One more “no” means you are that much closer to a “yes.”
You read that right.
Can you imagine? Most of us give up after two or three times!
My newest book proposal was recently turned down by a fairly well-known book agent.
He loved the idea and the proposal and said I had done some formidable work.
It used to be that if you were a good writer and had a great idea, you could send a manuscript to a publisher and potentially secure a book deal. Not anymore. In order to secure a book deal with a traditional publishing company in today’s market, you need to have an agent who pitches your proposal to different publishers.
So, why did he turn it down? Notice I said, “it” (referring to the proposal) not “me”? That’s an important distinction.
He said, “I really do think you need to build a much more robust presence on social media – grow your subscribers on YouTube, find more followers on Instagram, or increase the family dance routines on TikTok. (Kidding about the latter.) But that arena needs some work and will be the issue with every editor.”
After a few back-and-forth emails, he added, “I hated even writing that. There used to be a time when you could make a pitch and it was accepted solely on the content.”
Most agents and book publishers want you to have around 60,000 followers between email and social media. At the end of the day, they want to be sure you can sell books so they can get a return on their investment. The average published book sells only 250 copies in the first year.
Until recently, this has been the story of my life, “You got some good chops, kid, but it’s not enough” In the past, I took that to mean, “You’re not enough, Kent.”
But I’m no longer letting failure define me.
Was I disappointed? Absolutely! I gave myself twenty-four hours to mope and then I moved on.
But every setback is one step closer to finding the right path. And sometimes, obstacles are there to point you in the right direction.
Or as Douglas Adams’s character Dirk Gently puts it, “I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be.”
Maybe I will publish traditionally, maybe I’ll publish hybrid, or maybe I will self-publish again. I’m not sure. But here’s what I’m sure of. I’m going to keep writing, and keep publishing because I:
- Love to write and create, and that in and of itself is a reward
- I believe my work will truly help and add value to people
Thomas Edison didn’t let failure define him, and I hope you won’t either. If he did, I may not be sitting in this office, typing this email to you under the light of my grandmother’s desk lamp.
What failures or setbacks have you let knock you out of the game? How can you regroup and start again?
PS – I recently released a new product called, Win the Morning, Win the Day! It’s a mini-course created to help you design and craft your ideal morning routine. The current price will only be available for a limited time, so be sure to order it now.