrayal, and more heartache than she had bargained for.
Melanie is forced to face the man who broke her heart and the woman who stole his. She heads back to Atlanta with her girls, two years after graduating from Atlanta A&M University, where it all began, where she met her college sweetheart Derrick Mason and the only real friends she’s ever known—wild Nikki Blanchard, sweet Shelly McCrary, and focused Toni Davis-Solomon. While preparing to bury, for good, the idea that she and her ex will ever marry, Melanie takes advantage of this midyear vacation with her best friends of six years. But in the midst of her Atlanta stay, secrets are discovered, lies are uncovered, horrid memories resurface, and friends become enemies. Facing her fears leads to a shock of a lifetime and more pain than she could have ever imagined. The most disturbing discovery is the realization that through life’s trials, she’s lost the essence of who she really is; as if what was organically and authentically Melanie had just upped and walked away. It takes prayer, strength, and love like she's never known to bring her back.