You did it! You’re published!
You took the plunge. You dared to dream that you could be a writer and finally, this is the day you dreamed about—the day your novel appears on bookshelves!
Nobody knows nor can they appreciate the effort it took to complete a novel,
the sacrifices you made,
the fear you had to face down to write your story.
Your initial submission returned looking like it had been attacked by a serial killer, slashed repeatedly with a red pen. (The editor might as well have laid red strips to your back with a whip.) But after a time of healing, you resolved to prove to the world (and that editor) you could write.
So you took classes,
struggled through tiresome first drafts,
declined persistent invitations by friends and family to step away from your desk and get a life.
Finally, it paid off!
And now, you wait;
Wait for the world’s reaction.
And the world yawns in your face.
Reviews are tepid. Sales are less than stellar. You sit at your desk—the one stained by your blood, tears, and sweat—holding a letter:
"Dear author, we regret to inform you that we are declaring your book out of print. If you would like to purchase remaining copies..."
Your emotions spill over onto three pages, three replies--LETTER ONE
Take a hike. I offered you a piece of my soul and you spindled it, wiped your feet on it, and mailed it back to me postage due. It’s obvious you do not want what I have to offer. Well, I have good news for you. I won’t be bothering you again. If I wanted this kind of ridicule, sarcasm, and abuse I'd have talked to my teenage children. You will find no return address on this letter. I will retire far from the publishing world with my cat (who loves everything I write), and from now on I will write only during lazy summer evenings when inspiration is heavy in the air. If there is any justice in this world, a hundred years from now some attic adventurer will discover my manuscripts, appreciate their wisdom and talent, and introduce my writings to a more sensitive world.
I don’t understand. What do you want from me? I offered you my skill, my heart, my stories, and you yawned. I don't understand. Just tell me what you want to hear and I’ll write it. Play the music and I’ll dance to your tune. Then, after I have established myself, maybe you will be more receptive, and I’ll write the good stuff and dazzle you.
So, my stories didn't make your flavor-of-the-month list. You said they had all the excitement of a plate of cold green beans. Touché. First, understand this: I refuse to write whipped cream stories. There are too many all sugar, no substance stories on the shelves already. But know this…I’m not going away. I’ll win you over. There’s an old Irish saying, “Is this a private fight, or can anyone join?” Well, put up your dukes. Maybe after we’ve gone a few rounds we’ll come to respect each other. You may have won round one, but the fight has just begun.
Three letters. One envelope.
The decision is made.
You fold the letter, slip it into an envelope, seal, stamp, and mail it to the world.
Which letter did you send?
Which letter did I send? A hint: I have a signed copy of Dean Koontz’s Intensity, a Christmas gift from my brother. Inside the front cover is an inscription penned by the author, writer to writer: “Perseverance Counts.”