So here’s Rori!
Perseverance from Potter
Throughout my writing career, I’ve been fascinated by the myriad of successful authors who’ve received rejections. Part of me can’t help smiling as I picture the agents or editors who turned those authors down early in their careers. I bet they feel duly regretful now! But part of me knows it’s all just part of the process. Agents and editors can’t say yes to everything.
So over the years, I’ve collected a few choice perseverance stories that I like to keep in my back pocket for a rainy day.
Let me start with my own story. I started out querying, not knowing exactly how to do it and not even having a polished first draft. I got a lot of requests for the full manuscript, but it wasn’t until I’d queried 100 agents that I actually got an offer. A hundred! Whew! The agent who eventually offered me a contract and signed me with a publisher was number 82. Now my book, ELECTED, a young adult sci-fi thriller, is releasing with Silence in the Library Publishing.
There are others like me—much more famous—who have similar rejection stories. I thought I’d list just a few here to help inspire all of us and remind us to keep persevering, no matter what!
Beatrix Potter: She was…gasp…self-published! She was rejected by so many publishers, she decided to self-print 250 copies of Peter Rabbit just for her friends. It was sold in a few bookstores, and through word of mouth, it gained popularity. Only then was it picked up by a traditional publisher. In Beatrix Potter’s own words, here’s what she said about receiving rejections.
Tuesday, March 13th, 1900: “Another rejection today for my “Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor’s Garden”. The publishers Frederick Warne and Co. seemed interested and I went today by appointment to meet Mr. Harold Warne. But he wants a bigger book, which I cannot do, and we had arguments. (It is odious to a shy person to be snubbed especially when the shy person happens to be right). If no one will accept the book as it is, I will get it printed myself.
Carl Sandburg, the poet, was so forlorn by all the rejections he received, that he vowed not to write
Jodi Picoult, best-selling author of over 18 books, didn’t get any attention for her first book. I met her at a talk she gave in Washington D.C. and asked her if she had any advice for new authors. That’s when she told me this story and said, “keep writing.” After her first novel didn’t get picked up, she put it down and wrote a second one. That book became a bestseller, and after she was duly famous, publishers wanted her first book too.
Thus, the moral of the story is… persevere! If you are passionate about writing and getting your novel
Thanks for sharing your advice, Rori.
Rori Shay is an author living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, daughters, black lab, and cat - just not quite in the same exciting circumstances as ELECTED’s main character, Aloy. She enjoys running, gardening, reading, doing yoga, and volunteering with the Dwelling Place non-profit. Rori is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
And here's links to purchase her book:
Kickstarter: for printed copies, a free ebook, and a lot of special limited-edition items and other free books.
Here’s a blurb of ELECTED from Goodreads:
It’s the year 2185, and in two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place as president of the country. But to do so, she must masquerade as a boy to avoid violating the Eco-Accords, four treaties designed to bring the world back from the brink of environmental extinction. Aloy hopes to govern like her father, but she is inheriting a different country. The long concealed Technology Faction is stepping out of the shadows, and as turmoil grows within her country, cryptic threats also arrive from beyond their borders.
As she struggles to lead, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, meanwhile battling feelings for the boy who knows her secret – the boy who is somehow connected to her country’s recent upheaval. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust. She understood leadership required sacrifice. She just didn’t realize the sacrifice might be her life.
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
~Items seen in ELECTED such as a marriage binding (temporary tattoo)
~Necklace as seen in ELECTED
~Signed paperback copy of ELECTED
~Optional FaceTime or Skype session with the author for 1/2 an hour (can be used one-on-one or at the winner's book club, etc.)
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Monday, I’m interviewing Dianne Salerni and giving away a copy of THE EIGHTH DAY, her new middle grade fantasy. This is a fantastic, well-plotted story that I couldn’t put down.
Next Wednesday I’ll have a guest post by Holly Webb and a giveaway of ROSE AND THE LOST PRINCESS, her MG fantasy.
Next Saturday I’ll be participating in the Amazing Book Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great choices for you.
The following Monday, I have an interview with friend, follower and now debut author Jessie Humphries and a giveaway of KILLING RUBY ROSE, her fantastic YA mystery/thriller.
And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Monday!