Every year, I turnover the Inksplaaat part of my website and start fresh for the new year. This time I realized it's been a decade since I started tabulating my rejections and wow, what a difference ten years make. I decided to encapsulate what happened in this list:
1. Received 164 rejections! That proves you need to persevere in this biz if you want to see a book published!
2. Sold nine print book manuscripts. I dabbled in e-books at first when Jean Chalopin, creator of Inspector Gadget, emailed me and asked if I would take a chance with his company. E-books didn't work out back then, but I learned a lot about writing. It took six years to see that first print book contract. Lots of years of perseverence!
3. At the end of the decade, I finally found an agent. Yes, I was published and agents still said no. I was very close with many, but things somehow didn't work out. And I'm glad. I needed someone passionate about all my work. Since I'm a picture book author, an agent has to represent it all and there aren't many out there willing to do that. They all want YA these days. I am writing YA now, but my earlier work has been middle grade and under. Agents don't see many $$$ when it comes to younger books. I'm glad my agent is taking a chance on me.
4. I am a full-time writer. When I started this journey, I had one goal that needed to be accomplished or I'd eventually have to quit. And let me say, at first, it looked BLEAK for me to make any money at this as a bonafide J-O-B. As of now, it's looking like I'll be able to stay home and write. I have four kids and the first one is about to go to college. College is a $$$ black hole. If writing didn't come through, I'd have to go back to teaching. At this point, things are working out, although we'll see if it holds up. I may still have to go back when the three oldest are in college at once. Eek!
5. God sent me on this journey. In 2000, I remember being so depressed about writing, I was definitely GOING to give it up. I'd received so many rejections, I couldn't take it anymore. Seriously. Rejection is hard! I'd even obsessed over it to make myself feel better, saving every rejection letter, perusing every rejection website, and creating my own rejection website because I had to journal my story to keep me sane. One day as I stooped over the 15th rejection from Highlights for Children, I cried and cried, wailing, "That's it! I'm done." But then an overwhelming glow washed over me and I felt in my spirit a voice saying, "It's going to turn out better than you expected."
I knew it was God speaking.
It wasn't an audible voice, but it was real. He was telling me to persevere. If things actually happen the way it looks like it could with my books, I will shout it to the rooftops that His word came true. Already, my books have surpassed my dreams. I praise you, Lord! Thanks for helping me stay the course!
So now, we venture into the new decade. I have many hopes and dreams and I know with God all things are possible.
May your next decade be full of fabulous, dear friends!