A determined icy wind flew through the doors and up my skirt, attacking my most vulnerable parts. My entire body shuddered and I looked at my watch. I should have worn warmer clothing, but the glow of summer was still on autumn…during the day. My fingers were stiff. My stomach gurgled, for I hadn’t eaten dinner. No one offered me a cup of coffee, and although the doors were continually opening with people streaming in, I felt invisible. I was alone, tired, hungry, and cold. I was at a book signing at a major bookstore.
Oh, wait! Someone is coming through the door, heading my way.
“Hi, do you know where the children’s department is?”
Oh, wait! Someone is grimacing and coming through the door, heading my way.
“Hi…you must be cold…have a good evening.”
Oh, wait! Someone is smiling coming through the door, heading my way.
“I love the cover…who did your cover?”
I answer, but then stay quiet while she reads the back of the book, not wanting to appear eager.
“Interesting…hmmm…have a great evening.”
And most annoying,
“Do you know how I could get my book published?”
The store manager had forgotten to order my second book, Hope in New York City and so I sat with copies of my first book, The Irish Dresser. At 9:00 p.m., I packed up my books and fairy dust and drove home. I had sold one book for $7.95. Car tail lights, street lights, and signal lights turned into giant shimmering Christmas tree bulbs as I gripped the wheel. It wasn’t a celebratory visual because the disappointment sitting in my heart at the bookstore was now perched precariously in my eyes. I was swerving sharply to avoid the potholes of discouragement, and feared if the tears spilled out, I would crash.
After some publishing experiences and receiving numerous rejections, my first book, The Irish Dresser, was published in 2004. There were a few good reviews and a few good book events and then my second book, Hope in New York City, was published. There were more good reviews and many more good book events. One never knows. At some events, I will sell twenty, but at other events, just one or none. Twice, I have had a long line with the store manager holding the book open for me to sign. On this particular chilly evening, I wasn’t really thinking about The Irish Dresser and Hope in New York City. I was expectant with my third book, NORAH, The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th Century New York. This baby was well past due date, or I just felt this because there was another story imploring to be conceived. I was exhausted and weary from caring for the two older children and burdened with the gravid full term work that is over 400 pages. These were some of the responses I was receiving from publishers:
- “Thank you very much for your query. Unfortunately, your project is not right for us at this time. We wish you the very best of luck with your work.”
- “Although this seems to be an interesting work, it is not quite right for our current needs. We wish you luck with this book.”
- “…I’m sorry to say I won’t be pursuing representation at this time, but I wish you all the luck…”
- “We were intrigued by this premise, but due to our extensive client list…we are unable to offer you representation at this time. Our best wishes for your good luck…”
- “We were especially impressed with the historical accuracy and the delightful, colorful dialogue, but we are sorry to say that we must pass on this project…I wish you the best of luck…”
- “Unfortunately, I didn’t make a connection with your work…best of luck…”
- “…but I do wish you luck in finding a publisher as this sounds very interesting.”
- “not our scene…” (no luck here!)
My favorite (if it is really possible to have a favorite) is “not our scene” because it comes from the publisher, lilliput. No capital letters or complete sentences in the reply to my query. I imagine they’re named after ‘lilliputian’ whose definition is small and petty. Whew! Am I glad I didn’t get lured in by them!
I was given so much luck from all these publishers, it just had to be that I would eventually encounter a Brobdingnagian, one of those giants in Gulliver’s Travels, or one of those publishers in New York City. As luck would have it, I signed a contract with Lucky Press, LLC in July 2010. Norah will be released on March 1, 2011, just in time for the luck of the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day.
Good on you, Cynthia!
Luck occurs most often when people apply themselves persistently to achieving a particular goal. Scientists should examine why this happens.
Cynthia is not only talented, but she applies herself all the time to achieving her goals. Funnily enough, she has succeeded where others failed.
Kind of spooky, that.