Monday, January 3, 2011

I Was... in That Publisher's Office

Would you believe me that I really finished my 1st novel at 17 years old, after 2 years writing and self-editing it?

Would you believe me THAT proud publisher didn't consider my novel at all, like they simply ignored it?

You'd better believe me.

I write this post for my special fellow blogger, Owl =) So here's the whole story:

My novel was about girl in the States who developed a virtual friendship with a 5-year-older boy from Phillipines. They had deep admiration to their fave celebs. But as for the boy, he was too naive and didn't know how 'being-in-love' things work, and for the girl, she didn't know how to differ her real life and her own fantasy. Apart of being delusional, she knew that she was lonely and mentally sick. The overall story was just telling how friendship could really go well in life and was describing the teenage life among fragile society under showbiz media power.

The novel was written in Indonesian, with English names for all the characters, except the ones I described as Asian, and set in US, Phillipines, and France. It's targetted for readers aged 15-22.

After 2 years battling with less time to sleep and writer's block, I did it. It's done. I remember how I couldn't believe it myself. But I ended up editing it, again and again. In a few months, I said to myself, it's now or never, I have to go to THAT publisher. I made a call for the whole procedures that I had to prepare in submitting my manuscript. At the time, I was just ready.

I asked my uncle's driver to get me there. I was accompanied by a classmate. For a misunderstanding, I went to wrong office. So THAT publisher has many offices, one for newspaper, one for book-publishing, one for magazine, and one for bookstore main office. And I went to their office for newspaper! I was in my high school uniform, complete, from head to toe, with a brown map of manuscript in my hands. The receptionist was confused to know a highschooler writer brought along a hundred-pages manuscript, the longest she ever saw, as the office would only accept articles and short stories manuscript that would be published in Sunday editions. Later, I was told that I should get to another office. It wasn't far. So I just walked there.

Ok, the things in the publisher's office was good. I met the person, got the paper signed, and all. And just went straight home afterthat. But, I remember when I was in the sitting room, one of the employees saw me waiting and asking why I was there. I told her that I wanted to submit a manuscript. Then she simply judged by looking at me wearing high school uniform, "Oh, it must be teen-lit!" I was like, c'mon, I didn't tell you what it is about, so don't guess!

The person who signed the paper told me that they would contact me about the publishing status in 3 months. But when it's time, I didn't receive any call or email. I decided to be the one who call first. They answered me unfriendly that they hadn't finished yet. Ok, I just gave them some extra 2 months, and made a call again. Nothing happened. Another call after 2.5 months since my last call, the unfriendly woman replied me again, and saying the same. It was on Thursday I remember. But on Friday, the package that was sent to my house told all about the truth. How could they say that they hadn't finished but was able to send it back to my house, along with rejection letter, IN A DAY?!

When I saw the package was stamped from THAT publisher and was thick, I knew that inside the envelope was my manuscript. It's rejected...., I said in my mind, without opening the package and read the letter. I just knew it. I was sad. But, it's normal. It's my first novel and no great authors who never got rejected at their first time. I cheered myself up and promised to myself that I would do better and keep struggling.

For my surprise, my manuscript was clean. No one ever touched it. For months, they hadn't read it or do anything about it. My friend told me that I could call them again to ask the editor why they rejected me. I did it. I need to keep my big heart works, I need to learn to accept the lack I have. The editor told me that my story cannot be published as the story was too common. There were many books who were similar.

I was like, c'mon, like you ever read the first page!

Once I met a guy whose book got published by THAT publisher said that if you have connection or big people they know, it's going to help. Me, I don't have anyone. I was all alone. And I don't want my book gets published just because great people behind my back to support. I want it published if it's really good and worth to read. Fair game!

So, that's all folks! =) Hope you can find the right publisher for you! It's not about how big the publisher is for your book, but how big is your work for the publisher. And don't forget, great marketing strategy! Once you get rejected, just for you know, it's not the end. And if you're accepted, it doesn't mean it's the end, it's actually the new beginning for more adventure lies ahead.

Good luck!
I wish you all the best =)


Bree
I'm only a piece of dust... Let's get naked and be inspired!

2 comments:

  1. I hope you'll find your publisher :) Don't stop writing as long as it brings you happiness !

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whoa, that's so intense! Congrats to you though for:
    A) writing the novel. (Way more than I have EVER done.)
    B) having the guts to walk it to the publisher! wow! just WOW! I could not ever ever imagine doing that.

    I'm sure if not this novel, than at some point they'll publish you. I've heard that there's a bias against students too. When I was in school and submitting they told us not to tell publishers we were students!

    ReplyDelete

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