Wednesday, September 26, 2007
You Gotta Believe
As a kid, I learned the truth of this statement through sports. No matter what, on any given day, any team can win, any player can be a hero or a goat. Last February, my husband and I had a few days in Las Vegas, and true to my optimistic nature, I bet $5 on the 2007 World Series winners and the 2008 Superbowl winners (Yeah, I'm not a real big spender.) The guy at the betting booth chuckled when I told him my teams. I could just hear him thinking, "Yeah, right, Lady. The Cubs and the Packers?" But they're my teams. And while there's no guarantee (and my fingers are firmly crossed which makes it hard to type), the Packers are 3-0 and the Cubs are looking at a magic number of 4. You Gotta Believe.
3 years ago, I had just signed with my agent after writing and querying for 5 years.
Then, 3 months later, she sent it out to editors and within a few weeks we'd gotten a great offer from Random House. (To be honest, she assured me it was a great offer. At that point, I would have signed for a few copies of my book.) There had definitely been moments in the preceding years when I'd been ready to pack it in. Give it up. I was an unknown middle-aged, single mom, school teacher from the Midwest. It really doesn't get more out of the loop than that. But, my agent believed in my book (God bless her) and I had friends who never let me give up (Bless them too). And, deep in my heart, I knew I believed in my story, in my writing. And then other folks did too. The publishing house. Bookstore owners who handsold it. The marketing folks who got it out there.
And finally, the readers who found it, talked about it, and got others to buy it.
I had to believe. That's one of the mantras of published writers--if you give up, the only thing you know for certain is that you'll never be published. Every published author, even the huge bestselling ones, were at one time unknown debut wannabees.
You don't have to just take my word for it, Therese Fowler writes about this more eloquently (natch) than I can here.
Just when I thought I couldn't be surprised any more, the foreign contracts started to come in. To be honest, it seemed like Monopoly money--Germany? Finland and Sweden? Most recently, the Netherlands and China. No languages I can read, of course, but to think that there are people in countries I've never even set foot in, where as far as I know my mother has no pull, who will stumble across my book and read it--I still can't completely wrap my brain around that. Somebody (or several somebodies) believes in me all across the globe. It's pretty cool.
So whatever it is, a contract, an agent, a spot in the playoffs, an amazing record-setting season for Brett Favre, you gotta believe. It's easy. Just do it.