This is the part that’s impossible to put into words.
Imagine waking up every day knowing that the most amazing thing that has ever happened in your life could happen that day. And then imagine going to bed that night, having had it not happen, and the disappointment that brings. And then waking up the next day knowing it could happen that day. And then it not. And so forth.
Then, imagine those days piling up.
Imagine knowing that something you have created is in the hands of some of the most powerful publishers in the history of the world. Imagine knowing they could be reading your words–things you yourself wrote–at this very moment.
And then imagine not hearing from them.
Imagine the roller-coaster of thrill and disappointment, of self-doubt and hope that creates. Imagine the whiplash, all internal, of thinking any email and any phone call could be “the one.” Imagine trying not to check your email four trillion times a day. Imagine how much you learn to hate your phone, and the fact that it continues–doggedly–to not ring. Imagine watching it, sitting on your desk, trying to will it to buzz.
Anything. You just want to hear anything.
Then, try to imagine 9 or so days in, seeing that first rejection.
The first one came from Penguin Books.
It said some really nice things. The editor said she “agonized” over the decision. She complimented my writing. She said our book would add a “unique and compelling voice” to the national conversation. She said she took a long time to think about it. But in the end, she decided to pass. Her hesitancy centered around audience, and but more than anything it centered around her feeling “torn.” She knew she wasn’t the right fit.
And that makes sense. We wouldn’t want someone who didn’t feel good about the project representing the book.
But still, that rejection came as a jolt. Suddenly, it wasn’t just all fantasy-world. These real people were reading our real book proposal, making real decisions about it. They were making decisions based on market, and they were making decisions based on “fit” and they were making decisions based on readability.
But in the end, they were making decisions based on their gut emotions. And sometimes they were going to say “no.”
“Keep the faith,” said our agent. He was an expert at this. He had seen rejection before, of course.
If there is anything Lolly and I are good at, it’s keeping faith. Surely we would hear a “yes” soon. Surely the Lord had inspired these events, had made the stars align, so that he could inspire the right person to represent our story. Surely, He hadn’t just set us up to fail and be disappointed–bitterly, painfully disappointed.
Faith. We had faith.
We went forward, waiting for our “yes.”
All it takes, as they say, is one.