A Blessed Rejection

Tony, from A Way With Words, was kind enough to send along the following post to share with all of you.  Give it a read, provide some thoughts and support, and then head over to read more at his site and venture further into his journey.

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I attended a writer’s workshop not long ago with the goals to meet other authors, to hone my craft, and, Lord willing, to get an agent interested in my spiritual memoir about bipolar disorder. I jammed my shirt pockets with author’s cards — with my name, contact information, title of my book and my editor’s blurb about it, “. . . a magnificent gem nestled within the muck and mud of uncharted territory.”

The advice we were given prior to the conference is that we should do plenty of networking. “Get in peoples’ faces” was the exact instruction. I arrived early and in just fifteen minutes handed out a dozen cards, intensely promoting my book and acting interested when they told me about their work. The trouble is, one feature of bipolar disorder is that when you start becoming intensely engaged in conversation, it can be difficult to turn off.

Like with a woman from Detroit, when I insisted the solution to her city’s problem was simple “either raise income or reduce expenses.”

“It’s more complicated than that,” she gently suggested.

“What’s complicated?” I scoffed, “That’s how I do my budget.”

Fortunately, I managed to make it through the welcoming session without a serious altercation. I even touched a sympathetic chord with one woman. When I read her my agent pitch, she was thrilled, “You know I was just diagnosed with bipolar.”

The social media session was productive. I was pleasantly surprised that I had a leg-up on nearly every other participant – with a daily blog, a regularly updated website and at least some Twitter presence. With the help of some tutoring, I managed to buy two more domain names, including the title of my memoir. While searching my options, I discovered that I could purchase “disorder.com” for a tempting price of $95,000.

After a full and fruitful day, I returned for some fun and frivolity. They played a game where the leader cited a title and we voted on whether it was a real book or not. Hands on head for “yes.” Hands on butt for “no.” Two titles I remember were An Anthology of Lesbian Horse Stories and My Unicorn, Myself. Both were actual books.

I left a little early, to get ready for a big day. I was doing my agent pitch at 9:45 a.m. I got to bed early enough, but I was wide awake by 3 a.m. and decided to go to McDonald’s for coffee and prayer.

Again, I arrived early for the day. Before entering the assembly hall, I visited the bathroom. An older man was occupying the middle stall, so I had no choice but to stand beside him. As men’s room etiquette dictates, we each grunted a greeting then went about our business.

Suddenly I could hear a voice. It was a deep voice. Clear and commanding. I cringed. The last thing I needed now was to be hearing voices. I have a history of hearing voices. Sometimes they can be hard to tune out. Sometimes I get agitated. Sometimes I talk back. This can be unsettling for people in a crowd without nurses carrying syringes.

I turned to the gentleman next to me, “Do you hear a voice?”

“Yeah, yours.”

“No, I mean a voice just then, a deep voice.”

“Yeah. It’s your voice. It’s coming from your pocket.”

“Oh, my voice recorder!” I laughed with relief. The old guy did not find this amusing.

I made it to the panel discussion on pitches, eager for some last minute advice. Each agent described what they were looking for and what they definitely did not want. As my prospective agent grabbed the microphone, I inched forward in my chair.

“I’m looking for all kinds of romance,” she said, “and I definitely don’t want a memoir.”

I thought of scratching out the word “memoir” from my pitch and putting in “love story.” But I decided to stick to my guns.

My pitch went well. I felt peace and believe I represented my work well. She commended me for my bravery in sharing my story. “But,” she said, “I can’t market memoirs.”

Funny, rather than a slap in the face, it was like a chisel cutting away at stone. God was chipping away one more avenue that was not right for me.

In the minute that remained of my time, I told her of two particular publishers I was considering approaching. “You should do fine without representation,” she said with a smile.

I left uplifted, blessed with rejection.

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TR

My name is Tony Roberts.
I am a man with an unquiet mind who has a way with words.
I read. I write. I teach.  I drink coffee.
I write about such things as mental health, faith, art, and culture.

 

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Do you  have a story that must not die?  Share it here.

 

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19 thoughts on “A Blessed Rejection

  1. Though they can be difficult to take at the time, I’ve always thought that we learn more about ourselves from struggles and adversity than we do in any other scenario. It seems, however, that you have already learned that lesson and embraced. That’s a huge step on the path of living a happy and productive life.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would have been out of there after she said she didn’t want a memoir, no chance taken. I would have rejected myself. You had the perseverance to plough through. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I too can be prone to self-sabotage when I fear rejection from others. Somehow, on this occasion, I let go of this spirit of timidity and “ploughed through” (as you put it). Thanks for your encouraging words.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is wonderful! I love it when someone tackles the world, or their problems with an open mind and limited cynicism. I prefer to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the silver lining. Good luck to you Tony. You deserve all the goodness that you get in this life. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Your tenacity is amazing, Tony. Had it been me, after hearing ““But, I can’t market memoirs.”
    I think I’d have been a blubbering mess. But you had faith and persevered and God is blessing you for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your strength of will is astounding! It’s wonderful that you were able to see the good side of rejection. Best of luck to you in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Well done on staying the course with that meeting. Learning how to deal with rejection is an unpleasant but necessary part of life. By your staying, even though you knew you wouldn’t get anywhere, you actually got a positive response.

    Sometimes we have to go through being uncomfortable to get the best – like the caterpillar changing into the butterfly, I reckon that’s got to hurt a bit, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “It was like a chisel cutting away at stone. God was chipping away one more avenue that was not right for me.” — that’s a wonderful way of looking at it. God chisels and we are honed… the perfect tool for the perfect task and time. Lovely piece, Tony. I always love hearing about your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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