Well... obviously, I got a rejection letter. It didn't say those things in those exact words, but it should have.
Because my writing was crappy.
And... well, I hope my story didn't stink, but it needed a TON of work.
I was nowhere near ready to quit my day job.
I remember the moment I received that rejection though. I seriously smiled. I had done it. Put myself out there, taken a leap of faith, as stupid as it was. Yes, I contributed to poor Steve's slush pile. Yes, I probably got an eye roll from the poor sap who had to read my junk. But I'd taken another bold step toward publication.
The first step being, of course, actually writing my book.
After I received his rejection, I rolled up my sleeves, joined ACFW as Steve's letter suggested, and started to work on my craft. I edited that book until I despised every single letter in it.
My next ladder rung?
ACFW conference. And what did super bold Krista do?
She booked an agent appointment with... you guessed it... Steve Laube.
Yeah, I rocked.
I remember walking into that room... my first inperson appointment EVER with an agent or editor.
And I wanted to puke. What had I been thinking? I am NOT bold. I am STUPID. Idiotic. I seriously must have inhaled some type of toxic chemical fume the day I signed up for this appointment because... yeah. This was just plain dumb.
But in I went anyway. I sat down at that table, shook Steve's hand as boldly as I could, and gave him my one sheet.
Yup, just like that. I was so nervous, I could barely eek out a word. Not really sure what I actually said... I think I went for the honesty-card and said something like, "I, uh, have never done this before. Here is my onesheet. You rejected it but I revised it." Then shoved said onesheet into his hands.
He looked at it, then asked for my first chapter. I rejoiced that I'd printed it and handed that over.
Then the most blessed thing happened.
Steve Laube... THE Steve Laube... laughed. Not like as in "This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen" kind of laugh. But in a "Hey, that's actually funny" kinda laugh.
My heart soared higher than the cliff I had been wanting to jump off moments before.
He read a few pages, then gave me some good pointers. I nodded and soaked in the information.
Then time was up, and I left.
Yeah, he didn't ask for anything. But I'd been bold. I'd gotten feedback. And my writing had made an agent laugh.
|The "Bold" Alleycats... |
doing Low Rider at 2012 ACFW...
I still vote that Ang wins as best lowrider!
And unbeknownst to me at the time, my rejection and boldy putting myself out there at a conference were not only steps on my ladder TO publication... but it was also preparing me for when I BECAME published.
Once your book is "out," you'll need to boldly (but smartly) market your book. You'll need to continue learning and getting better, you'll need to put yourself out there and not be so afraid of people that you can't put two sentences together in their presence. And rejection... you'll be having to deal with READER rejection, not just agent/editor rejection. And once a reader rejects you... your book is beyond the editing point!
Even though I'm now agented by the wonderful Rachelle Gardner and approaching the one-year anniversary of my debut novel releasing, I still struggle with being bold with my books and dealing with rejection, although not nearly as much as I would have if my prepublication journey hadn't given me much needed boldness training.
So those pains you feel when pre-published? The sting of yet another rejection? Those nervous rocks in your stomach that threaten to kill you when you approach that agent or editor at a conference? Start looking at them through different lenses. Not only are they necessary to GET published... they are good training for when you ARE published.
Discussion: What things on the ladder to publication are the hardest? Can you think of ways that your hardship can really be seen as training for later?