“If there are no doors open, then go find a window!
Don’t take no for an answer.”
Wonderful quote, isn’t it? It’s from my book, Birthing the Elephant, and I just love it. The chutzpah and courage Bobbi describes are exactly what we need to survive the slings and arrows of the writer’s life. I was reminded of this advice when I heard Alex Lidell speak recently. She’s a YA author with a great story to tell. Her debut book, Cadet of Tildor, is coming out in 2013 and it sounds like a wonderful read. The publisher is Dial, an imprint of Penguin, one of the “Big 6” publishing houses.
How did Alex go from aspiring writer to soon-to-be published author? As she tells the tale, it was a rocky road. After writing, polishing, and repolishing her manuscript, she began sending out query letters. Lots of rejection. Lots of rewriting of her first chapter (she said she’s probably on “version 27” now — I know the feeling!)
When the query route didn’t yield results, Alex tried another idea: She submitted part of her manuscript to the Amazon Breakthrough competition: the winner receives a book contract and an advance. She didn’t make the semi-finals. Back to querying. More rejection. Fast-forward to the next Amazon Breakthrough competition. With nothing to lose, Alex gives it another go. This time she makes it to the semi-finals — and the finals. One day she receives an email from an agent with a high-powered agency. She’d read Alex’s pages and wanted to see more. Not long after, she signed Alex as a client and sold her book within 24 hours. Lots of revisions later, Alex is on track for her 2013 debut.
What inspires me most about this story is Alex’s persistence and stamina. She was methodical and disciplined in her query process — and willing to keep fine-tuning her draft. But when the query “door” seemed closed, she didn’t give up — she found a window. Bravo, Alex. I’m looking forward to reading Cadet of Tildor — in print!