Rocky didn’t win his first fight.
Megan Amram didn’t get her Emmys.
I am probably not going to snag a book deal. So, no Sonoran hotdog truck for me.
Wait what? Hot dog truck? Let me momsplain: It was a deal I made with myself but never said anything about to anyone. My own little bacon-wrapped secret. I thought if a real publisher took my book, I’d throw a party and hire a Sonoran hotdog truck to celebrate. It’s just something I’ve always wanted an excuse to do. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ll have to scheme up another reason to park a hot dog truck in front of my house.
The sad truth: Good guys don’t always win. Those who try hard don’t always succeed. Not everyone gets a hot dog truck, even if they deserve it.
Many, many, many writers (hey, JK Rowling!) were rejected multiple times in their publishing quests, so I’m trying not to take it personally, which isn’t easy when you get emails like this: “I found the prose a bit meandering and the stream-of-consciousness was distracting to my buying into the premise. It’s clearly just not my taste.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the literary agent who knifed those words into an email followed up with: “But thanks for thinking of me, and good luck!”
AND YET… I recently read excerpts from the worst sex writing that actually got published because there are bored people out there who look for and write about that kind of thing. What I read truly rocked me to my core, it was so, so bad. Beyond cringe-y. Horrible. None of it done in a hipster, ironic way either. The world is a pretty messed-up place, people.
I know — now — what the publishing world is like and it’s not so much a question of being a good writer as having the right book at the write (ha!) time and maybe having some solid connections. There have been many more people who’ve told me I’m entertaining than have said I suffer from meandering prose and that my mother was a hamster and my father smelt of elderberries. But here’s the hitch: None of them happen to be literary agents or publishers, which is super unfortunate for me. Publishing these days seems to be about the splashiest, fast sell.
My husband and I were walking the dogs the other morning, as we do every day and typically we shuffle along in stone silence because, well, 6 a.m. On this morning, though, he was telling me about a story he read in the New York Times about a rough teenager who was on Dr. Phil’s show because of her troubled relationship with her mom. The teen became a viral sensation after challenging the audience members who laughed at her with a defiant, white-girl-goes-urban-y phrase “Cash me outside, how ’bout dah.” Maybe you remember that briefly being a thing.
Well, producers are trying to extend her 15 minutes of fame by turning her into a rapper. Monetizing a meme.
“I just don’t see how you can succeed in this kind of environment,” he said, bending to scoop up dog poop.
Well, I’m not.
We live in a world where a popular Twitter account can score you a book deal (you lucky SOB, Justin Halpern), and I will say this — the book based on that Twitter feed “Shit My Dad Says” is truly one of the funniest things I have ever read. It was hilarious, short and surprisingly sweet and if I had 2 million twitter followers instead of 391*, maybe you’d get to read shit I wrote.
I’m just not sure what to do at this point.
Do I hold out hope for the dinglequeries I have hanging out there, or just quietly stop and continue with my current, unpaid writing gig, which is keeping the parents of No. 3’s eighth grade class apprised of graduation preparations? I send out regular emails and let me just say, I get very, very positive feedback from them. Quite frankly, I’ve been crushing it — and not a single complaint about any meandering prose either.
Also, not that I’m implying I’m better than JK, but I do have 20 rejections so far.
*Obviously I don’t buy followers.