Let me just lay this down here:
I sold my first book.
And then I didn’t.
I didn’t, actually, get “The Call” telling me that there was an offer on the table. It never got that far. What I did hear was that an editor was hashing out details of the offer with their manager. It was only a matter of waiting.
Then the parent company decided it was time to downsize. The publisher had authors with a track record. I was (and still am) a debut author.
And then I didn’t…
As this website is all about the journey, it is worth mentioning that there will be potholes.
Of course you know there are potholes. Objectively, you know that there are so many things that could derail a project. Most of them are outside of your control. Yeah, you know this stuff exists but it won’t happen to you.
Until it does.
What follows is how I dealt with getting so close, only to have the wheels fall off.
First, you *cannot* take it personally. Like the above-mentioned pothole, there is no malice involved. A pothole simply is. Publishing is a business. It’s an odd business, to be sure, but it’s a business. Naturally, that doesn’t take the sting out of it, but it will help to get you going again, which is the point.
Second, take what time you need to regain your balance. Talk to folk. Get your feet back underneath you, stand back up, and dust yourself off. Realistically speaking, this is not the first time you’ve encountered a setback, and it won’t be the last. Learn what you can from the experience and, if possible, apply it when you go back to work.
Third, get back to work (Notice a trend yet?). Yeah, I know that sounds draconian, but I’m going to refer you to my second point. When you’re ready, get back to work. Maybe the next thing will hit, maybe it won’t, but the thing to take away from this is to keep going. With every project, you’re going to improve.
Fourth, remember that all it takes is getting up one more time than you get knocked down. Sometimes you’ll need a hand – that’s also what this website is about – sometimes you won’t. Every fall is different. The one thing they have in common is the question after the dust settles:
Can I get back up?
You can. Believe it, and you will.