Monday, June 27, 2011

Agents Get Rejected Too

We all know that once an agent takes on a client, their next job is to convince and editor how awesome the book is. We also know that obviously every editor/publisher isn't going to say yes.

But I have now seen a form rejection to an agent from a publisher.

I have to say, it was weird. I suppose I should know better, this late into the game, but for some reason I assumed that because there are fewer agents out there sending stuff to publishers that they would get actual responses. I assumed editors would send back replies saying no thanks, maybe not in great detail, but done themselves nonetheless. I don't really know why I thought such a thing, but I did. It was really strange to see though. A printed form letter with the title of a book scribbled in by someone. And it sounded almost exactly like what most of us see from agents. The usual, "Sorry we can't repsond personally, but we get so many submissions it is impossible. Sorry this book doesn't work for us, and we hope you find success elsewhere. We know someone else will probably love it." That sort of thing.

So now I know. Agents get form rejected just like the rest of us. And it probably sucks. The book they've fallen in love with yet again put back down by another editor. So even though many of us fuss and lament about getting rejected (and I'm not saying we shouldn't because rejection sucks no matter who you are), it's good to be reminded once and a while that agents get rejected too and it probably bums them out just as much.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My First Guest Blogger!

Today you get a bit of a treat - a post from Debra Webb, published author and my very first guest blogger! And at the end of the post, you're in for an extra treat!

A little bit about Debra Webb:
Born in Alabama, she wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the military behind the Iron Curtain—and a five-year stint with NASA—that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has penned nearly 100 novels. Visit her at


Growing up I always heard folks say, “things change, people change.” As I grew older I realized this was very true. I saw firsthand how people changed with age and experience. People and things changed with the rise and fall of the economy and, most noticeably, with the welcome of or farewell to a loved one. Simply put, life changes people. When people change stuff around them changes.

Looking back on my life thus far I have to say that there were several defining moments that led to change and brought me to the place where I am today. Getting married. The birth of our first child and experiencing the reality of overwhelming physical challenges for her. Agonizing over all the decisions related to surgeries and treatment. Searching for hope and instead finding a single cold, hard fact. I still remember that particular day vividly. Standing in the cool, sterile exam room and having the specialist look me in the eye and say, “You’re looking for a miracle and you’re not going to find it.” My firstborn child was two years old. I was twenty. It was one of the hardest days of my life, but the doctor was right. I was looking for a miracle and I was not going to find it. That moment changed me in ways that I still cannot adequately articulate. But I knew I had to move forward and be thankful for what was. My daughter’s happiness depended a great deal on mine. So, that day, I began anew. I taught my little girl that she could be anything, could do anything that she wanted. Her journey might not be the same as other little girls, but she could make the trip. And she did.

She is a beautiful young woman now, with a loving husband. Years after my first child was born, my younger daughter came along, another life-altering moment. She is precious beyond words and has brought much joy to all of us, including her big sister. There were others moments, like the loss of my parents, far sooner than I was ready. The day I received “the” call and sold my first book. Then, last summer, the injury that changed my life forever by stealing most of the use of my right arm and hand. Yes, indeed, things change, people change.

Change is rarely easy, but it isn’t necessarily an enemy. Sometimes it brings joy and prosperity. Whatever it brings, it is the way in which you respond that determines the rest of your journey. Like most, I at first responded to this latest change with immense grief and deep depression. After all, I’m a writer, I need my right hand. I’m a mother; I wanted to help my youngest get ready for her upcoming wedding. I wanted to braid my granddaughter’s hair and teach my grandson how to properly bait a hook. Not that I have grandchildren yet, but I will. I am a wife; I wanted to do all the wonderful things my husband and I love to do together—like renovating old houses. When I was sure I just couldn’t get through those dark days, my family rallied around me and helped me to see that I could still do plenty. I won’t be able to style my daughter’s hair or zip her dress the day of her wedding, but I’ll be there watching over every step. Rather than braiding my granddaughter’s hair, I’ll be content to brush it. Rather than bait my grandson’s hook, I’ll be happy showing him how to hold the fishing pole. My husband and I have learned to enjoy other activities together. The hours of therapy every day have brought us closer. He carefully exercises my fingers and my hand three times per day to keep the muscles from wasting further and becoming like rock. He works tirelessly, giving the same attention and passion to that need as he would if he were making love to me. He is my hero!

Because I couldn’t work as I had before, couldn’t get out and network or promote, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my career. I took a long hard look at my mortality and considered what I really wanted to do versus what I could do after this major change. What I could do was take charge of my career in a wholly exciting and terrifying way. I started my own publishing company, Pink House Press (more on that in a moment), and I self-published a novel that had been living in my heart for several years. When I wrote the first Jackie Mercer novel the editors loved it but the marketing folks couldn’t figure out where she fit. This was before Desperate Housewives, Cougar Town, Body of Proof, etcetera, which feature women moving into their forties (some well past) and still being vital and SEXY. Yes, sexy and sexually active!

Jackie Mercer is 45, divorced, with a son in law school and she still loves her mini-skirts and high heels. Menopause is looming and she has stretch marks that seem to be widening rather than diminishing. She’s a real woman with real problems and I love her! Oh yes, and there’s Derrick Dawson—a sexy as sin, hotter than Alabama asphalt in August younger man! I love Jackie and her debut novel DIRTY and I hope you will too! I chose the name Pink House Press because I grew up in a pink house. My parents were farmers so we didn’t have much but my mother was a vibrant woman full of hopes and dreams. She painted that old farmhouse pink and taught me the same lesson I taught my daughters: you can be anything, do anything. When I was eleven I had been hand writing stories for years so my mother bought me an old manual typewriter. We really couldn’t afford it but she got it secondhand and thought it was worth the splurge. In honor of her and that old pink house I had to go with Pink House Press!

Yes, change is hard sometimes. But I decided not to lie down and give up. Instead, I kicked some butt and did it my way!


If you feel like reading a bit of sexy fun, Debra's also giving away a digital copy of DIRTY and a copy of her new Colby trilogy (Missing, Damaged, and Broken). Leave a comment and include an email address where I can reach you if you win as well as which you want - DIRTY or the Colby trilogy (or both!). Get an extra entry by letting me know if you Tweeted this post, chucked it onto Facebook, posted it on your blog, or otherwise let the world know about it! I'll announce the winners on the 21st, so stay tuned!