One of the biggest literary agencies on the planet represented me for my memoir, The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle. After my agent—I’ll call her Francesca—finished editing it and I’d made the revisions, she invited me into her office to meet her as well as another agent she worked with.
The agency was in New York City. Despite all my years working on filling my own well, I was superdoodled-down with meeting these two New York agents and having them pour a few choice compliments down my thirsty throat. What to wear? It was springtime and the flowers were blossoming. I chose a bright pink shirt, white pants and sandals.
But it was not a balmy spring day. By the time I got to their office, I was shivering. I rode the elevator straight up into the drippy clouds.
In the reception area, I saw books by famous writers and thought, I made it. I am in. I even heard the receptionist tell someone on the other end of the line, “I’m sorry, but if you haven’t heard from the agent, that means they are not interested in representing you.” I couldn’t help but glow inside. Not from schadenfreude (gloating over someone else’s misfortune) but from the idea that I had passed the bouncer at the door. I was no longer that sorry person on the other end of the phone.
Then Francesca came to meet me. I hadn’t yet taken off my scarf. I was still freezing. And frumpled. I saw the disappointment cross her face. Francesca brought me into a back office and introduced me to the other agent who glanced in my direction and then said almost dismissively, “Oh, so you’re the motorcycle woman.” Oh, I was so NOT the motorcycle woman. I just happened to be a woman who rode on a motorcycle and then wrote a book about it. Plus, I now knew that my spring outfit on this dreary, dismal day was as inappropriate as Elle Woods wearing her bunny costume to her Harvard Law School party in “Legally Blonde.”
And those two women who I’d hoped would pump me up brought me down. No compliments. And no book contract.
For a while, I sat around singing the blues and kvetching about the state of publishing. Then I realized that accepting the situation would do for me far more than complaining, grousing, moaning and criticizing could ever accomplish. It didn’t mean I liked it but I had to accept it.
Then I decided to DIY-it. Do it yourself. And I published The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle, (on sale for $2.99 here) which has garnered media attention and has sold more than I ever imagined. And after that, I got a new literary agent and a new contract for my novel, The Burial Circle. (Or, I just learned, it might be called, Burial Circle.)
I learned, first of all, that there’s no magical someone out there to say the right words to fill that hole in my soul. It’s a DIY job.
And that if I want to get something done, I can take the steps to accomplish it.
Tool for Tuesday: FYI, DIY. You can, you know. You can do it yourself. You can find a way. You can tell yourself the things you are waiting to hear from someone else.
If you are considering self-publishing, contact me for some fast and easy tips to navigate the self-publishing world.
An honest, poignant, touching and inspiring post, Diana! And the picture is even more perfect because–although, like Reese Witherspoon, you arrived in totally wrong attire–in the end you both triumphed over that awkward moment and went on to independent successes!
Thank you, Marylin, for throwing in all those adjectives that I guess I’d been waiting to hear from those two agents!
Great. Story. Period!
Thank you. Period here, too.
Excellent post! And as someone who read your ‘motorcycle book’ – I can say those agents missed out on someone very talented and dedicated to her craft.
Your book is moving, honest and above all extremely well written. It’s hands down one of the best memoirs I’ve read.
Yep- those New York agents missed out. But I’m glad you didn’t let that experience deflate or define you because otherwise I would have missed out on reading such a terrific book.
Thank you for the inspiration!
Thank you, Pam. I’m really happy I didn’t give up, either. Giving up? Anybody can do that.
🙂 My new mantra in life thanks to your book! Giving up is boring for sure.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this…as a writer and on a personal level! such a great message…as always!
Hi Diana, While I have been working hard to find an agent and or publisher for my gift book…it is not happening. My readers love ” Having Coffee with Jesus” …the agents and publishers …not so much ! I have been considering self publishing and researching for quite some time but have not yet found a company that I feel comfortable or safe with …would appreciate any advice on self publishing you have time to share with me. Posted on your site today but again I just loved this post…it encouraged me as a writer and gave my soul a much needed lift personally! Peace and God bless, Donna Donna Teti
Twin Pop Inspirations http://www.donnateti.com/
Hi Donna, Thank you for your comment. I’ve sent you an email directly to your website!