Our latest blog series on BGW is about our Best and Worst days, as writers. Or Worst and Best, depending on how you want to mix it up.
My Best Day was the night I queried my agent, thinking, “There is NO WAY she’ll want to represent me. Let me get this over with and deal with the rejection.” I’d met her at two different conferences and she oozed professionalism and business savvy. Nicole knew what she was doing, knew the industry and what she wanted in a client. Why would she ever want me? She had NYT & USA Today Best Sellers on her list. I’m just little ole me.
Within ten or fifteen minutes of hitting send, she emailed me back, saying something to the effect of, “YES! I love this. I want more. Send me the full!”
First of all, that uber impressive agent wanted my full manuscript? Secondly, my timing was 100% pure luck. She must have been checking her email at the time my submission popped in and there I was, at the top of the inbox. 🙂 I received her response some time after 10pm and proceeded to wander around my house for the next two hours in complete and total shock. Once the shock wore off, the panic set in. I had to get the story finished and polished immediately (forever indebted to my CP and fellow Bad Girl, Laura Trentham for being super speedy with my emergency), but I sent the full off a few days later and my agent loved it. We emailed back and forth and chatted on the phone. She offered representation and I accepted. I was over the moon for days! We went on to sell my next story in a three book deal (still flying high about that), but the very best day was when I received Nicole’s email of enjoyment and interest. In the dark of night, when I had no hope of her wanting to rep me, and didn’t think anyone would ever want to read me, my dream agent said she loved my story.
The Worst Day was when it became apparent I would not break into NY with the first series we sent on submission. It was just after RWA Nationals last year, and while editors loved my voice and the characters, for a debut author, the series needed a stronger, more original hook.
Now, I get it. I absolutely see why they had concerns about the series marketability and sales, since I’m a new voice in the genre. Now, I know how I’d change the series to make it a stronger sell, but at the time, I was devastated. All of my friends had sold their first time out, and I fell into that comparison game even though I know it’s a no win competition.
But along with the rejection came a lot of great feedback. Every house was open to seeing my next project and now I could create a series from scratch, with my agent’s feedback in mind. I learned a lot from those rejections, and I stopped worrying about the comparison game. In fact, that game is almost non-existent for me now. I’m stronger for not getting a yes right away, but man oh man, it suuuuucked when it happened. I cried and emailed my CPs/executive committee. Of course they were all fabulous and supportive. They were fabulous and supportive again, when I DID sell; screaming on the phone with me, doing the happy dance no matter where they were. I can honestly say they believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
That’s the takeaway here, writers and Bad Girlz of the world. Best Day or Worse, you will learn from both. You will find your true friends through both. Success and Failure are of equal importance, and I believe you can’t fully appreciate one without the other. Now go out there, grab the words by the horns, and write those stories!