I’ve been told by several authors that you aren’t a REAL writer until you have rejections under your writing belt. I don’t know if the same rule applies for agent rejections, but I’ve definitely had those too. About nine specific rejection letters and over ten “no responses” – and those all happened over a two year period of time.
Let’s not even start calculating my manuscript rejections 🙂
At ACFW 2011, I had a chance to have dinner with an editor. I didn’t really pitch. She didn’t really ask. We just talked. It was a nice conversation, followed by a few other conversations throughout the remainder of the conference. Just before leaving the conference she said, “Hey, when you get an agent, I want to read your work. Okay?”
So I queried 5 agents after the conference. FIVE. And I’d actually met 4 of the 5 in person at the conference. AND I was a Genesis double-finalist. That had to count for something, right?
Nothin’. Nada. Zilch.
For nine months this ‘baby’ didn’t go anywhere.
I assumed it was because my stories didn’t really ‘fit’ with what was selling in CBA. Rom Com wasn’t the top genre. My historcals walked on the edge with some of their content.
Self-doubt reared its ugly head on many occasions. I carried insecurities around like a pack of gum. Was I just dreaming too big? Missing the mark? Living on stardust and daydreams?
After all, I’d been seriously writing for over seven years at the time of ACFW 2011 with no ‘happily-ever-after’ in sight 🙂
BUT, like the obedient flunky I was, I kept doing what Ruth Logan Herne and Mary Connealy told me to do. I kept writing.
In July I finished another novel and posted my excitement on Facebook. Low and behold, the editor saw my comment and replied, “Hey, when are you going to send me something to read?”
To which I replied. “You told me not to send anything until I had an agent. I still don’t’ have one, so I haven’t sent anything.”
Then the most amazing thing happened! She asked me to compose a cover letter and she would send it out to agents for me. Agents she thought would be a good match for me.
I was overwhelmed. Floored. Humbled.
And did exactly what she said.
When two agents emailed me, I sent my proposals. They both responded quickly and favorably.
Then at ACFW, I had the opportunity to meet Nicole – one of the agents recommended to me. She seemed as excited about my stories as I was. She was funny, sweet, and savvy – plus she had a great sense of style. There was an immediate match. (Look at that GREAT smile!)
And she told me she would like to represent me.
I told her that I thought we had a great connection, but I wanted to think and pray about it first.
So I did. And consulted close writing friends. And prayed some more.
And I knew it was right.
When I heard her beautiful acceptance speech as Agent of the Year, it just confirmed what a special lady she was.
End of story?
It was the last day of conference before I had the chance to talk to the editor who set this up. She was the same editor in which I’d had the lovely conversations in the beginning of this post. Remember? We’d missed each other throughout the conference, but in God’s good time, we were both in the lobby waiting to leave for the airport at the same time. I went up to her and told her about what happened with Nicole and she smiled. “I’m so proud of you.”
To which I replied. “I can’t thank you enough. You didn’t have to do that. It’s not your job to find me an agent.”
She answered, “I believe in you.”
And I said, “ You’ve never even read my writing before. How can you believe in me?”
(I will NEVER forget her answer. EVER. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it) She said, “Pepper, I didn’t say I believed in your writing. I said, I believe in you.”
It was as if the voice of God sliced through all the chaos of the moment, all the emotional baggage of my past rejections, all the doubts in my heart, all the questions and insecurities, and used this editor to speak directly to my spirit.
“I believe in you.”
End of story?
Through a lovely turn of events, the same lady who told me ‘I believe in you’…the same editor who sat and encouraged me at dinner, the same woman who set up my meeting with my former agent, Nicole, became my NEW agent almost ONE year AGO – and lots has happened in a year.
Thankfully, JULIE GWINN still believes in me even now….and has for a long time.
She’s one of the best encouragers, brainstormers, and believers I know out there! I’m so glad she’s on my team!
It’s a great human example of a divine concept.
He may give us great and amazing talents. He may bring us fame and recognition. He may shower us with opportunities to spread His word through our writing.
But at the heart of it all, He’s doing a whole lot more than those things.
He’s letting His kids know that He believes in them.
Enough to take on the Devil, Death, and Hell.
Our writing is just an extension of what’s happening inside of us. Who we are in Him.
And with His faith in us spurring us forward, we are equipped to do great and marvelous things…whether those “great and marvelous” things are meant to minister to a small number of 1 or a great number of MORE.
He believes in you.
He believes in me.
We are His.