Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Fricassee

To encourage you today:

I am the poster child of Things Don't Always Happen Quickly.  An example of what is far more often the case with agented authors--it sometimes takes longer than you would have imagined for your dreams to come true.

Don't give up.

It took bestselling author Jim Butcher 5 years (yes, 5) to finally sell, after he'd finished his third book  (yes, his third).

C.J. Redwine went through 2 unsold manuscripts with her agent before the third one finally sold (Defiance).

{Fill in the blank} had to wait {fill in the blank} years before {fill in the blank} sold.

You get the idea.

So, yeah.  Don't give up.

Don't give up if you're still trying to get an agent.  It took me 5 years.

Don't give up if you're agented and you still haven't sold anything.  I'm still doing that thing.

Look, I've got a great agent.  I love him.  And he and I now share a history of "bad timing" and "saturated market" and  "editor fatigue" and "her writing is wonderful, but..." and "send me anything else she has written" and, simply, "this isn't for me".  Selling a book is about so much more than having a great story.  Naturally, that's frustrating.  But that's the way it is.

So we press on.

If I'm honest with myself, I like where this has brought me.  I like feeling like an experienced warhorse.   I like that I am able, in a way I wasn't able 3 years ago, to disentangle myself from my work.  Not that I don't have bad days; not that I don't feel the frustration sometimes.  But something is different now.  I am--dare I say it?--sanguine.

I'm more excited about my current project that I've been since I first signed with Josh.  It's hard to explain the feeling of "rightness" this one has.  The feeling that I've taken everything I've walked through and produced something that has transcended it all.

And I'm working on a final edit right now.  Final, as in final-edit-before-going-on-sub.  (Well, unless darling Josh wants to nitpick again.  He's a crazy-good editor, but I may have to throw a little hissy fit at some point.  Maybe.)

Of course, I have NO IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.  But that's not the point.  The point is, I'm here, and the journey continues.  And I'm not giving up.  

Not giving up.

I love my craft.  More than ever--in fact, probably for the first time in my life--I am intensely aware of how STORIES live inside me.  How I think in stories.  Share myself in stories.  Perceive things as stories.

I like this about myself.  I like that my journey has brought me to this place of self-discovery.

So you see, there's more to this journey than just getting published.  So much more.

Don't give up.

Continue to be teachable.  Continue to grow.  Continue to write.  At some point, if you feel like you're going down the wrong path, then, by all means, turn left at the crossroads.  Or turn right.

But if your vision remains the same, then keep going.  There are no promises of quick success.  There is no sense of fairness in how quickly the author next to you sells, while you pine away.  There is no easy road, except for the (very) select few.  And I'm not sure the easy road is always best, anyway.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep trying.

Don't give up.


  1. Just what I needed to hear today. Thanks for the pep talk!

  2. Brilliant post! It's so easy to lose perspective and all hope while waiting, waiting, waiting for someone else to decide whether to make your dream a reality or not.

  3. Great post! This was what I needed to read this morning. Thank you.

  4. Great post! This was what I needed to read this morning. Thank you.

  5. I've been thinking about this angle a lot too while finishing revisions for my first MS that will go out on sub (assuming my agent likes the revisions! :) )

    I went a little crazy querying and I really don't want to do that again. I want to focus on the fun stuff. The writing, the reading, the critiquing, the connecting with other writers. :)

    Hopefully this post will help me remember that.

    I also completely agree the easy road might not actually be the best one.

  6. Thank you for yet another lovely thought! :)

    And it's so true that the greater appreciation that comes from having to work hard to accomplish a goal can make it much more meaningful that it would be if it all happened easily.

  7. From one warhorse to another: I love that word, sanguine.

    And I love the excitement you have about your new project. Fingers crossed for you.

  8. Thank you for the words of encouragement. It's so important that we remind our fellow creatives to keep our chins up in times of doubt.

  9. Great post - so encouraging. Thanks for being honest and for always being an advocate for writers. You're a great asset to the writing community. <3

  10. I can totally empathize w/ your situation. I had an agent for 4 1/2 yrs, yet never made it past editorial committee while on sub. After parting w/ her (on friendly terms), I've been back in the query trenches for the last year and a half. Discouraged? At times, definitely! But this experience has actually made me more passionate about writing, and a little less obsessed w/ getting published. After all, if my goal were simply to get pubbed, I could have done that w/ a small press or by self-pubbing. My goal is to become a better writer w/ each story I tell. And hopefully entertain myself in the process. If others also happen to enjoy my stories, well...that's the icing on the cake.

  11. Thanks so much for this. The timing was perfect for the struggles I've been dealing with lately. I truly hope this project results in bidding wars for you. You inspire so many.

  12. What you do here is just so damn important, so incredibly generous, so helpful. I have no doubt that the positive karma you've built up through all you've done for aspiring authors will come back to you. In spades. Keep inspiring people, Authoress.

  13. Wise words. Thanks for sharing them. Thanks for all you do. I, too, am crossing my fingers for you.

  14. "Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep trying."

    Great words to live by! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  15. Yes, yes, and yes!

    Took me five years and three manuscripts to land an agent.

    Took another two years and two more manuscripts to get my first book deal.

    Took two tries to get the next book deal.

    Not sure what'll take to get another book sold, but I do know that the only way to do is to keep trying.

    You're a great example of that--may 2014 be your year of YES!

  16. When I see your post in my email in-box, I always perk up and save it for last, my little bit of "chocolate". I feel like I am part of a supportive community of writers, here on this blog, and you are our tireless guide and mentor. Thank you for giving us this virtual Delphi for the lyrically possessed. You are beyond "published" in my mind: you are transcendent.

  17. Yes, I agree. Don't give up. If writing is in your blood, you can't. I am happiest when I'm working on a story. I'm also excited about the one I am currently querying, it's undergone major revisions that make it stronger and the WIP I am so excited about also feels "right." My mantra is: Never Give Up, Never Surrender.

  18. The best advice is to keep writing! I'm so glad I listened. I love each project I write almost more than the last. It sucks sometimes though, being rejected, revising, rejected again. This biz ain't easy.

  19. Funny how time gives you the ability to realize they aren't rejecting you, it's just that your work isn't right for them at this time. Of course it still sucks, but growing that thicker skin makes life a little easier.

  20. Painful but true. Josh has been my super agent since 2009 when he enthusiastically took on my series at a time before New Adult was invented so all the editors who loved it were confused where to place it- and it didn't have vampires- or werewolves/angels/demons/robots - and was set in the past not the future and there was no sex or bondage (Josh made me take that scene out). In my home country, NZ, the books have been on the bestsellers lists and won awards. So, it aint the product and you can bet Josh has the best taste but.... it's a waiting and right timing game. That's why I can't sit around, twiddling my thumbs in the hope for the sell. I keep writing (and teaching, and studying and running around after my family).

  21. Tania -- sounds like you're a poster child, too! :)