I’m happy to share Misty Evans’ story. It’s the last story of the Magical Musings’ authors and their journeys into publishing, and it’s terrific one!
All Great Authors Are Built On Rejection
By Misty Evans
“Puberty is a phase…fifteen years of rejection is a lifestyle.” – Stanford, Sex and the City
How about five years and sixty-plus rejection letters from agents? Two years of agent representation and a dozen rejections from top editors? And after becoming a multi-published author with awards and stories hitting a few bestseller lists, being recruited by a top NY agent…who again wasn’t able to sell me to the Big 6?
Rejection as a lifestyle…hmmm….
My journey to become a published author has had its share of highs and lows. I even gave up writing for a whole year after one particularly brutal rejection from an agent. What I’ve ciphered from being rejected can be summed up by another quote, this one by Sylvester Stallone:
“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”
I agree with Sly (although, I itch to fix the grammar in his sentence)! Rejection means wake up, it’s time to change my approach, fix the problems and make a story more marketable. It took five years and a lot of rejections for me to learn this caveat and finally hear a “yes!”
Of course, “when one door closes another one falls on top of you” according to Angus Daeyton (comedian). Which is exactly what happened to me at one point when Operation Sheba was making the rounds in NY and caught the attention of an executive editor at a major publishing house. A handful of editors had already rejected Sheba…”great voice, good story, lacks market appeal, can’t place it.” I heard those rejections time and time again. The best ones were, “…write something with more of a commercial slant. I want the next Janet Evanovich or Sophia Kinsella!”
And I would have loved to be the next Jersey Janet or Shopaholic, trust me. If I could have pulled that kind of commercial story from my brain, I certainly would have.
But I digress. Operation Sheba perked Ms. Executive Editor at XYZ publishing house and went to committee. This was IT. My first book was going to sell! A two-book deal had been mentioned and my mind spun with possibilities! I couldn’t sleep or eat and kept my cell phone on 24/7 waiting for the call from my agent.
And that’s when the other door fell on me. Ms. Executive Editor came back and wanted changes. Not simple, easy changes—she wanted a complete overhaul of Operation Sheba. There was too much action and not enough romance. Too many flashbacks. Too many characters. Blah, blah, blah, the checklist was long. She proposed changing my characters, my plot…my very voice.
What should have been a high point in my career morphed into the lowest of lows. I felt like an idiot, damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. My hubby, caring and wonderful man that he is, sent me this quote from Bill Cosby: “I don’t know the secret to success, but the key to failure is to try and please everyone.”
I walked away from Ms. Executive Editor both disappointed and relieved. In time, I went on to sell multiple books to Samhain, Carina, and I’m currently in negotiations with a new publisher. Along with that modicum of success, I’ve indie pubbed eleven books, have four active series, teach online workshops and I recently started a new coaching service. I get fan mail! Now that, my friends, is real success.
Rejection has been a blessing in disguise. At this point in my life, my current publishing path fits perfectly, and I owe much of that to the fact I used rejection as a tool to improve my storytelling abilities and never gave up. Retreat? Hell, no. Bring it on.
And so, I leave you with one last quote (that I’ve tweaked) by famous French writer and physician Louis Ferdinand Celine. “All great authors are built on rejections.”