Well, I waited for 79 days to finally find out the my book proposal was rejected by my number one agent choice. Everything I have read about the publishing industry talks about persistence. I am not a naturally persistent person. I tend to think everything will work out. I learned a lesson the hard way many years ago, if there is something you really want, you need to be persistent. The way I learned this was my senior year of high school. I was on the tennis team all four years. Tennis was my sport and I loved it. I was pretty good too. I had been on the varsity team my junior year but I had greatly improved over the summer by going to tennis camp at UC Santa Cruz and by playing daily with friends. I had no doubt I would again be on the varsity tennis team. It turns out there were many sophomores whose parents decided to pressure the coach into putting their daughters on the varsity team. Somehow his head was so far up *something* that he moved me down to JV so the younger girls (who were not better than me) could be on the varsity team. I remember thinking it would be important to not complain and just show him how good I was and he would change things around. Well, like I said his head was obviously somewhere where he couldn’t see. I don’t think he cared much except that the parents didn’t bug him. I never said anything and ended up playing JV.
So now I know, if you want sometime, speak up! Especially in the publishing industry where agents and editors receive THOUSANDS of submissions. You are a needle in a haystack. So here is what I did to at least receive some actual feedback and not just a form rejection letter.
1. I friended “my” agent on Facebook. I comment on her statuses regularly as well as commenting on her blogs. This is not difficult to do since I am completely interested in what she has to say.
2. I have written her some private Facebook messages with questions about publishing, the Christian market, etc. I am always extremely thankful and humble for her help and advice.
3. I asked when I had not heard back. My proposal ended up getting lost – TWICE. If I had not asked, I would never have gotten any response. After it was lost the second time and I resent it again I finally received my rejection within a few days. But, I think, because of my persistence and humility I received more than a standard form rejection letter. She actually gave me some areas to work on (stronger opening, and showing verses telling), she suggested a few books I should read and recommended going to writer’s conference. I replied to the email and basically told her to please be honest and let me know if I should continue trying to better my manuscript for publication. I told her if writing is just a hobby I can not justify spending almost $1,000 on a writer’s conference. She wrote back, encouraged me to keep writing and said she really thinks the writer’s conference can help me.
This brings me to new opportunity number one. I could not sit in sadness over rejection for too long (it was about 5 minutes) before deciding what to do. I will be attending the Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference
I did pray that we would financially be able to make this happen. (I had already been considering it as a possibility if I was rejected.) My dad said he would help me out with part of the cost, I have applied for a “campership” and was told they would cover at least 20%, and my mom is going to watch my kids! So it is going to happen! I am really excited and going into it totally open to what God wants to show me and teach me about writing.
The other new opportunity is one that has also been coming for a while. I had been planning to go to Fresno State next year for my master’s in English Literature. I hadn’t actually applied yet. Getting rejected made me want to focus on something else. I finished my writing sample and my submission essay and went ahead and applied. It is kind of crazy because this all happened in one day.
Another reason I am excited about this is because part of me really wanted a MFA creative writing but after a lot of thought and research I decided to go with the MA Literature. What I would be really missing is the writing instruction but I want to teach Literature (not writing.) The exciting thing is, I will receive the BEST writing instruction at this conference and I am getting the degree I want and need. So excited!!!