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The Agent: I No Longer Know the Meaning of No
Contributor
Written by
The Agent
April 2010
Contributor
Written by
The Agent
April 2010
Erin Hosier is very, very confident. For two weeks now I have been practicing "The Secret," aka The Law of Attraction. After several years of being beaten down by publishers with a constant barrage of rejections and undependable, exceedingly disappointing excuses, I have decided to respond to the pain in a different way than that to which I'd become accustomed—crying, hitting pillows with a whiffle ball bat in therapy, and revenge blogging—and instead flat out prevent those negative responses in the first place by concentrating on my gratitude for all I've been given. It's no wonder I'd allow myself to get so down—I was just as guilty of putting that negativity into the world. What did I expect from an editor so bogged down with reading manuscripts when I was asking her to get excited about my short story collection and to read it over the weekend? She was tired because I was tired. It was time to turn that frown upside down, eat a ton of sodium-enriched snacks and write myself a check for a cool mill even as I was envisioning spending it at Target.To do this, I set my sights on the most commercial, life-affirming non-fiction book project this literary representative has ever known. And sold the crap out of it this Wednesday at auction. (Okay, see how I projected my own success there?) There is simply nothing I won't do to sell these books. Here's what I've been doing differently: 1. Expecting that the proposal is not just the outline for a very good book, but in fact a book that will change the world. This is the first one they'll mention in my obit. 2. I'm not even reading the emailed rejections! Sure I skim them in hopes of cribbing fresh one-liners, but mostly I'm just pitying your loss and basking in the glory of having such a hot project. If one of the Scouts calls, please tell them I can't possibly comment until after the auction. 3. Where there is Hosier, there is Awesome Project going to Auction amid a smell of money so intense I think that I shall faint. Lots of $$$,$$$$ that will serve to change the world! If all this talk of auctions and the power to manipulate book sales with mind control intrigues you, you simply must check out my webinar with editor Amanda Moon called Inside Publishing on May 7. In this candid conversation, Amanda and I will break down what happens when an Agent sends the Editor a book proposal, and all the Editor must go though in order to buy it, competitively with other editors, or within her own company. It's for anyone who has ever wondered what really goes on behind the closed doors of an editorial meeting, where dreams are either crushed or come through with bonuses to spare, like mine. SWers, do you guys light candles? Make lists? Practice Kabbalah? How do you ward off the negativity?

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Comments
  • Laurie Jo

    Great points given. I believe it is all in the positive energy. Already believe that it has happened. Even "write" that it has been done.

  • I love this post. You can't let rejection stop you! Great advice.

  • Erin Reel

    Love it! I remember the days well.

  • Erin Hosier

    Thank you Jenne R. Andrews (I love the sweet image of you saving "mucky orphan lambs.") And thank you Miranda and Eileen - both great approaches.

  • Miranda C. Spencer

    Wow, wanna be MY agent? :-)

    I don't really stave off negativity, but blow beyond it when I REEEEELY believe in project of mine. When the fear of putting myself out there is alot less than the fear of it never getting out there!

  • Eileen Granfors

    Dog love and a walk put things into perspective. I've decided I'm writing for ME and we'll see who wants to join the journey someday. But I admit, my personal finances are not directly involved at this point --34 years of teaching high school seniors (beginning with a 7 a.m. class, poor dear kids) -- my retirement is well earned, believe me.

  • The Agent

    I know a law student who is suing the author of The Secret as her senior project or whatever. That's fine with me.

  • Alexandra Pell

    One of the women I most admire[d] tried to read The Secret and stopped when it said to just take a deep breath. She had cystic fibrosis, and her miseries would not have existed if she had been capable of following that simple instruction.

    ...That's my way of saying that The Secret is nice and makes us feel good and that's great 'n all, but it's really down to working hard and being willing to fail -- not pretending that failure won't come your way.

  • Oh honey, I really owe you big time. I still remember when we were high-fiving in the bathroom at Simon and Schuster and then REJECTION after all that. What a long road. (Erin represented, and sold, my one and only book, "I Do But I Don't.") But you got it done and how. Now it's on to building a whole new model for this biz that will lift the boat with both of us in it -- here's to She Writes!!

  • Laura Brennan

    I know, what a book! He has a new thing called Mosaic to help people assess, online and anonymously, if a relationship is dangerous - workplace or personal. I don't know if you want links, and it is kinda off-topic, so I'll just say anyone who feels uncomfortable or unsafe, search "Mosaic de Becker" and you'll find the link.

    PS: Erin, can I say how much I love your #3, above? I love that you managed to put in not just excellence, but REWARDED excellence. You even tie in the reward to the greater good of all things! Oh my. Must figure out a way to do that for me.

  • Erin Hosier

    Great comment, Laura. Love "The Gift of Fear" - I think about that book all the time.

  • Laura Brennan

    There's a fantastic book about -- oddly enough -- preventing assassinations. It's for professionals, by the brilliant Gavin de Becker, but the cornerstone is that if you're not present, you can't protect. And most of the time, we're not present -- we're thinking about what was or what might have been or what could be. Whenever I get bogged down, I just focus on being completely present in the moment and looking for what I can do this instant, what actions I can take right now, to create a better outcome. Taking constructive action, no matter how tiny, always makes me feel better.

    And if you haven't read his book on surviving violence (primarily violence against women), "The Gift of Fear," you must. Talk about a book that can change the world!

  • Rebecca Rasmussen

    Oh, God, I can't imagine what my agent went through to sell my novel. At one point, before we got our two offers, and she was bogged down by the other rejections, she said, "Well, at least they are excited about your writing and want us to pitch your next novel." She was on the verge of believing it wouldn't be published, which made the offers, when they came a month after she submitted the project, all the sweeter.

  • Cathy Day

    A kind of self-hypnosis, much like what you describe here. Once you get to a certain point with a book project, the advanced stage, it's about ignoring naysayers and convincing yourself that you are rock star. How? I have a folder in my email inbox called "Good Words," and I keep and occassionally re-read messages in which people tell me they like my work. I have also found--strangely enough--that watching American Idol helps. Watching young people respond to rejection and criticism on national television makes me think, "Hey, my life is easy compared to that."

  • You got it: gratitude. Since you asked, every morning I do a short ritual where I give thanks via the four directions:
    * The East/spring: thankfully, the f-ing sun rose. Again.
    * The South/summer: even though I am now officially Old, thanks for the child that still lives inside me. Please bless me with her blast of energy that lets me take it all on. Again.
    * The West/fall: thanks for the self-knowledge and love that makes it all seem worth it. Again.
    * The North/winter: I think of my ancestors and those who have passed, and those who may be facing death. This reminds me everyday that I am still alive! Again!

    This little ritual transfers the focus from the Little Picture to the Big Picture: what really matters. After that, I can take on the world.