R’s. And Why Things Happen The Way They Do

My agent calls them “passes”. “So-and-so passed on your book today.” I’ve always found that terminology to be rather amusing. A pass just sounds like a gentler way of saying, “you were rejected”.

Let’s face it. Whether it’s a pass or a rejection, the end result’s the same. And it generally sucks. I’ve never been one to talk about my writing woes – esp. not here on the blog – but today I’m going to.

Last year my book *nearly* sold to NAL. The editor loved it – the characters, the romance, the premise – and sent it up to committee. We waited over two weeks for word, and in that time I chewed my nails to the quick, said every prayer I knew and promised God I’d do just about anything if my book would sell. You all know what happened – NAL passed. I was devastated. To get so dang close only to hear, “We love this but it doesn’t fit with the other RS books we’re publishing right now. Our line is full of dark and gritty RSs and yours is…well…not.” Ugh. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever heard. I went through a week of feeling bad for myself, then bucked up and dragged myself back to work. But it wasn’t easy. And I asked myself over and over why I was bothering. During one of our many conversations, I remember clearly my agent saying (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I know you’re disappointed, but the truth is, we don’t want a house that only feels so-so about your book. We want one that LOVES it.” My response? Whatever. I’d take whatever I could get. I didn’t care if they didn’t love it. Now though????? Now I understand what she was getting at.

In the past few weeks I’ve been a little overwhelmed – and a lot stressed – over promotion stuff. I remember reading one blog post about the topic and the poster kindly said today’s new authors are basically thrown to the sharks. It’s either sink or swim, and most end up sinking. Optimistic, eh? Over and over from pubbed authors I’ve heard that author promotion – while great and fine and dandy – really only takes you so far. That, ultimately, how your books do is dependent on what your publisher is willing to do for your releases, and how much they support you. And in the end, that goes right back to what my agent was saying about having a publisher that’s only lukewarm toward your writing and books as compared to one that LOVES them.

Today I got some very cool news. My first book has moved up on the release schedule. Instead of late spring ’09, they’re moving it up to January ’09. The earlier release was prompted because they feel so strongly about these books and they think they’ll do well. My editor (I LOVE HER! Let me just say that now), sent me the tentative titles for all three books and I couldn’t be happier with what they chose. I’m not ready to share them yet, but when I am, I think you’ll be as thrilled with them as I am. And not only that, but she described what they want to do with the covers, and I get all giddy when I think about it. They’re going to be AMAZING. But the really awesome part – and the part that makes me smile whenever I think about it – is how totally excited my editor is about these releases. She believes in the books. She LOVES the premises. And she’s willing to go the extra mile for them.

There was a reason I got a pass (or rejection – however you want to phrase it) from NAL last year. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I do. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. You got a pass from an editor? You’ll find out why later. An agent hasn’t responded yet? There’s a reason you can’t yet see. You feel like your writing journey is taking longer than it should? Don’t give up hope. Something wonderful is about to happen for you. I see this so often not only in my writing life but in life in general – in my husband’s job, in friendships and relationships. It’s easy to get down when things aren’t going the way you want them to go. Have faith that good things are yet to come, and they will.

Have you ever been disappointed by an event only to realize later things happened the way they did for the best? Share with me. I’d love to hear your stories.