Monday, October 22, 2007

Stacey Glick on why, "Sometimes it Pays to Not Give Up."

Several years ago, I received material from a mother and daughter who wanted to write a joint memoir about their harrowing experiences involving the daughter’s dramatic emotional breakdown and subsequent recovery at a boot camp-style school in Montana. The mom was a screenwriter; the daughter then a college student at a top university. Their proposal was one of the best I’d ever read. Well-written, commercial, unputdownable. I couldn’t wait to get it out to publishers.

With high hopes, I did a wide submission and received a tremendously positive response from editors whose opinions I valued. They, too, felt it was among the best proposals they’d seen. And yet, no offers came in. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. I was getting a ton of positive feedback. Editors told me over and over how much they loved the project…and how they couldn’t buy it. There were a variety of reasons cited, including lackluster sales on competitive titles and no guarantee of publicity. Publishers are looking for bestsellers, and this wasn’t a guaranteed big seller, despite the quality of the material.

But I refused to give up. I worried that if I couldn’t sell this book, I might not be able to sell anything. I just believed so strongly in the project and that it deserved to be published. So the submissions continued. Fifty-four of them, to be exact. I started to think about throwing in the towel because I just couldn’t come up with anywhere else to go. Then I met the daughter in person for the first time when she was visiting New York. It turned out she was going to be in the city that summer and wanted an internship at our agency. How could I have her working here after all she’d been through when I couldn’t sell her book? She was lovely and it broke my heart.

Then it happened – just a few days after I met this charming young woman, an offer came in. That offer was suddenly followed by two more, all that time after we started the process. Before much longer, we had sold the book to ReganBooks, a then-prominent and commercial division of HarperCollins. Meanwhile, the daughter did work with us that summer, and became one of our favorite interns. She was (and is) smart, articulate, mature, and a very hard worker, and we were all sad to see her go at the end of the summer.

When the book, COME BACK by Claire and Mia Fontaine (you can visit their website at claireandmia.com to learn more about it), was published in hardcover in April 2006, sales were modest, though the authors worked tirelessly to spread the word. Then, the publisher scheduled the paperback release for February, 2007, and we soon learned that the book had been chosen by Target’s book club and that they were taking 40,000 copies. It’s since gone back to press several times, and the book has now sold over 100,000 copies! Claire and Mia and their publisher are working hard to continue promoting the book. We’re hopeful that the Target sales will help get it into other outlets and word of mouth will continue to work its magic to get it into the hands of parents and teens everywhere who will benefit not only from a good read, but from the positive messages the narrative has to offer.

I reflect on this when I get frustrated that a great project isn’t working -- which unfortunately happens more and more in this market -- and it gives me hope. Sometimes, it pays for a publisher to take a chance and for an author and her agent to never, ever give up.

Endnote: One person integral to Mia’s recovery, Mike Linderman, has his own book just out (referred to me by the Fontaines, of course, for which I am grateful) this fall entitled THE TEEN WHISPERER, intended to help parents and teens in need. The authors are very much looking forward to cross-promoting and spreading the word about both titles. Oprah, here they come!

35 comments:

  1. Today is one of my writing days, and as usual before I get started I feel kinda cruddy. How can I possible work on a novel, i.e., hang around the "hotel swimming pool" of my own imagination all day, after that quadruple murder in Detroit, two of the victims aged 9 and 6, and all parties involved black; and then having attended a child's 6th birthday party on Sunday, where every child except one had blond hair? Twelve little girls shooting baskets and running races, counting to 15 in English and Spanish, Barbie ice cream cake, a sofa full of presents. We had a blast! But now the little-girl-birthday-party hangover ... dreadful Monday...

    Stacey Glick's words were just what I needed to hear. 54 submissions! Tireless promotion on the part of a mother-daughter duo! Effort, persistence, success! And healing. Definitely an inspiration. One of my favorite quotes is from Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago. An old friend of his, a radical 60s-style activist, had berated Washington for some deal he made with the opposition. Washington reportedly replied: "Politics is a mean, dirty game. If you don't want to play, then get the f____ out."

    Although the publishing "game" doesn't rise to the level of politics (I pray), I imagine it might start to feel like it...by about the 54th submission - or 7th revision - or 21st agent rejection. So at each point you have to decide, do I want to keep playing? Even if it's not feeling so good right now (and might not ever feel really REALLY good, ever) - do I keep my hand in? Do I pick up the pen, buy the stamps, send the email?

    After I got off the Internet, I took my cats to a meadowy-wooded area full of catnip (and in the process of being turned into condos, natch). I was standing near a tree, watching the leaves drift down, when one of the "leaves" fluttered higher and flew off - a monarch butterfly! I'd never seen a butterfly separate itself out from falling leaves like that before. I thought of that old battle taunt, "Are we boys, or are we men?" And all the warriors start pumping their weapons in the air, yelling "Men!"

    Wouldn't it be great if there never were any such things as battle taunts, and instead what was passed down to us through history were creativity taunts: "Are we falling leaves, or monarch butterflies?" And everyone pumps their pen or brush (or now laptop or cellphone) in the air, yelling, "Monarch butterflies!"

    The day (my late writer's day) begins. Thanks again for the inspiring post.

    Wanda B. Ontheshelves

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are indeed a dream agent.

    Sounds like a great article for Poets & Writers or The Writer -- more PR, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for the terrific post- while it is about not giving up at the editor submission level, it is a good reminder for writers not to give up on a valid project too soon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for an inspiring post - and congratulations to all of you for not giving up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a wonderful post and inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great story. And now I want to read the book, so what a great post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hooray - a Stacey post! This is a fantasic story about a book that truly sounds deserving of the success it continues to accrue. I love the cover for Come Back as well. It caught my eye right away from the shelf.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well done - what more can I say.

    It's nice to know that perseverance can pay off.

    Avery nice post.

    My compliments

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's nice to know that while we as writers continue to submit after hearing a "not right for me," on the other side of the desk, agents are doing the same thing. Glad it paid off for you and your client.

    ReplyDelete
  10. How unpredictable the publishing biz is these days! But thanks for giving us a bit of inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Never give up. I cling to those words. Wonderful story. It's great to hear how an agent works so hard for a project they believe in.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, that's a great story! Very inspirational.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What an amazing story, on so many levels. That's wonderful! And I agree it's tremendously inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just read this post tonight, when I was feeling very low from a rejection. Thanks. And wanda b.--a special thanks to you. I love the image. I too, wanta be a monarch, and I didn't even know it. I'm going to make a banner of this for above my desk.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love Three O'Clock High.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Usually nice stories takes some time to reach readers, but many people like books based on real stories because they believe that they will feel motivate in some way and sometimes it does and sometimes it's not enough.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you so much for this post. My agent believes in my story and has submitted to various editors, some of which have come back with similar news from their aquisitions meetings. Not quite stand out enough, too many on their lists etc. Soul destroying for the author. I used Come Back as one of my comparatives and thought the entire book was amazing, informative, well written and compelling. To read this article saying it was rejected by so many before finding success gives me renewed hope.
    My agent is one of the best too so I am sure he is not pertubed by the current rejection.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Our best original essay writing service are focused on making your life in school smooth and enjoyable in comparison to what you might be going through at the moment. Seek services of cheap term papers today!

    ReplyDelete
  19. A Network Cable Technician’s job entails building the infrastructure of all telecom networks, such as Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), and Cable TV (CATV). As the functions are very technical, applicants for this job must have expertise in designing and installing networks to meet the clients’ requirements and comply with the designated industry standards. Known also as Networking Cable Installers, they must install, troubleshoot, and maintain video and data cables and copper and fiber cabling infrastructure as per the standards of the organizations where they work.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Nice Post
    I work as a marketing specialist and staff author at Externetworks which is a pioneer in Managed Technology Services with over 17+ years of experience in providing end-to-end solutions featuring design, deployment and 24*7 support to top IT companies. We offer world-class managed services for businesses to stay agile & profitable. Our services include 24/7 Network Monitoring, Uptime maintenance, NOC Support, IT Helpdesk services.
    To know about it help desk problems and solutions

    ReplyDelete
  21. An elegantly composed letter from a legal advisor will give them that your paying attention to this and ought to ideally get them to hack up the cash. Likewise if what your platitude is right you shouldn't stress yet in the event that I were in your position, ecommerce web design dubai I would at any rate counsel a lawyer.Also I believe it's incredible that you've kept all the administrative work and you should keep on doing this until the issue is setled.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I will genuine, affordable web service go to your child and your friends and family. it moderately is miserable that it takes an infirmity (or natural disaster, psychological oppressor assault) to hold individuals simultaneously. we could persistently be holding back to attempt this for the time of dependable circumstances as well, yet I expect we take issues with no consideration. I really have a ten 3 hundred and sixty 5 days past child as well and that I will absolutely think about the fear and irritation all of you have right at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  23. To be honest I found very helpful information your blog thanks for providing us such blog PlayerzPot Review

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Nice Post,
    "Amolatina.com website came into existence in 1993. The main objective behind establishing this dating site is to help singles around the world to find a dream girl or boy for dating online. If you are"
    To know more about latinfeels

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Nice Post,
    How do you understand if you can trust an online casino USA? Sometimes you are in a dilemma whether to subscribe or not because you never did, and you don’t know if you can trust the online casino’s sites. A quick study on the internet can provide you all the information you want very quickly. Not … Continue reading "Guide For Best Online Casinos list No Deposit Bonus"
    To know more about no deposit bonus

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lahore Smart City is going to be the best choice for commercial, investment and residential point of view. The scheme will have everything to attract national and international investors. In return, investors will get high revenue. On the other hand, the housing society is equipped with state of the art facilities. The facilities are just dream of come true for the people of Lahore. Peace, safety and eco-friendly behaviors. Future Development Holding hires and corporate’s with world-class developers, architectures and planners. This Smart City Lahore will have golf clubs and fields designed by experienced and world-recognized designers.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too.
    Best UI/UX Design Services in Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  28. In case you are an overseas Pakistanis, then the booking requirements remain the same. However, instead of your ID card, you will need to provide NICOP. All other procedures remain the same.

    also view

    Blue world city Islamabad payment plan.

    park view lahore payment plan
    Rudn Enclave payment plan

    ReplyDelete
  29. really infomative and eduvcative article thanks publisher for sharing this info with us character voice generator
    whatsaup flippzilla

    ReplyDelete
  30. I really thank you for that great post and Please add a more new post. Do well...! For more information visit this site: download datemyage dating app

    ReplyDelete