January 26, 2012

"Never Give Up, Never Surrender"

If any of you have seen the hilarious Galaxy Quest (one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way), you'll recognize the quote. And here's what we're dealing with today:

I recently did a Q&A with Danica Page. In that interview, she asked me what I would tell a writer who just wanted to give it all up. It's a poignant question, and one that made me think about my own journey as a writer.

I started writing stories when I was young, but I started this get-published journey about eleven years ago with the dream of finding an agent, being picked up by a publishing house, going on a book tour, you know, fame and riches and all that stuff.

I attended writing conferences, made great connections, met wonderful agents and editors, researched who to send my novel to, and shipped it off. And my grandiose dreams were dashed, big time. Sure, I received some personalized rejection letters, but they were rejection letters, and let's face it: rejection is rejection no matter how lovely the packaging and how kind the wording. Sometimes I think a form rejection is better than a personalized one, just because I had the feeling of "I was this close."

After a year of being rejected, I decided to stop with the self-torture and put writing to the side. I came back to it now and again, but I wasn't in it full force the way I had been. And I was a mommy now and there just wasn't the time as I tried to get my mind wrapped around giving everything to this little infant. But there came a moment here and there when that calmed down, and I got the idea for The Burn, and bam! I had the writing itch again and I slammed into it full-force.

But then I looked at my life and what I wanted. Did I want to have firm deadlines from a publishing house? No. I was pregnant with my second and I was lucky if I could stay awake through the afternoon, more or less write so many thousand words to meet a deadline. Did I want to deal with appearances and book signings and getting out there and marketing? No. I had snot and drool and other assorted bodily fluids on my clothes and was just so exhausted by the end of the day that the idea made me shudder. And the big one:

Was having a best seller really that important to me? Do I need to have an army of publishing experts behind me to make me feel validated?

I'll admit it: I would love to have my name recognized, I would love for masses of people to know about my books, and having a publishing house helps immensely with that. But more importantly, I want people to read my books and have an emotional connection, be entertained. Do I have to write a best seller to be happy? No. I need my husband and my girls to be happy. That's what makes me happy.

So I researched self publishing and ran full tilt at it. Now my books are out there. I've done publicity for my books from my own computer where I don't have to worry if I'm the human Kleenex for the day, and people have bought my books and people have loved them. That was really my goal all along.

Do I feel like I backed away from my goal just because I was rejected? Not at all. I just found the venue that works best for where I am in my life right now.


  1. Annie I just love you! Just wanted you to know so glad you can have all your dreams.

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  3. Hi Annie! Congratulations on realizing your dreams!