I was surfing the blogs, avoiding my WIP, and hoping for inspiration when I ran across this post over at agent Kristin Nelson’s blog:
Last week I found myself in the interesting position of calling two authors but not because I was offering representation. Sometimes an agent calls but it’s not THE call. You’re probably asking yourself why I would bother if I were passing on a manuscript.
Here’s why. Sometimes the writing is just that good (and in these two instances, I was torn and seriously contemplated whether we could work on revisions with the authors), but ultimately, if I think a manuscript is fatally flawed and it would entail the author revising more than half the work, I have to pass. It’s not fair to them to say, “well, representation is contingent on XYZ first” (despite being sorely tempted).
I got one of these calls once. I was too dumb to realize how good it was. I was crushed, heartbroken, downtrodden, etc. I was convinced I was a bad writer. Never gonna write a good book, never gonna get there, blah blah blah.
Did I mention it was the first book I ever wrote? Did I mention I was in my twenties, hated my day job, and terribly convinced I was on the cusp of making it? Sheesh, I would so love to have a talk with the earlier me, to tell her to cheer up and keep going and to never, ever give up.
Something I’ve learned in the past few years of living is that, in the words of Yogi Berra, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. I had one book under my belt when I almost got the call. I had nothing else ready to go and no real vision for the future. You simply MUST keep writing new stories. Never pin your hopes on one story, never keep tweaking and tweaking and hoping the only story you’ve ever written will get published. You have to keep going, no matter how heartbreaking.
What would I do if I almost got the call right now? I’d probably wallow a bit, sure. But I hope I’d pick myself up in a day or two and press on. Have you ever almost gotten the call? How did you handle it? What would you do if you got it today?