Saturday, October 29, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There Really Is a Santa Claus

I hold no illusions about the rocky road to becoming published. I have yet to send in my first manuscript (heck, I have yet to completely finish an MS to a sendable form), yet to get my first rejection letter, yet to reach that moment of despair and self-doubt after having received the umpteenth rejection letter. Even so, I know what my future has in store for me. A lot of negativity with the tiniest glimmer of hope to keep me going. My momma didn't raise no dummy.

Except, every once in a while Cinderella comes along and sticks her big, fat glass-slippered foot up my butt to remind me that although 99.999% of all writers follow the same path, one or two experience The Miracle. (Cue heavenly music.)

A couple days ago I received an e-mail from a friend, a writer who has been published in the Inspirational market, and who is working feverishly to expand her writing career to the next book and the book after that. I don't think she'll mind if I share this story clipped directly from her e-mail. I've cut out the non-pertinent stuff and changed names to protect the innocent!

"One of the members of [my writers' group] e-mailed us a little over a year ago and said that one of the younger ladies from church (late 20's, early 30s) had approached her in the hall one Sunday. This nice gal said she'd heard Suzie had been published, and wanted to know how she might get the book *she* was working on, published. (Not an uncommon question.) But so many times, these "writers" seem to think it's a breeze. A query letter to a publisher and you're on your way.

NOT. I have enough rejection letters to line my walls, and so do many other authors in my group. Publishing is just NOT easy, and it's certainly not for the faint of heart. We always try to pass along the words of wisdom that if your self-esteem is low, don't even bother trying. Hundreds of rejection notices hurt. Plus, nowadays, the national market won't even accept your mailed query letter if it doesn't come from a reputable agent. So if you don't have an agent (which often takes longer to find than a publisher), don't even bother. So the road to finding an agent is hard an ugly, and with no guarantees.

Anyway, on with the story. This young gal, nearly bubbling over with enthusiasm, asked for info. Suzie told her the hardships and ins and outs, and told her that her very first step would be to find an agent. (And warned her it would be no easy task.) She directed her to the Writers' Market books for agency listings and sent her on her way.

A couple of months later, this cute young thing bubbles up to Suzie at church and practically FLOORED Suzie when she told her she had FOUND a literary agent who had fallen in love with her mss...and a few weeks later, Little, Brown and Co. had called her agent "with a preemptive deal so huge that I honestly thought [her agent] was pulling my leg." Little, Brown signed her to a THREE BOOK DEAL, and now she even has a MOVIE DEAL!!!"

So, first time out of the gate, not a single rejection letter to her name, this author sends out her virgin manuscript and gets it published, an agent, and a movie option.

Uh...okay. Yeah.

No, really, this is wonderful. You can't help but cheer when you hear this story (after you stop gnashing your teeth and pounding your chest with pure, green envy) because it's the Writer's Fairytale come true. It proves that although it might not happen often, it does happen. And if it can happen to this non-assuming young thing, then why couldn't it happen to, oh, say me?

The writer who pulled off this amazing feat is Stephenie Meyer (who, if she ever reads this, should alter her website so that her name is featured prominently and clearly on her home page) and her book is called Twilight. Her web site features her version of her publishing story, and it's just as inspirational as my friend's account. You just want to cry and grin at the same time.

And to add insult to injury, this book looks really, really good.

Man, I'll bet she's really pretty and a wears a size 3, has great hair, never had a cavity, and wakes up at 6:00 a.m. with a smile on her face and little bluebirds singing on her windowsill.

1 comment:

Stephenie said...

Hey Lynn!

My husband was just googling my name (something he does fairly frequently) and found your blog. That's so funny how you heard about my Cinderella story! (I think I know who Suzie is!)

The good news: I don't wear a size three and I'm quite the hideous monster if I have to get up a six. I'd eat bluebirds ALIVE. And I did get a few rejection letters from agents, but it's true I didn't have to suffer very long. I've been incredibly blessed, and i just hope I do the write thing with all of this success.

(Sorry about the website thing--My name is actually pretty prominent, but the way my web designer/brother set it up, the top titles get blocked by some firewalls. It does it on my computer, too).

Thanks for finding more inspiration than discouragement in my story! And, until you give it a try, you don't know if you might get than next glass slipper.

Stephenie