Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You're Kind of a Big Deal

It's a funny thing, selling a book. From the inside, it looks like this:

I did ... what? WHAT? Are you sure? I might vomit. In a good way. No, seriously.

But from the outside, it sort of looks like this:


Yes. That's right. I've joined the Inner Sanctum. I have my crap TO-GE-THER. I'm kind of a big deal.

It's been a strange thing, having people say things like Don't forget the little people or Now that you're a rock star. Those statements make me sad. There aren't any little people. And if there are rock stars in the publishing industry, it isn't the girl who got nothing but solid rejections for two years after signing with her agent and then finally wrote a book that sold.

I don't say that to put myself down. I say that because it's true. I wrote a book that garnered me my amazing agent. And it didn't sell. It went on submission a second time. And didn't sell. So, I sat down to write another. And guess what? That didn't sell either. I revised it and went out again. Still nothing. I can't tell you how many times I wondered when my agent would call and tell me we'd taken a good run at it, but it just wasn't working, and it was time to part ways. (She NEVER gave me that impression. I created those personal demons all by myself.) I can't tell you how many times I saw others sell just weeks after signing with an agent and offered them public congratulations even while inside something sharp sliced into me and whispered things like You'll never sell and What does everyone else have that you don't? and Why don't you just give up?

It wasn't that I couldn't be happy for others. I was. How could I not celebrate when I knew how hard the journey could be? It was that I felt like I was missing something crucial. Overlooking some important ingredient that would transform me from the girl who couldn't sell a book to one who finally had a contract.

Guess what? There IS a secret ingredient. It's called sweat. Perseverance. Sheer undiluted stubbornness. I might lack a lot of other qualities, but I've got stubborn down to a science.

You know what other secret ingredient is required? Guts. Nothing I was doing was working. It was always just shy of what publishers wanted. Two years after I'd signed with Holly,  I still hadn't sold, and I figured I had a choice. I could quit. I could keep writing stuff no one seemed to want. Or, I could dare to try the project that had been lurking in the back of my brain, taunting me with it's awesomeness and with how HARD it was going to be. How much it would stretch me craft-wise. How much it would ask of me emotionally.

I'm no quitter.

And I wasn't interested in writing yet another adult genre book that might not sell.

So, I looked the scary, possibly-too-big-for-me project in the eye and said Bring it.

Two weeks after I turned it in to my agent, it sold in a three book deal at auction to Balzer & Bray. Someone who didn't know I'd just spent two years as the girl who couldn't sell a book to save her life read that announcement and said you're a rock star. Someone else who'd been with me for a little part of the journey, but had never traveled the depths of despair I sometimes felt in my heart, said don't forget the little people. Others who'd never given me the time of day suddenly sat up and paid attention.

But here's the thing. I'm still the same person I was the day before I sold my book. I still snort inappropriate things through my nose on accident. Usually in public. I still have to sit down some days and chisel my word count from my brain with a pick axe because my brain has decided to move to Jamaica and call it quits. I'm a mom. A wife. A friend. A writer who knows with exquisite clarity what it feels like to be on the outside looking in and what it takes to keep going, against any obstacle, until one day you finally see your dream come true.

I'm thrilled to have sold my book. My life has changed because of it. But I haven't. There are no little people. There are only different places along the path. If I ever do "forget the little people" I will have lost a piece of my integrity that is worth more to me than any publishing contract ever could be. I'm not a rock star. I'm stubborn, and it paid off. Finally.

Please don't look at the good news in my life (or in other's) and devalue your own talent, your chances, or your experiences. There are no inner sanctums out of your reach. There isn't a finite number of contracts. You aren't one step closer to missing your chance. If you want to take anything away from my own experience, take this: I'm just a girl who kept writing.

104 comments:

  1. Sometimes it's really easy to give up even when you know you're good. So maybe you're not a rockstar, but you sure are an inspiration to the rest of us. Thanks for the words, C.J.

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  2. Way to do. Seriously, that is a great story.

    You deserve it. So go and KICK THAT ASS!

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  3. This post couldn't have come at a better time for me. Been feeling down (you know the deal--I suck, this is a waste of time, I should give up....that sort of thing) and your inspiring words lifted me way up. It wouldn't be the first time you pushed me to work harder. (I'm a proud CJ alum.) Can't thank you enough for that.

    I'm glad you didn't give up and I can't wait to read your masterpiece. :)

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  4. Great post! Lessons: Write what your heart tells you to write, Keep writing, and Never give up. Congratulations on your sale. You deserve it. Enjoy.

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  5. "People who comment are made of awesomesauce with a side of WIN!"

    YES!

    What a great and honest post! I must say that you inspire. The way to be after the fact. Ms. Root was one of the kindest people to me when I first came to Twitter--she doesn't realize it though.

    Point is you two are the perfect match. I'm sure that is one of the reasons you succeeded. Your character. Congratulations and I wish you all the blessings in the world.

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  6. Nothing cheers me up more than reading about other authors who've made it! Congratulations, all credit to you! Julia x

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  7. What an inspirational post. Thanks so much for sharing your story. And congratulations on your sale!

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  8. That's it, pretty much. The determination and love for the craft along with the steely resolve of a rejections-veteran. I commend you dear lady for your sale.

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  9. Brilliant post!

    You are a rockstar. *grins* And I get to say that because I've been there since that first book that didn't sell. :D Stubborness is a trait I know well and have always admired in you.

    <3 K

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  10. I adore this post, thank you.

    But then I've been with my agent for two years and had two books go without selling, and almost quit. And now I'm writing the book that's just for me.

    :)

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  11. So true, CJ. I got a lot of crap from random jealous strangers after my first book sold at auction a week after I got my agent, because no one else sees the fact that there were four books before that that not only didn't sell, they didn't get an agent, either. It wasn't luck -- it was that I wrote and wrote and wrote and submitted and submitted and submitted. I got 20 rejections in the four months before I got an agent.

    Just keep writing your books, and believing in yourself so that when the right book comes along, and the right time, YOU are in the right place. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said "the harder I work, the luckier I get."

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  12. Great post.

    I contacted my agent, Janet Reid, a few weeks before she sold my debut novel, Numb, to Harper Perennial to let her know that, "I understand if you've lost confidence in this book and want to shelve it. I don't blame you for the book not selling." She told me to not worry, keep writing, and let her do her job. She sold it two months later.

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  13. Absolutely wonderful post :) Definitely one I'll pass on. :)

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  14. Re: hard work vs. being "lucky"--I seem to recall an interview with J.K. Rowling where she was asked whether she feels lucky. I believe her response was a qualified "yes"... qualified because she also worked very hard for five years writing the first Harry Potter novel. There are very few people that achieve success by sitting on their behinds doing nothing.

    Congratulations, CJ! I echo those that appreciate reading success stories. Writers know how tough the business is, so it's encouraging to hear from those who manage to get good agents and sell their novels.

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  15. This is awesome. Congratulations!!

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  16. I've been following you since SPEAKing out and joined you in posting my own experiences. Since then, I've been the world's worst commenter, but I do read and loved to follow along with you on your path. I'm so happy for you. I'm querying book three right now, and ten years from now I might be querying book seventeen, but I'll keep going. Writing is necessary. It's as simple as that.

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  17. Thank you, thank you, for writing this. I'm working on a major overhaul of my novel, and even though it's been going pretty well, I've been feeling discouraged. This made me realize that at least I'm not alone in discouragement. :)

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  18. I GOT CHILLS READING THIS. YOU GO GIRL! :D Plus, you have Query Shark Agent Janet Reid of Awesome on your side, so I'd consider that a win, as well! :) Congrats on the deal, and even more so for not losing yourself in neither success nor failure and gaining the courage to find who you really are through the whole process.

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  19. The fact that you wrote this fantastic post makes you a rockstar. What a great post. Keep killin it!

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  20. Those who sell immediately? Lucky. You? Rock. Star.

    Anyone can handle easy success. We look at those authors and we want to be like them, because we don't like the hard work that the alternative demands. (Not that they don't work hard--oh, you know what I mean.)

    You--you're the definition of inspiration.

    I'm a new follower, and I'm hoping to never need your advice (I'm starting querying for the first time this month)--but I still want to be like you.

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  21. CJ, this is such a great post! I am so happy for you and I love that you stuck with it. It is SO easy to get discouraged, but it's wonderful you have this story to share with us. :)

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  22. "Please don't look at the good news in my life (or in other's) and devalue your own talent, your chances, or your experiences."

    Those are wise words, and I hope to take them to heart.

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  23. AMEN. Testify up in here. *loves every word*

    Huggles,
    Lola

    PS: Sadly, some people do change with a little success. You can tell a lot about who a person really is by their behavior after a little 'failure' and/or 'success'. (in ANY field) Sometimes it aint pretty. Sad, that.
    Here's to stubborn good people everywhere. *cheers*

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  24. Wow. Thank you for this. I can relate on so many levels.

    It sounds like you worked really hard and I'm thrilled for you.

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  25. Congratulations, and thank you. As a newcomer to this challenge (I'm querying my first manuscript) your sincere words have hushed that doubting voice that all too often occupies my thoughts and you've reassured me that with hard work and perseverance it can be done. No quitters allowed :)!! Marie

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  26. You've ALWAYS been a rock star. We're just happy you found a stage!

    Signed, a groupie

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  27. I just read your post and well, i'm a bawling mess. this is such a hard process. So much harder than you could ever believe when you first start out and are just learning the know how/understanding of how this business works. I'm not even agented yet and going through all the feelings and emotions that you did as an agented author trying to sell her book. I can't seem to even sell the IDEA of my book or my writing to an agent and it's heartbreaking and gut wrenching and a lot of other adverbs and adjectives that I will leave out. What's even harder is that I have plenty of writer friends, whose opinions I trust on all things writerly, who tell me that my writing is strong and my story original and yet the Agent Rs pour in w/nothing that tells me any of them agree w/what I've been told.

    It's hard. so, so hard. So, what am I doing? Writing that next novel and preparing myself to possibly go through more rejection and more self-doubt. What keeps me going? Why haven't I quit? For me, it's not a matter of stubborness, but a matter of passion. A feeling that bleeds through my soul and tells me that to give up the dream, would be to demolish my soul.

    Thanks for this post!

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  28. This post means the world to me. I've seen so much of what you're talking about and I'm so glad to see this post. Well done, and thank you!

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  29. Couldn't have happened to a nicer spork. Er, werellama. Er, captain. Anyway, you earned it, whoever you are ;->.

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  30. Thanks for sharing that. It helps those of us who spend way too much time inside our own heads, predicting doom, gloom and despair. Congratulations on the deal.

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  31. Great post, C.J., and congratulations. The pics capture the sentiments perfectly. ;)

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  32. Fabulous post! You nailed the whole feeling of "I'm still me so why are people calling me a rock star when I'm not?"

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  33. Thank you so much for this post -- honest and inspiring and encouraging. :)

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  34. I really needed this today. Thank you.

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  35. CJ, Fabulous post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It's easy to think, "Well, things aren't working out the way I thought/hoped they would, so I may as well jump ship." Thanks for reminding us the waters get bumpy for all of us. Riding the waves is the journey; it's where the magic happens; it's what the writer's life is all about.

    Best of luck for your continued success.

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  36. Congratulations! I have bookmarked this post for future reference and appreciate your sharing it! Wishing you continued success!!

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  37. Congratulations! I saw a quote once that read: "Professional writers are amateur writers who never gave up." Sounds like you're one of them. Good for you! :)

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  38. I have a similar story to yours, except I had to lose an agent along the way. This post could've been written on the walls of my heart.

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  39. Brilliantly written (and something I desperately needed to read).

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  40. What a beautiful, spot-on post. Thank you for sharing this with the writing community.

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  41. Seriously. Brilliant. And 100% genuine (that's a rare combo). Thanks just doesn't cut it, but I'll say it anyway.

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  42. Wow thanks so much for the inspirational post. Just what I need to hear. Wishing you all the success in the world.

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  43. Beautifully put. Congratulations on selling your book!

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  44. This is such a great post. I identify with it so much!

    When my book sold, a huge part of me was thrilled and excited and just over the moon about it. But part of me also just felt strange. I was nervous and scared to write the next one.

    Congratulations on DEFIANCE--it's definitely one I'm excited to read. :)

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  45. Pure inspiration. Thank you so much and big congratulations. You deserve your success.

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  46. Awesome post. I was just feeling all of these things this morning. I'm newly agented--and am enjoying the excitement of submissions, but am in no way thinking the hard stuff is over. I've just been given a little more of an opportunity to prove myself--which means, lots more hard work in front of me.

    Patience, persistence, and great big cajones...that's what it takes. And you've got them all, girl!!
    YEA, YOU!

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  47. This is a fabulous post and so encouraging. Congratulations on your book deal. :)

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  48. Great post and many thanks to Janet Reid for directing me here. Yours is an inspiring story. Congratulations on your book deal!

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  49. Congratulations and thanks for the timely reminder that there is hope. I have been going to a series of rejections as well and have decided to tackle that big project. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  50. Wonderful post. Really. Thank you for writing this. ~Ali

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  51. A. Congratulations!!!!!! B. I have tears in my eyes. In a good way!

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  52. Lisa Gail Green send me here to your blog. You had exactly the right words I needed to hear at this exact moment. Here's a big-hearted thank you from a new follower. Congratulations on your deal.

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  53. Pointed here via Janet Reid's blog. Thank you for writing out loud some of the things I've thought/felt. Not that I begrudge others their success - IMO, there's plenty out there for everyone. But, it's hard sometimes choking out congrats to those who haven't been submitting as long as I have. And to smile a little inside, at the thought that someday people will be pointing to ME as an overnight success, as they do to your rock star self.

    Or a really funky looking cat in a crown hat and ruffled collar.

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  54. What an inspiring post. We don't often see the sweat and disappointments that make up the journey...

    I'm so glad you reached your destination. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to reading your books.

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  55. They say intention is everything. Your post has proved it true. You wrote with sincerity that writers must continue writing and not give up easily, no matter what, and most readers of your post will, including me!

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  56. Brilliant post, and much needed. I too landed a wonderful agent with a book that didn't sell and had to sit down and write another one while he (very patiently) waited. I too decided not to let the unexpected bump in the road derail me. And I too got my deal. Do I envy folks who sold their first book right away in a pre-empt? Well I am happy for them but no, in the end I don't envy them. I learned a lot about myself and my craft by slogging along. And I know for certain I can write another book on a schedule (because I did it), so I should be able to avoid the panic that leads to "sophomore slump."

    CONGRATS to you. . .not just for the super deal but for having the gumption to keep at it until you had the deal.

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  57. That was beautifully written......and so true!!!

    Thankyou and Congratulations!!


    maureen
    New Zealand

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  58. when all else fails... persist!

    great post, cj... keep on keeping on!

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  59. Dear CJ,
    Thank you for your post. It was very inspirational and a great boost for me. Usually right when I'm about to call it quits, I seem to have something else give me a little push forward--and this did just that. Thanks again. <3

    ~Rae Carson (fanfic author)

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  60. Thank you for this post. I'm not a published author (yet), and sometimes it's hard to keep going. I am genuinely excited when others get agents or contracts; my problem is that sometimes I start to think I'm just a pretty bad writer who is kidding herself. So, thank you for the reality and the encouragement.

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  61. Thank you for sharing this. And, by the way, congratulations on being able to exhale. I appreciate your words more than you know. Now, I'm gonna go write.

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  62. Inspring post and I couldn't agree more. Giving up is the only certain road to not getting published...and I suspect that perseverance is a common thread among successful authors. Thanks, C.J.! And best of luck.

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  63. What a wonderful post and just what I needed to read. It's made my day.

    congratulations!

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  64. I found this post through Janet Reid's blog, and I'm so glad I did! I'm happy and relieved that someone who has felt the exact way I'm feeling now has made herself a success! I'm super happy for you, but I'm also inspired for myself. This means I can do it, too! I just need to muster up a little more stubbornness. :)

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  65. Arrived here from Janet Reid's blog and thank goodness. I needed to see this. I submitted a humor memoir proposal that garnered me an agent in under a month last fall. I totally thought I was a rockstar and we were both convinced it was going to sell immediately. And it didn't. It was out on sub for nine months and we pretty much hit the wall -- everyone loved the voice and thought it hilarious, but said they couldn't sell Mommy Blogger books anymore. I was devastated. But my awesome agent and I had lots of talks about next steps and I am halfway through book No. 2, this time as fiction. I am hoping beyond hope that when this one goes out, I have better luck!

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  66. Thank you for giving me the courage to keep writing. Few people can do that and even fewer do it successfully. :)

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  67. It's a nice sentiment, but I still feel like 'little people' and I think I always will until I sell a book. It really doesn't matter how good my writing is; no one is going to treat me like a truly good writer until I have a book on the shelves.

    I'm glad your perseverance and hard work finally paid off!

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  68. One of my favourite quotes is from Joanne Harris: 'It took me 15 years to become an overnight success.'
    This was so good to read. Yes, I got some snidery from a few people when I got a deal. They seem to forget, or don't care, that it took me four years and two more books from getting my wonderful agent to getting a deal. The first two books are still out there, still haven't sold. And if I still hadn't sold now? I'd still be writing. Because (a) the stories want to be told, (b) I'm really stubborn, and (c) I've had wonderful support and help from people who do care, who do realise how hard I've worked for this. They're the ones I really won't forget even if I ever do become a (hah) rockstar.

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  69. That's a great story. I think the part that surprised me -- perhaps due to my naivete -- is that you landed an agent, and yet she couldn't sell the book. While I'm sure no agent has a 100% success rate, the fact that she signed you gives a strong indication that SHE believed she could sell it.

    Congratulations.

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  70. Fabulously said! Here via Natalie's tweet, and I'm so glad. Congrats on the book deal, and thanks for saying what's been on my mind ever since my own mother (lol) told me I better not get a big head when I'm rich and famous someday. SNARF.

    (PS: I haven't even snagged an AGENT yet. She's getting a little ahead of me, isn't she? :P)

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  71. This is such a superb blogpost. I love the pictures! I love your honestly and can relate 100% even though I do not yet have an agent and I am still working on my edits. Every time I see someone I "know" get a deal, a bit of me cheers up because it's still happening to other people and one day, I pray to the gods, it will be me. So, well done, on all your hard work. Your epic battle has won you the field, for now. Just keep on doing what you're doing and I'm so looking forward to reading your words.

    Liz in London (an awful rainy day)

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  72. Brilliant post and so very, very true. Congrats, chica! :) You've earned it!

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  73. aww. This is a fantastic post. And I'm too thrilled for you. I'm still in your shoes from Year 1... bleah. But I tend to be stubborn also.

    All the best to you~ :o) <3

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  74. CJ, I can so relate to you and Diana, both. Some people don't see--can't see--all the years we've spent on the other side. And sometimes they're just not very nice about it (although others, of course, are amazing!)

    Anyway...

    Congratulations! I don't even know you, but I KNOW you've earned it. :)

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  75. Thank you so much for this post, C.J. I'm still stuck in Queryland, but I know exactly what you mean. I'm querying my third manuscript, and after going through two rounds of R&Rs with multiple agents, I'm down to my last shots.

    They all say lovely things like, "Wow, this revision is so awesome!" and "The changes are spot-on!" Then they follow it up with the inevitable, "I just didn't fall in love." At this point, it feels like I'll never quite cross that threshold, like no one will ever *heart* my writing. Of course there's always the next manuscript, but after putting so much blood and effort into this one, you just want it to be the One, you know?

    Yes, I'm sure you do.

    But maybe if you can hold on and stubborn your way to victory, I can, too.

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  76. This is perfect . . . I'm right there with you--writing, rewriting, hoping my agent doesn't dump me . . . just linked to this on FB. Congrats!

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  77. CJ....been there, done that...but still unsold. I've been on submission twice, not including the second rounds of submissions. The first time I knew within six months the book wasn't selling. The second time it took about nine months. (The second submission's story is a bit complicated to go into details.)

    I haven't sold. I can't tell you how many times I thought during this past submission how much a failure I was. How much I sucked. That I was NEVER going to get where my friends were. I love my friends. I love seeing their successes and their sales. I love seeing other people selling. I never begrudge anyone their success.

    I just want to be THERE.

    It's super hard to keep believing in yourself when you get editor rejections that tell you that the type of books you write aren't selling; that the market wants something else. It's hard when editors compliment everything but don't offer. It's hard to keep going when it's just you, the computer, and a blank page.

    Your friends can tell you they believe in you. Your family can. Authors you respect and admire can.

    But what I've learned is that you have to believe in yourself. No one is going to get what you want but you. It's hard work. It can be soul-crushing. You can and WILL feel like a complete failure and doubt yourself countless times.

    I mean, I have. But I'm determined. And each time I get knocked down, I get back up....no matter how hard it is. Because like you, I'm not quitting. I'll try and try again.

    And I really am so glad you sold. I cannot wait to read DEFIANT.

    You deserve all the success in the world.

    From another ordinary girl. :)

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  78. First off, HUGE CONGRATS!!!

    Second off, this made me kind of misty. As one standing out here on the fringes who can't even see the light at the end of this tunnel, it made me all verklempt to read about your journey to the light.

    Not that I'm telling you to go into the light. Oh, you know what I mean. I hope. Thanks for sharing such a personal experience with us. I know I needed the encouragement.

    And that is one adorable squirrel. :)

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  79. This is a wonderful post. I especially like the picture. ;)

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  80. I've also benefited from Holly's awesome patience and encouragement and refusal to give up. Some days it's still very frustrating, even though I've got a book out. But everything you've said is true. Only we know how much sweat and hope and pain goes into writing books, some of which sell and some of which don't. All we can do is keep writing!

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  81. Congratulations! I hear you on this one. My book is to be released in a few months, and the thrill feels almost misplaced at times. But perseverance does pay off in the end.

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  82. Great points! Your journey sounds so similar to mine it made my jaw drop. Two years after I'd signed with my agent, that book hadn't sold. I'd written another one in the mean time, which didn't sell either. Every time the phone rang with my agent's name on caller ID, or each time i got an email from her in my inbox, i felt sure it was a "Dear Author" letter parting ways. But it never was. She always had encouraging and supportive words for me and believed in me even when i no longer believed in myself. Then good fortune struck and the book I wrote that got me my agent sold in a 2 book deal. In fact, it's release date is only a couple of weeks away. Woot! KNIGHT'S CURSE will have readers at last and i couldn't be happier.

    Never give up, never surrender. :)

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  83. What an amazing post. It's people like you that make me never want to give up. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on all your hard work and I can't wait to read your book! :)

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  84. Love this. So I posted it on Twitter and Facebook. :)

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  85. Thanks for giving me a high five and a bug hug simultaneously. You are truly awesome. :)

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  86. Beyond inspirational. Thank you for this post. And for giving me another reason to keep trying. Hats off to you, cj. You worked for this.

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  87. Thank you. I needed to see this today.

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  88. Well, I will only say these few things:

    1. Great post. Yes, it is hard to handle it when hard work pays off if it comes after a long time of hard work and no payoff. You mean, like now, finally? But - much sweeter and more appreciated.
    2. We write drama as novelists, which means that we write about people who _are_ changed by circumstances. So we will be changed by success as well as by adversity and failure. But the core of our novels are about the people who don't so much change as discover who they really are. Adversity and success bring that out - that is the essence of emotional satisifaction in a novel.
    3. "There are no little people" is so very true. I can say that nearly 100% of the people I've met in the industry so far, from writers to agents to editors, have been wonderfully supportive and real. (There have been a very, very few exceptions, and I see them like I see most of humanity in that there are always those very few who are missing some elements of social grace.) If you are in the publishing business, you are risking an awful lot - you are putting your *self* out there. We're not creating and selling soap. We're selling emotional connection to being human, and we invest ourselves in the product or the process. That's what makes rejection so _personal_.

    And my congratulations to you. It is great to get over that hump. There are so many along the way - deciding to write, deciding to complete, deciding to submit, finding that just-perfect agent and/or editor, and so on. But this step - getting published - it is sweet indeed.

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  89. Well done for persevering - that's the main ingredient. If you're a writer, you have to write! I'm curious, did you, like me, question your talent? That's what I do constantly. Surely, I think, if all these people have rejected it, it's because I'm no good. How does one know for sure???

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  90. You rock the cazbah. Nuff said. ;-)

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  91. My first novel is about to go out on submission -- again. Takes a long time to be an overnight success, doesn't it. I am always happy when a writer has good fortune -- whether after 10 minutes or 10 years. To me it means that editors are buying books and that people are reading them. That's got to be a good thing. And I just keep marching forward - no other choice. If I give up, I never get there. THANKS!!!

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  92. Perhaps it's my experience in a creative field (architect/designer), but one of the key, sure-fire, absolutely unbreakable rules is: there are are no key, sure-fire absolutely unbreakable rules. Talent and hard work are not always rewarded. But they provide a great foundation (sorry, bad architect pun) for future projects. Luck and perseverance are greatly underestimated and, in truth, can often times trump talent and hard work. Combine all four though, and good things will happen.

    So for anyone who doesn't have an agent yet, keep trying. And for those of us lucky enough to have been selected but not yet published (like me), do the same. It's all good. Great post, thanks.

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  93. Aaaaand... I'm a nerd because I've been off the map so long I didn't even know. Well, belated CONGRATULATIONS accompanied with a high-pitched squeeeeal!! Oh, I've got the stubborn too, so it was great to hear.

    Congrats again!!!

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  94. Really fantastic, and just what I needed to hear. Thank you. ("I've got stubborn down to a science." Now THAT is heartening!!)

    Oh, and great photos to start! Hilarious!

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  95. I so needed to read this post today. Thank you!

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  96. Wow. This is inspiring and helpful and challenging and true and Just. Plain. Awesome. Thank you!

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  97. Still a great read in 2012. Very positive and very true.

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  98. Came across your post today, when I was web-surfing seeking encouragement. My first book just started its rounds: one editor loves it (waiting to hear if this will lead to an offer), and 2 others passed today. In a spell where there's no news, and the news that's been received is not terrific, the mind jumps to the worst possible scenarios. Your piece is an excellent lifeline.

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  99. that about-to-happy-vomit squirrel might be the most accurate representation of selling a book I've ever seen. Thanks for an awesome post.

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  100. I know this post is two years old, but THANK YOU. I had a mental breakdown this morning. I feel like this process is slowly draining me emotionally and there's NO ONE TO TALK TO. This post helped so much!

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  101. Just loved this post, C.J! I realize I am a few years late in reading it, but it came at the perfect time for me :) My library just got the entire "Defiance" series (at my request, thank you very much). Of course, I was a little impatient and just bought it so I wouldn't have to be on the library waiting list. Can't wait to start reading!

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