Yes, my friends, it’s been a busy baby summer, what with the birth of THE royal baby Prince George, THE directionally-challenged-at-birth baby North West, and we’re all agosh waiting for the birth of Labor Day actress, Kate Winslet’s 3rd /
aka the first with 3rd husband Ned Rocknroll–just to see what they’ll name it, right? (I’m hoping for Olive or Longlive. You do the math…)
Anyhoo, if you’ve been following this blog series,
What To Expect When You’re Expecting–a BOOK,
or stumbled onto it via an erroneous #Mommy Kate(s) search engine blunder, welcome to Part3:
Handing a Negative Result–aka rejections.
Not that I’m an expert or anything…
OK I’ve weathered a good many rejections, and for this I thank my former life as an actor:
Picture me schlepping to on-camera auditions, wherein the entire waiting room is filled with women who look frighteningly similar to moi–yet younger, more vibrant, more…let’s face it–photogenic. You get the picture.
Waiting for a reply from editors and agents is like that too.
Endless agony. More self-doubt than a casting agent’s waiting room. (Check out this angst-ridden/ no-good-very-bad poem I posted a few years back if you don’t believe me.) Seriously, there should be a stick you can pee on after you submit your manuscript. Right?
Instead, I repeat this mantra (Say it with me folks…): It only takes one YES.
Of course, dear readers, we’d all love to set off a bidding war in which editors beg for the chance of getting our book-baby into the world. (If you are a visual person, like me, and invested in this book-baby metaphor–which I sincerely hope you are–, perhaps you are picturing billions of sperm chasing that dear egg… “Pick me! Pick me! Pick ME!” )
Alas, I digress… Today, I’m excited to introduce my fabulous guests:
Holly Schindler, author of A BLUE SO DARK (Flux 2010), PLAYING HURT (Flux 2011), and her debut middle grade novel (I love her titles!) THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, (Dial) due out Feb. 6, 2014. (This photo is from her blog: Novel Anecdotes. Check it out!)
My second guest today is the founder of East/West Literary Agency, Deborah Warren.
Deborah Warren, aka my incredibly wonderful agent at East/West Literary, once shared a sampling of “early rejections,” which speak much louder than this tiny bundle of book-baby blog.
or example—a newspaper editor once told Rudyard Kipling: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you don’t know how to use the English language.”
An early editor commented on THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK: “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift the book above the ‘curiosity level’.”
And since I’m a Shakespeare geek, check out diarist Samuel Pepys‘ criticism of The Bard, himself:
“March 1 . Saw [Shakespeare’s] Romeo and Juliet, the first time it was ever acted; but it is a play of itself the worst that I heard in my life, and worst acted that ever I saw these people do.”
I wonder what he’d say about the Duchess of Cambridge’s bundle of joy ?
You may have heard of Thomas Edison’s famous saying,
“Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.”
–which can easily be applied to childbirth… However I prefer to follow the Calvin Coolidge school of thought in this crazy book-baby business of ours:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Author Holly Schindler agrees. “I must be an elephant. Because I’ve had the LONGEST gestational period ever. Seven and a half years—that’s how long it took to get my first ‘yes.'”
What kept you going?
“The cool thing about a book-baby,” Holly says, “is that you don’t have to wait for nature to take its course. You can get in there and work on it.” Holly adds, “It was a shock to realize, when I read through some editors’ critiques, that they thought my book-baby was missing a few vital organs or a head! But I’m so glad that I did listen—now, revision is my favorite part of having a book in development…and I never live in fear of the editorial letter. It’s a process that makes my book every bit as picturesque as a Gerber Baby!”
Press on, my friends. Follow these awesome people on Twitter: @HollySchindler and @EastWestLit !
And as I wait (and wait) for the book-day of DECK THE WALLS (newest due date September 16th–olive fingers crossed! Check @ErinDealey for updates! ), and wait for YES on a certain YA manuscript (which recently received a few glowing rejections), I remind myself–and anyone who’s still reading:
(No–wait–that’s not it…)
It only takes one YES.
PS –See you next week for WTEWYE–a BOOK! part4: First Trimester: ”Expect the best” –Symptoms—Ultrasound –the book cover– It’s real!!!!!