Therese here. First off–if you haven’t figured this out already–this is today’s second post. Today’s first post is a great piece by honorary contributor Suzannah Windsor Freeman on short story credits; check it out just below.
Recently we were honored to announce four new contributors. Today, I’m here to announce one more–Yuvi Zalkow. You’ve seen Yuvi here once before; he allowed us to re-post the first video in his Failed Writer series last month. I loved it, you loved it, he loved the experience, so we decided to make it official. I’m thrilled he’s agreed to become a regular monthly contributor at Writer Unboxed, sharing not only his new videos with us but also his thoughts on the weird and wild world of publishing. Welcome, Yuvi!
I’m a collector of rejections. I love rejections. I bathe in rejections. I mean, I don’t love them the moment I receive them, but I do believe that rejection is an important and valuable part of the process of being a writer. Almost something to celebrate as a writer.
I’m also obsessed with creating online presentations about writing. I’ve been particularly focused on making my “I’m a Failed Writer” series. After watching a few of my friends release book trailers along with their book releases, I started thinking about the book trailer format. Of course, you’d normally think that you need to PUBLISH A BOOK to make a book trailer, and I wasn’t there yet.
So I made a book trailer for my novel that I was struggling to sell. Instead of talking about the novel’s high points, it actually emphasizes the rejections I’ve received from literary agents. (WARNING: This one minute video has two occurrences of a neurotic Jew in his underwear.)
After doing this video, I read a post by Nina Badzin about being addicted to finding a literary agent and I realized that my trailer was more than just a fakey book trailer showing off my rejections. It was also the first step in my shift away from trying to find an agent for this book, which was something that I was obsessing about in an unhelpful way. So I created another “I’m a Failed Writer” episode, this time about the balance between the writing and the marketing of the writing. I tell my own story about re-balancing things to de-emphasize the marketing and focus again on the writing.
But there’s an odd twist to this story. After I completed this presentation — the SAME DAY that I completed this presentation — I got a call from an editor whom I spoke with two years prior. He was a originally at an independent publisher that was going through financial troubles and he had since switched to another publisher. He wanted to know if I had sold my book. And he made me an offer! I’m still in the process of assessing this offer and what this means; I wrote a little epilogue at the end of the video to account for this unexpected twist.
So that’s my crooked story — from rejection to book trailer to letting go of representation to suddenly being approached by a publisher while I stand on my desk in my underwear. Although I wish I had something more graceful to connect all the facets of this story, I think the essence to all of this is that it is valuable to focus as much as you can on the writing, to be a bit more playful about the whole process, and not to feel that you must control how all the wheels turn around you. (How’s that for bringing it all together?) I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to market yourself, but at least for me, I just think it was healthy to re-balance things in my own life.
I’d love to hear your stories about how you balance the writing and the marketing. And also how you deal with rejection — even if you don’t have the masochistic streak that I do…
Photo courtesy Flickr’s ButterflySha