Misty Evans: Her Story

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.

But, wait, this was IT, right? This was my big break. I had to go through it, didn’t I?

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.”

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16 Responses to Misty Evans: Her Story

  1. Amy R says:

    Wow, Misty. I didn’t realize how much you went through on your journey. You are one determined lady and I am thankful you did not give up.Having read all your books out so far I think you are extremely talented. You are such a kind person and so humble, too. I wish you continued success in the future. Glad you stayed true to your Operation Sheba story. So far, that one is still my favorite. After reading this post i have the song “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” going through my head. Thanks for sharing your story. It has been great learning about all the MM ladies.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Amy, I love that song! And that philospophy has kept me going. During that tough rejection period, I listened to Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life a ton. My poor kids knew that song by heart because that’s all they heard. I figured, “hey, this IS my life. If I put out a book I can’t be happy about, how will I ever succeed?” Real success is internal.

      Thank you so much for being a great fan and reader! I appreciate your support and I’m so glad we’ve *met*. 🙂

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Misty, thanks for sharing your story. You were so right to walk about from Ms. Executive Editor. Everyone I hear that makes those changes ends up writing something that gets them a form letter rejection. The book has lost its heart. I’m so glad you didn’t and kept on going.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Edie, thank you for running my story and for your kind words. I think we all know when something is right for us…or not right. I’m all for making a story more marketable because this is a business, but there are times when, like you said, making it more marketable actually backfires and the story loses its heart.

      I’m so glad to be part of Magical Musings and it’s been wonderful learning about everyone’s path to success. I’m blessed to be part of this encouraging group of writers!

  3. Misty,
    Having had the pleasure of reading some of your novels, including the wonderful OPERATION SHEBA, I’m so glad you held to your vision and didn’t make whatever unnecessary changes that NY editor wanted to that story. And I had to laugh at your rejection quotes, especially the Sex and the City one ;). The sentiments they express sound very, very familiar to me, too. I think writers, artists, actors and musicians have to develop an ability to learn what we can from rejection and then set it aside so we can keep functioning in our crazy industries. Glad you persisted through it all so we’d have your fabulous stories!!

    • Misty Evans says:

      Thank you, Marilyn! I’ve rewritten many stories for agents and editors, and didn’t mind doing so for the most part when I believed the changes would make the story better. What that NY editor wanted would have weakened the story in my opinion, and although it KILLED me to say no, Conrad and Julia are happy I did! LOL.

  4. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Misty!

    Love the quotes, hate all you’ve been through. Rejection is a bitch teacher but we do learn about what’s important through her. Ms. Executive Editor is the loser here, not you!

    Major congrats on the new upcoming deal! You so deserve success on a big scale.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Dale, your congrats are much appreciated. Contract negotiations are slow, but I hope to make an announcement soon!

      Rejection is a bitch, but I’ve learned a lot from it. I know now what’s important to me and what I’m willing to change in order to sell.

  5. Amy Atwell says:

    Misty, what an inspiring story of perseverance! I commend you for remaining true to your stories and your readers. You’re so right–you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself. (Hmm, as I recall, that’s a song lyric by someone…) Wishing you all the best as your journey continues.
    Amy Atwell`s last blog was …Story Icons: The Protector

    • Misty Evans says:

      Amy, I’m a bull dog when it comes to going after what I want. Perseverence is my middle name! I try not to shoot myself in the foot because of it, and I have made changes to many stories over the years to please editors, but that first book was special and all my super agent stories have a 50/50 balance of romance and action…just the way I like ’em!

  6. This happened to me too. I had a book with multiple people interested. It came down to two. Then one, a publisher that wasn’t known for their great deals. That last one wanted to me to change a character who was evil and make her good. Since this was before self publishing and I had nothing else to do with the book, I did it, but didn’t really want to. After all that work, she still rejected it! But I’m sooooo glad she did because its the book that I recently sold to Amazon Montlake, some 3 years later. In fact, for me, every rejection (and there were many!) ended up being a blessing because I was able to self publish them, or as with To Seduce an Earl, sell it to Montlake.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Congrats, Lori! You’re right…every rejection I’ve received turned out to be a blessing in the long run. I’ve come to embrace rejection, because I know something better is on its way. 🙂

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    You appeared to have developed a very thick skin when it came to rejections, Misty … and nicely done. I love it that you had the courage to walk away from what would have been a hercularin task.

    Love the quote from Bill Cosby. That man is brilliant, in my opinion.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Liz, you made my day. I’m actually a big softy under the professional layer and I admit the rejections hurt when I get them. Then I remember that this is a business and in business, you’re going to hear “no” once in awhile. It’s rarely personal, so I have to put the hurt feelings aside and get back to business.

      And I can always secretly put those people who reject me in my next novel…mmwaahaahaa. 😈

  8. I’m so glad you’ve hung in there, Misty! I’m a HUGE fan of your Witches Anonymous series. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Relaunch of To Seduce an Earl and Giveaway! | Magical Musings

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