Last time we talked about quitting. Successful people quit all the time. They quit bad relationships, toxic partnerships, dumb ideas or projects that fail to bear any fruit. They step back, assess and then change direction.
What do you want? How badly do you want it? What are you willing to sacrifice? These are the questions we must ask not once, but daily. There is no success without the GRIND.
Or perhaps, the G.R.I.N.D.
Every day we have something to give that will keep propelling us forward. I love, love, love the movie Rocky. This is among my favorite quotes:
The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. ~Rocky Balboa
Life does hit hard. I’ve been there more times than I can count.
Some of you know I was a high school drop out twice. I had the chance to simply get a GED but I chose to go back and finish even though I was embarrassingly older than my peers (19 in a class of 14 year-olds).
I worked hard at a community college until I won a full Air Force scholarship to become a doctor. Before I could enjoy that? I fell in an ice storm and broke my back.
My free ride was over. I took a job in a tiny mall store that sold motivational material. At the time, I couldn’t walk without a cane and while my coworkers spent the slow times chatting with friends on the phone, I read every single book in that store over and over and over.
I knew physically I was a mess, but I also appreciated that this was a meantime. It was the span of suck before my breakthrough. What could I do for my will? For my mind? How could I keep my spirit healthy while my body mended?
Life hits and worse, it will sucker punch you. We may not always be able to do the big stuff, but we can keep pressing with the small stuff because greatness is not a singular moment. Rather…
Greatness is the accumulation of a lot of hidden moments that have no glory.
We give our best because our energy is seed. We plant our dreams and faith in the world and in others and trust that eventually it will bear fruit and eventually give back.
If I don’t have enough of something? I give it. That is a huge reason for this blog. Today, I need encouragement, so I am giving it. Want more love? Give it. Want more skill? Help others hone theirs. Want more passion? Give it.
Life is an echo.
You want to do anything remarkable? Learn to be relentless. I heard someone once say that the richest place on earth is a graveyard because we cannot imagine what we’ve lost; the dreams, inventions, ideas that people took to their graves because they were afraid of failure.
One of the reasons I’ve always been such a pit bull is that my father was an extraordinarily talented man. Probably far more talented then I ever was. But he died penniless and working for $8 an hour in a bicycle shop. Why? Because the second anything got hard or gave pushback, he folded. For all we know, we lost one of the greatest writers of the 20th century because his fear was bigger than his faith.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that the harder life is pushing back? The better. Usually that is a sign we are doing something right.
Look back at your own life and I will guarantee you’ll see those times. You had a goal, a plan, and were actually seeing forward momentum then?
The AC in your house died, the car broke down, the kids got sick, the family decided to all go crazy simultaneously. You went from being ON FIRE to putting out nothing but grassfires.
Truth is, that’s a good sign. Keep pressing.
Invest in yourself. Talent is natural but it isn’t anything all that remarkable. Talent is nothing if it isn’t paired with skill. Skill is only something we can earn with blood and sweat and pain. We can’t earn skill on the sidelines, only on the mats. Hammering on our will, our mind, our craft day after day after day.
Skill only comes with failure.
Skill only comes with getting back up knowing we could fail again. Skill only comes when we appreciate that if we aren’t failing, we aren’t doing anything interesting. Skill eventually rises out of the ashes of our failures because we have made all the wrong moves and so we begin to recognize the right ones.
Skill comes from reaching out to those who are better, wiser and asking for help. Skill comes from humility. Read craft books, take classes, ask questions then do it again and again and again. If we want to improve, we must look to those who are better to train us.
In Jiu Jitsu I worked harder than anyone (being the only female and about half the size of most of my competitors). I struggled and worked and killed myself. Then, I finally gave in and got personal coaching. Just ONE session made all the difference. A pro taught me what ten months of killing myself never did and never would.
THIS was the first guy I got to fight upon earning my blue belt. Just….seriously.
But some good rounds of coaching taught me how to instantly position better, no matter how big or strong my opponent. Instead off getting crushed? This dude is moments from being flipped over and arm-barred.
Yes, the devil is in the details.
I have busted apart and repaired hundreds of plots. Virtually every one of my consulting sessions involves some poor writer who has spent a year or more trying to repair a plot that I can fix in less than three hours. Sometimes we need those outside experts. Getting help isn’t weak, it is smart! If you are in a mess, e-mail me ;).
No is one of the most powerful words in human language.
We must learn to say NO. We have to say it to ourselves. When I’d rather putter around the house and clean than edit or write my blog or research? NO.
I tell myself that I have a choice. No to now? Or no to later? I must give up what I want now for what I want most.
Learn to say no to toxic people. They will always have more drama they want us to fix. Learn to say no to the small leaks deflating your energy.
Quit expecting average people to help you accomplish the extraordinary.
Conversely? Don’t take NO.
Back when I was in sales, my managers could not get over how good I was at cold calling. Most salespeople loathe cold calling with the power of a thousand suns because it is 99% rejection. Why was I successful? Because when they said “No” I heard… “Not yet.”
A lot of you are attending conferences. You might be pitching agents or sending out query letters. Expect rejection. Rejection isn’t always bad. Rejection isn’t NO. It is “Not YET.”
Go back and fix what you can. Move forward. Invest in your skill and then ask again. And again. If they won’t budge and you’re ready? Go around. Find your YES.
My book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World was with a major NYC agent for over a year. New York was unwilling to publish a book about social media even though my book didn’t rely on technology. I wrote it in such a way that it would always be relevant, and so didn’t have the typically short shelf life of this type of book.
I didn’t wait for them to change their minds, I published it anyway.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam. We will find a way or we will make one. ~Hannibal
I hate those scams on late night TV that promise vast riches with no risk. That’s bunk. Our rewards exist in direct proportion to our risk. Risk big win big. Risk small and…yeah.
When we risk big, we can lose big. But we can also learn big. If we never fall from that kind of height, how can we learn to roll out of it? Dare daily. Dare to do something different, something meaningful. Nothing miraculous ever happened in the comfort zone.
When we dare to push ourselves outside of what we believe is possible, we discover talents we never knew existed. Yes, invest in your future but remember that today, THIS day, is the only one that matters. Because THIS day adds up. The only question is…
How are we going to use it?
Do you find yourself making excuses? Heck, I do. Do you find yourself spread too thinly “helping” others who are unwilling to help themselves? Are you afraid of failing? Do you feel selfish going after your dreams? Do you find yourself “waiting” on others? Does success seem unreachable? What dreams or goals have you attained that you never thought possible? What did you do? Sacrifice?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of AUGUST, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
Check out the other NEW classes below!
All W.A.N.A. classes are on-line and all you need is an internet connection. Recordings are included in the class price.
Blogging for Authors (August 26th) will teach you all you need to know to start an author blog good for going the distance. Additionally I would also recommend the class offered earlier that same week (August 22nd) Branding for Authors to help you with the BIG picture. These classes will benefit you greatly because most blogs will fail because writers waste a lot of time with stuff that won’t work and never will and that wastes a lot of time.
I am here to help with that 😉 .
Hooking the Reader—Your First Five Pages August 12th
The first five pages are the most essential part of the novel, your single most powerful selling tool. It’s how you will hook agents, editors and readers. This class will cover the most common blunders and also teach you how to hook hard and hook early. This class is 90 minutes long, 60 minutes of instruction and 30 minutes for Q&A.
Your First Five Pages Gold Level
This includes the webinar and a detailed critique your first five pages.
Your First Five Pages Platinum Level
This includes the webinar and a detailed critique of your first twenty pages.
Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist September 2nd–September 2nd
All fiction must have a core antagonist. The antagonist is the reason for the story problem, but the term “antagonist” can be highly confusing. Without a proper grasp of how to use antagonists, the plot can become a wandering nightmare for the author and the reader.
This class will help you understand how to create solid story problems (even those writing literary fiction) and then give you the skills to layer conflict internally and externally.
Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist Gold
This is a personal workshop to make sure you have a clear story problem. And, if you don’t? I’ll help you create one and tell the story you want to tell. This is done by phone/virtual classroom and by appointment. Expect to block off at least a couple hours.
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.
#1 by philessatry on August 8, 2016 - 8:53 am
Inspirational, thank you. And I love the shout outs to BJJ. Keep rolling!
#2 by lgould171784 on August 8, 2016 - 8:58 am
Lots of good advice in this post. I especially like the word “relentless.”
#3 by coldhandboyack on August 8, 2016 - 9:04 am
As always, I appreciate the heavy dose of reality you administer.
#4 by eloisemac on August 8, 2016 - 9:18 am
I’ve been reading your blog for a good year now – back when I realised I needed to spend some serious time with craft books. I came across your blog while I was researching writing advice. Have learned so much from it over the past year (and from your book), both in how to approach my writing and how to sell myself. I ran out of steam with my blog after only having it a couple of months. It’s hard to commit to, especially when I use all my spare time in actually writing my epic novel! However, I have taken your advice to heart and am setting it up again soon.
I just need to re-read one of your posts on determination and resilience when I’m feeling a bit disheartened and it picks me up again 🙂
I’ve definitely got the resilience down now, not so much the bravery (although that has increased at least 50%!) and my writing has improved immensely. I’ll definitely make GRIND my motto.
(PS I’m a fellow martial artist – kickboxing, though. I did some Jiiu Jitsu for a while and loved it. Hoping to go back to it some day, but for the moment I really get a lot of satisfaction from hitting a punch bag. Not people . . .okay, just a little bit ;-p)
#5 by Simon on August 8, 2016 - 9:18 am
I need to dare more and stop making excuses, it’s always been my problem. Once I’ve jumped in I go for it, it’s just the diving in bit!
#6 by debcoonts on August 8, 2016 - 9:19 am
All this is so very true. And I want to remind you that with each blog you touch a heart and start a pair of wings, okay, a lot of them. Maybe the ones most affected don’t write to tell you, hopefully they do, but sometimes they don’t even know the power of your words until they are faced with a choice and they remember. When we reach for the stars, the path can seem so solitary, so lonely, so….hard. There is comfort in letting others suck us dry because then we are “needed” and we don’t have to face failure. I so look forward to your blog. Your words always remind me to be fierce, to know the victory is in the journey. Today may be dark, and for that I’m sorry, but tomorrow……tomorrow will be brilliant! What can all of us whose lives have been made brighter through your words, do for you? How can we pull you out of the darkness into the sun?
#7 by eloisemac on August 8, 2016 - 9:21 am
Eek, here’s a rewrite of my first sentence, which has turned out to be rather nonsensical. Is there any way to edit comments?
I’ve been reading your blog for a good year now – I started back when I realised I needed to spend some serious time with craft books and came across it while researching writing advice.
#8 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 8, 2016 - 9:25 am
LOL. Don’t worry about it. We have a lot of grace here, especially when people try to comment using smart phones, LOL.
#9 by ratherearnestpainter on August 8, 2016 - 9:27 am
I’ve not learned out to edit comments, but I have learned to enjoy the nonsensical turn of phrase. It’s like a new dimension to reading comments.
#10 by eloisemac on August 8, 2016 - 9:46 am
I suppose reading nonsensical turns of phrase does exercise your brain a bit 😉
#11 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 8, 2016 - 10:08 am
I must be tired because your original comment made perfect sense, LOL.
#12 by ratherearnestpainter on August 8, 2016 - 9:23 am
I used to dream. I would become inspired, then realize that it was only the caffeine talking, or I would attribute it to a headrush brought on by a trip to NOLA. It took a while for me to realize that it didn’t have to be, that my annoyingly energetic personality could actually be useful if I learned to use it properly. Nobody really ever put me down; I did that enough, myself.
When I decided to stop waiting for an opportunity and to begin MAKING my opportunities, I looked around for writing workshops and things of that nature. I began writing and painting just because. I began encouraging others and it turns out I’m really good at that, and people respond well. It’s difficult to keep up the pace and I don’t envy my partner who sees me when I get down or frustrated.
As I was looking around, I came across this blog and it has been a game changer. Not just the blog, but the things that the blog leads to, like your guest bloggers and your book. My dreams still get a little bit ahead of reality, but that’s what dreams are for.
Thank you for all that you do.
#13 by JenniferShelby on August 8, 2016 - 9:34 am
I needed to read this today – thank you!!
#14 by jonna ellis holston on August 8, 2016 - 9:40 am
Thank you Kristen.
#15 by Lisa Orchard on August 8, 2016 - 9:40 am
Great post and oh so true! 🙂
#16 by nicolegrabner on August 8, 2016 - 10:03 am
TRUE CONFESSION: I have labored over my one manuscript for like two years. (I feel embarrassed to admit this.) I pitched this labor of love at conferences and online. I was always great at generating interest in the pitch, but after submitting my pages (for one reason or another), I always got rejected. When that would happen, I’d go back to editing THE SAME BOOK instead of putting it aside and starting again. (Kristen, I can FEEL you looking at me right now. *smiles*) So finally, I put that book aside and I’m starting again. I’m going to take some classes; I’m rereading my craft books. I’m journaling. I’m finding that reason why I wanted to write in the first place and trying my best to not give in to the constant troll on my shoulder that tells me I’ll never be good enough.
You know what’s interesting about all of this? Not that rejection didn’t suck coming from agents and editors that I would talk to, but that I let MYSELF down by not trying again, every morning. By letting myself feel that I would never make this work. That was the worst “blow” and it hit a whole lot harder than any agent.
Thank you Kristen! I’m going to watch some Rocky tonight! 🙂
#17 by Susie Murphy on August 8, 2016 - 10:04 am
I can’t emphasise enough how timely this post is, thanks a million for giving me the push I needed.
#18 by Kathryn Jane on August 8, 2016 - 10:20 am
Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance.
#19 by 1authorcygnetbrown on August 8, 2016 - 10:36 am
I love your acronym! Something I need to read AGAIN and AGAIN! (especially when I make excuses)
#20 by Yecheilyah on August 8, 2016 - 10:38 am
This post is everything. I’m pumped.
#21 by saralynrichard on August 8, 2016 - 10:42 am
You continue to inspire me, day after day. Hope this fan’s energy comes back to you. It may be a grind, but it’s a happy grind.
#22 by saralitchfield on August 8, 2016 - 11:05 am
Investing was one of the biggest steps for me… and entirely empowering… I’m still working on the Nos!
#23 by Penny Hansen on August 8, 2016 - 11:09 am
I’ve followed your blogs for a while. There hard-hitting, inspiring, and encouraging. I’ve learned a great deal from them. I dropped out of school had a family, and always wondered what will I do when I grow up. I’m now in my sixties and loving the adventure. I’ve journaled for a number of years and enjoy writing. One of your previous blogs challenged me and I finally started putting together a website. I felt so empowered, it has been a huge obstacle. Fear has been at every turn, the what if in my face. This whole journey has been a life changer for me. I had a story in my head for a while, finally it started coming together and in spite of many interruptions I published it. What a sense of accomplishment to hold that first book in my hand. It’s not perfect but I learned so much in the process and I’m still learning and a big thing for me is to do it afraid. Thank You, keep um coming I could not have done it with out You.
#24 by sandylrowland on August 8, 2016 - 11:31 am
Have to share! Just perfect for me today.
#25 by cleemckenzie on August 8, 2016 - 11:32 am
This really struck me:”Greatness is the cumulation of a lot of hidden moments that have no glory.” Thanks for starting off the week with an interesting and inspiring post.
#26 by Terri Benson on August 8, 2016 - 11:55 am
I sent your last post on getting away from the people and things that drag you down to my beta reader, and she thought I was saying it was too harsh! What I was trying to do was show her why I’d gotten out of a critique group that wasn’t moving themselves, or me, forward. I’ve been trying to explain to her and others in my life that my “emotional bank” keeps getting overdrawn with everyone else’s drama, and I need to put more “happy” back in the bank so I can withdraw it when I need it. Your blogs have made me feel much less selfish, and much more “self-ish” which I see as two different things. As a writer, I need time for me, time to work on what I want. I don’t need to volunteer on another board (just resigned from 1), I don’t need to babysit my grandkids every weekend, I don’t need to host all my family for the weekend just because one of them wants to visit and “see everyone else” and I don’t need to fix a dinner for a bunch of friends with no notice because my husband invited them. Thanks for reminding me that it’s OK to feel this way, so I can get on with my writing and get ready for my pitches and critique roundtables at Colorado Gold next month.
#27 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 8, 2016 - 12:31 pm
YES. GO YOU!
#28 by Jeannie Hall on August 8, 2016 - 12:04 pm
Reblogged this on Jeannie Hall Suspense and commented:
Hang in there, writers!
#29 by Mo on August 8, 2016 - 12:38 pm
Love love love the GRIND technique and your no-nonsense writing! Reblogging on “Mugglestones and Mayhem.” Great work! Thank you!
#30 by mandibelle16 on August 8, 2016 - 12:51 pm
I found this piece so inspirational and helpful. I’ve been working extremely hard for the last 6 months trying to ge poetry and fiction published by different websites and magazines and it took a while but finally in June I had my first piece published and continue to have pastry published. Fiction is harder, I’m still working on it and try to see each rejection email as a chance to improve and do better, as a challenge. Having written q first draft of my novel,I am also trying to do better in the second draft. I’ve rearranged chapters to make the plot move forward and I’m also aiming for more conflict btw my main character and her love interest. The protagonist I’m glad, is indeed evil. I’m learning as I go. Each helpful post, each book, each seminar, each class, it helps and I’m sent back thinking and redeveloping. Thanks again for the inspiring post!
#31 by Jan Flynn on August 8, 2016 - 1:33 pm
Wise, inspiring, spine-stiffening, @$$-kicking words. Thanks.
#32 by D.B. Kennison on August 8, 2016 - 1:38 pm
Kristen, you rock! This post could not have been better timed as I struggle through a re-write. I’m about half way and hit a wall today. I was feeling beaten down and just this side of throwing in the towel. Instead, I grabbed this life preserver of a blog post. Thanks for the push!
#33 by Taara Donley on August 8, 2016 - 1:45 pm
Another fantastic blog post. I always loved the Rocky Balboa line. And you have written too many inspirational words for me to list here. All I can say is that I needed to read this, so thank you.
#34 by Jade M. Phillips on August 8, 2016 - 3:33 pm
Reblogged this on JADE M PHILLIPS and commented:
Another inspiring post by Kristen Lamb, author and self-publishing genius. Check it out. Now. Do it.
#35 by Nan Hanway on August 8, 2016 - 3:37 pm
Love the picture of you about to flip that enormous dude. As inspiring as this post!
#36 by Marla Martenson on August 8, 2016 - 4:08 pm
Rejection isn’t always bad. Rejection isn’t NO. It is “Not YET.” This is gold!!! Thanks. xx
#37 by jimcopeland on August 8, 2016 - 4:42 pm
Kristen, today I needed what you had to say. My own father was an accomplished person. However, the war was on and he felt it his duty to go help the boys from home. 1945 was when my mother and I got the message.
I have a plaque on my wall that is titled ‘Don’t Quit.’
Sometimes like today, I get overwhelmed with the thoughts that come marching through my mind. Today was no exception. There was the marching, there was the realizing, there was the computer. I finally chose the computer and found your blog.
I have been writing these two novels for as long as I can remember. At least from the time I retired. That was 12 years ago.
I have listened to every Tom, Dick, and Harry about what I should put on the paper in the first five pages. None of it worked. I had norrowed it down to one and one half pages. No body liked that.
Finally someone said, tell it like it happened…Huh. Now that is a strange thought.
I have now writen the story the way I see it happening and my first chapter is now 15 pages long instead of 1 1/2 pages. It sounds real too.
I guess what I am getting to is the fact that I need you to look at that first chapter and tell me if it really is the right thing to say. Let me know.
My e-mail address is email@example.com
James M. Copeland
#38 by michelekhoury on August 8, 2016 - 5:02 pm
Dear Kristin, I “discovered” you about nine months ago, and wished I’d “met” you sooner. I LOVE your blogs. All too often I’m guilty of whatever writing transgression/experience you’re sharing. I bought your book, Rise of the Machines…, and created an iCloud for myself. I intend to create one for each of the three main characters in my second novel. The following is about my publishing journey with my first book. Be forewarned: this story is a novella. (What can I say? I’m a writer. ***smile***) Anyway, thank you for sharing. Again, I’m grateful and appreciative of your knowledge and experiences. Warmest regards, Michele I. Khoury
After spending eight and a half years writing and rewriting, I began submitting my novel a year ago April. I received twenty-five agent rejections, of which many were complimentary but didn’t want to do another story about drugs. Just one agent read the manuscript while the others had reviewed the first chapter; plus I had two more rejections from publishing editors–each had read the book. One liked the story but not the writing, and the other liked the writing but not the story. BTW, Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, was rejected by twenty agents; Khaled Hosseini, who wrote The Kite Runner, was rejected by thirty agents; Stephen King was rejected by over forty agents until his wife picked the crumpled first chapter out of the trash, shook off the cigarette ashes and submitted it; and Michael Connolly’s first three books were never published. I’m not in the same category as these esteemed writers; I’m just saying being rejected is not uncommon. Demoralizing, yes.
I spoke with my writing professor and said, “Something’s wrong, and I don’t know what it is.” She suggested a software program that allows you to download your manuscript. The software “reads it”, like a book on tape. I did and was flabbergasted at the number of errors. (I’m a terrible editor because I intuitively correct what’s wrong.) I reviewed the manuscript three more times. Each time I thought: How could I have missed this? I scrutinized sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, action verbs, scene settings, sensory, similes, metaphors, dialogue, point of view, the characters—their opening emotions, scene goals, closing emotions, visceral reactions, their arcs, their voice, the story, plot, including conflict and tension, tone, pacing, and anything that is repetitive needed to be removed or changed. If the writer does a good job, this stuff is transparent, and all the reader wants to know is: What happens next?
A friend referred me to a literary agent, Kristin Lindstrom. I called her and shared my disappointment and discouragement. She said, “You’re not alone.” She explained that the book publishing industry took three hits: one in 2007 at the beginning of the Great Recession when people stopped buying books, again in 2008 with another significant decline in sales, and a major blow in 2009 when Apple released the iPad, followed by the Kindle and the Nook. Kristin shared that in 2012 the book publishing editors, that she’d been selling to for two decades, told her not to submit any first time authors unless their novel would be an international blockbuster. On top of that, her current authors, who’d written their second, third or fourth books, were also being rejected. After a year of not being able to sell a manuscript, she stopped being an agent and opened an editing and marketing service business for authors and small businesses. Deciding to self-publish, I needed a final copy edit and hired her.
Are first time authors being published? Yes. Traditional publishing companies look for an author that has a “platform”—i.e., a social media following (could be a blog, Twitter or FB); a specific targeted community; or if the author has ties to the publishing industry, i.e., a journalism background; or if they’re known regular contributors to weekly or monthly publications. I don’t have any of these.
While my book was being edited, I researched self-publishing companies and services. I filled out forms on the Internet and reviewed companies that fellow authors had recommended. I researched Amazon, CreateSpace, Outskirts Press, iUniverse, BookBaby, Darien Press, xLibris, plus a couple others, and got a proposal from Kristin for her services. Then I received a barrage of marketing e-mails and direct mail, phone calls, etc., with each company attempting to sell me on why I should use their organization. One publisher stood out: Page Publishing. Their approach and marketing literature was most impressive as was the array of services they provide. Plus, their business model, which is geared toward the author’s financial success, is a paradigm shift. This approach probably explains why they receive 8,000 submissions per month (Yes, 8,000!). Unlike other pay-to-publish companies, Page only accepts one hundred new titles per month. I told my husband about them and he said, “Why put yourself through this again? Just self-publish.” I continued researching.
A week later I received a phone call from a Page Publishing Literary Development Agent. He explained their process: they have a team of five people who review the manuscripts and three out of the five need to approve the book in order for Page to publish it. The process takes two weeks. Based on all the rejections I’d received, I had little hope of three people approving my novel, so during the interview, I played devil’s advocate. I explained that I’d been rejected (all their authors had been rejected); that my book is commercial suspense and I didn’t see any commercial suspense books on their website (it’s a niche market with a lot of potential); my book is controversial (that’s a good thing); I didn’t have a writing background but had taken a year-long writing class then attended a weekly mentoring group for six years (many successful authors didn’t have writing backgrounds). At the end of our conversation, he encouraged me to submit. I said I’d think about it.
Kristin, the ex-agent copy editor, had thought it would take her a month to edit. Within ten days, she’d completed the project. She said, “You did a good job. The manuscript is clean, smooth, and easy to read. I made very few corrections.” After all the rejections, her feedback was nice to hear.
Thinking that I had nothing to lose, I decided to take a chance and submitted my manuscript to Page Publishing. Within a few days, the literary development agent called. “Congratulations. We want to publish your book.” Really? “We think it will be very successful and we’re very excited.” Huh? They’re excited? “I’m e-mailing the contract. Review it and if you have any questions, call or e-mail me.” Okay. “By the way, I don’t usually have time to read the books, but I really enjoyed yours. You did a great job.” Is this for real?
My husband and I reviewed the contracts and we were impressed with their simplicity and straightforward approach. I’d received several self-publishing contracts, and the one from iUniverse was twenty pages long with tiny print. Page Publishing’s was five pages with big print. I had a few questions, got clarification and signed the contract in early June.
I’ve always believed “Everything happens for a reason.” Now I look back at my anguish over the past year and my experiences make sense. The business model that Page offers is a paradigm shift from the traditional publishing companies as well as other pay-to-publish companies. I own the rights (as opposed to some traditional publishing companies), I can terminate the relationship in two years (if I choose); after the cost of printing many traditional and self-publishing companies only give twenty percent royalties to the author. If there’s an agent then they may receive between ten to twenty percent of the author’s twenty percent. For example, if a book sells for $15, let’s say the cost of printing and distribution is $5, then the author’s royalty would be 20% of ten dollars or two dollars minus the agent’s ten to twenty percent, so the author receives a grand total of $1.60 or $1.80 per book sold. Using Page’s model, after subtracting the cost of printing and distribution, Page takes twenty cents (yes $.20) and I would receive the remainder. (This is hypothetical; I don’t know how my book will be priced, or the cost of printing and distribution.) Also in traditional publishing it takes two years to get the book published; with Page, my book will be available in six to eight months. Page does charge a (minimal) fee, which I’m eligible to earn back. (Again, this is unique.) Page Publishing (located in NYC), owns a radio station and they’ll be interviewing me. (Their audience is 4 million listeners.) Can’t wait. I’m very lucky to have found and been accepted by Page.
Having positive industry feedback and encouragement has been surreal. I’ll be thinking about something, and then I’ll remember, “Busted is getting published.” Big sigh.
#39 by Henrietta Handy on August 8, 2016 - 5:04 pm
I NEEDED these words today. Felt on the edge of…you name it. Thanks for posting this TODAY. I’m reblogging this. Again. Thanks.
#40 by Amina Berg on August 8, 2016 - 5:44 pm
This blog post couldn’t have at a better time! Thank you, Kristen. I needed this!
Loved reading every word! Truly inspiring!
#41 by Sarah Rosinski on August 8, 2016 - 6:12 pm
Jiu Jitsu? Girl, you got my attention!
#42 by carolynmcb on August 8, 2016 - 6:59 pm
Today was a perfect day for your post. I wish I could print it out and wallpaper my writing corner with your words. I know what my biggest enemy is…myself. Procrastination, listening to self-doubt and not believing in myself enough. So thank you for your encouragement, Kristen. It was just what I needed. Now time to get back to the outline.
#43 by Debbie Johansson on August 8, 2016 - 7:24 pm
There’s sickness in my household at the moment and I really needed this timely, inspirational post. Thanks for the motivation Kristen!
#44 by Elizabeth Rose on August 8, 2016 - 7:29 pm
I sat down and read this post after getting home from a walk with DH and our girls. Those 10,000 steps don’t get themselves . . .
On the walk, DH and I were discussing whether I should reach for the next level in my day job and take a serious chance with it. I have found the proverbial glass ceiling and have some hard choices to make. Stick with the comfortable or shoot for more even though we have little ones.
We were also talking about whether or not I should tuck my writing away and wait for the girls to be older. I finished a book and all of its revisions at the end of 2015 and haven’t been able to generate any interest in it. Perhaps I don’t have the skills to write it, or maybe I don’t have the skills to generate interest. Not sure, but life is too short to bang your head against the wall.
#45 by Sam Fahmy on August 8, 2016 - 7:36 pm
#46 by juliann whicker on August 8, 2016 - 7:48 pm
Why not? Lovely post! I hope that you can feel the awesome energy you put out into the world. I don’t feel like my energy is bold and my blog is fairly unconventional for writing blogs, but it’s the way I love it.
#47 by Robyn Poppick on August 9, 2016 - 7:53 am
This post couldn’t have been more timely. It was the kick in the ass I needed as I struggle with prioritizing long and short term goals. Thank you! It’s time for this Muggle to stop procrastinating her joy.
#48 by R.C. Thompson on August 9, 2016 - 7:55 am
What is success anyway? If it’s gauged on monetary rewards it’s hollow and cheap. Great writers are passed over and hacks get well paid all the time. I made a fortune and lost it in my previous profession but I succeeded anyway only because I mastered my crafts–mastery not money is the true measure of success. Working your life away for status and money wastes life, chasing the golden ring leaves you with nothing but bragging rights and the compulsive need to fight to keep the money coming. What good is that? Is living on a treadmill worth it? That’s the real question. If you want to succeed write well come what may. Having had it-all and lost it-all several times I can say with confidence the “all” wasn’t worth the effort but being an expert has many internal rewards money doesn’t infulance.
#49 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 9, 2016 - 8:06 am
But I think this goes to why we set goals. Not every person’s idea of success is the same. And there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to write full-time. If that is the goal and then once we are there we are miserable? Quit. That was the reason for the other post about quitting. We need to learn to let go of whatever it is that is failing to bear the fruit we want.
#50 by Don Massenzio on August 9, 2016 - 8:05 pm
Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog.
#51 by R. M. Donaldson on August 9, 2016 - 9:33 pm
Great blog post! I think people don’t realize these things. They’d be much happier knowing this!
#52 by conniecockrell on August 10, 2016 - 8:03 am
Don’t know what your current challenge is that caused you to write this blog but hugs and You Can Do It!
#53 by K. L. Hallam on August 10, 2016 - 5:30 pm
Another heartwarming and riveting post of truth. Thanks for this. 🙂
#54 by Jesse on August 10, 2016 - 6:45 pm
reading this sort of thing does help me to re-energize a bit. Thanks!
#55 by Kate Pavelle on August 10, 2016 - 9:20 pm
Great pep talk, thank you! The Wanatribe has been an awesome productivity tool for me. I don’t always show up, but even when I just peek in or write later in the day, I can check the conversation feed and know that writing is happening somewhere in the world, and that I’m not alone, and that tomorrow I can check in and say hi. My goal is to publish 8-10 works by the end of the year. I think I’ll make 9 but I’m losing track. Also, I got to where I don’t count short stories, just novellas and novels. Thank you for being a positive force! And, thank you for putting BJJ on my radar screen. I’m an old aikido/karate war horse, and trying a BJJ seminar with Hillary Witt has been rejuvenating. I came home tired and happy and covered in the sweat of strangers 🙂
#56 by andfreed on August 10, 2016 - 10:20 pm
I feel like you could be talking about me in a lot of this post. You are an inspiration!
#57 by Ch'kara on August 10, 2016 - 10:20 pm
I have nominated your blog for an award
#58 by atinylife140 on August 11, 2016 - 1:10 am
Hi Kristen, I mailed you about shredding my synopsis but I wonder if you got it? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry to be a (continued) pest. SHB
#59 by Sharon Bonin-Pratt on August 12, 2016 - 11:54 am
I think this can be diluted to work hard then harder and don’t give up. Inspirational post with practical advice. Thank you.
#60 by williamstraw2015 on August 12, 2016 - 3:38 pm
#61 by 49lilykatz on August 15, 2016 - 10:01 am
Reblogged this on lilykatzblog and commented:
Great advice from Kristen Lamb about how to keep moving forward in the face of life’s opposition.
#62 by BrookeBJJ on January 11, 2017 - 7:05 pm
#63 by TheChattyIntrovert on January 22, 2017 - 7:30 pm
I so needed to read this today. Can’t wait to read more. We gotta do all we can and have to work for it.