Being an acquisitions editor is pretty darn cool… being an acquisitions editor at Llewellyn is even better! I thought I could say that after week one, but held my tongue so I’d have a little more credibility and hopfully wouldn’t sound false about it. For anyone interested in an insider’s peek, here’s a little nugget:
Beyond the stellar company (business and people) it’s the writers that keep this place ticking. I am constantly made aware of new interests that unknowingly¬†live on the outer¬†bourndaries of my already existing passions.¬†As the typical Llewellyn-type audience,¬†I crave growth and have entered into a free-fall¬†of knowledge. Some days are crazy juggling acts¬†of managing meetings, taking phone calls, keeping up with email messaging,¬†writing up¬†contacts, reading submissions, and working through manuscripts. It can be a whirlwind, but what holds it all together for me is the immersion into stories of hope,¬†empowerment, and¬†new discovery and the people who¬†stand behind those stories in order to inspire others.¬†Being able to act as a support through their process to publication is, like I said, pretty darn cool.
As a writer and artist who’s seen the bumpy road to acceptance, I can also understand and appreciate the flip side of this acquisitions¬†role. Through the creative process you, as the writer, have¬†pushed aside fear to expose a bit of your heart and soul for judgement and possibly even rejection. I don’t care who you are, in my book that’s brave.
So after a year or four or more, you have heart and soul printed and bound in your hands. You send it out into the world and instead of rainbows, unicorns, and fireworks, you get a single paged letterhead announcing that your heart and soul just aren’t quite right. *Ouch* I know that feeling. I’ve been there. No matter how nice, encouraging, or even helpful¬†this notice may attempt to be, at its core¬†it’s a rejection and that’s sometimes all that you can see. Your dream¬†becoms a distant blur and¬†your road ends there.
But what if you had sent¬†your work¬†to me instead of that other publisher and I would have sent you rainbows and unicorns and fireworks? Or if I was the one who closed your door with that sad letterhead (sorry about that…), what if the publisher next door would have started dancing a jig over it? If you gave up at one, number two never had the chance. Case in point, Kathryn Stockett,¬†bestselling author of¬†The Help stood her ground through sixty rejections (full story here). Yes, I said SIXTY. Before reading her story I couldn’t have imagined me or anyone else persisting long enough to reach acceptance at magical sixty-one. Stockett shows that sometimes it’s all about finding the right fit and after considering the titles I am working with, I sure hope those authors would have persisted, too. It would be a shame for their work not to have made it into the hands that are ready and waiting for it.
In the end, from acquisition editor to writer, thank you for your courage! Through that sometimes up and down process, consider the advice that comes your way and don’t lose the heart and soul that started it all. If I happen to be¬†one of¬†your¬†stepping stones on the bumpy road to acceptance, hopefully hearing a story like Stockett’s will tide you over until someone finally dances that jig for you. Until then…