Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Don't Listen to the Negative

Years ago, my husband and I wrote a mystery called Beginner's Luck. We entered a contest and won first place. That first place awarded us a read and an interview with an agent who told us the book/story/amateur detective was mediocre and couldn't compete with the many shelves of mysteries in Barnes and Noble, Borders, BAM and other bookstores. We listened to him. We believed him. We never finished that book. That agent knocked the wind out of us, discouraged us and we allowed him to do it. We put our story aside.

When I finally acquired an agent, and after she sold my first book, I created a 3-book romantic series. One of my characters was a literary agent. My agent told me no one wanted to read about a literary agent. She didn't try to market the series. I let her discourage me.

Awhile later an amateur detective series hit the stores. The sleuth--a literary agent. The series was written by the first agent who rejected my so called mediocre book. Evidently someone was interested in reading about literary agents.

And round and round we go. Where we stop, nobody knows.

I have always put professionals on a pedestal--the doctors, lawyers, policemen, teachers, editors, publishers and literary agents--and assumed all knew more than me. I was wrong. I know a lot. And there are times I actually know more than the professionals. I'm the authority when it comes to books I want to write and the passion I feel for them.

I believe all ideas are good. Some are better than others. Most need tweaking in some way. I believe ideas bounce around until someone grabs them and does something with them. Don't waste an idea because your agent or editor doesn't like it. Tweak it until they do like it.

Learn from my mistakes. Don't quit. Don't allow anyone to discourage you. Write your passion.

And never, never, never give up.

The writers who succeed are the ones who refuse to buckle under the failures that are heaped upon them; who reject the notion that they aren't as mediocre as industry professionals say they are. ~Jodi Piccoult

1 comment:

Marcia Gruver said...

Very inspiring, Jess. We've all been slapped down at some point. The determined get back up. Thanks for the reminder.