An important part of any successful writer’s life is her past book ideas – whether or not they were published (or even written!). I’ve decided to share my book ideas, query letters and progress here, on The Adventurous Writer. Lotsa failures, my friends! And lotsa learning about writing and publishing.
I created Unveiling Vancouver while living in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1997. This book was supposed to help newcomers adjust to living in the Lower Mainland, and included everything from doggie daycares (which were new back then) to where to reclaim your car after it’s been towed.
A BC-based publisher offered me a contract (yay!); I instructed him to send it to Edmonton – I was moving there to go back to the University of Alberta, to get my Education degree. The publisher hesitated…but agreed.
Six weeks later, I received The Letter. “We regret to inform you that the nature of this book requires the writer to live in Vancouver for research and marketing purposes blah blah blah blah blah BLAH.”
How I burned the bridge to that publisher: Instead of being a wise young writer, I sent him a letter criticizing his decision, his editors, the city in which he lived, and his dog. I may also have mentioned the fact that he was going bald. It wasn’t until the nanosecond after I popped that baby in the mailbox that I realized the immaturity, short-sightedness, and stupidity of my action…and by then it was too late.
That’s one writing disaster I’ll never forget.
Anyway, back to Unveiling Vancouver: I self-published a couple dozen copies, forced my friends and family to buy copies, and sold several in bookstores around Vancouver. My single remaining copy (and that whole experience) is the root of my writing career today – even though it was never published!
That book was the foundation of another new book idea: Living Green in Vancouver. Also not published.
If you’re interested in a writing career, remember that when your book proposal or article pitch is rejected (and they will be), don’t take it personally – and don’t lash out in frustration, anger, or bitterness! Rejection in the publishing world is a business decision. It stings, but it’s a fundamental aspect of an active writing career. The reasons book manuscripts are rejected may have little to do with you as a writer, and more to do with the publisher’s mandate, book list, and future plans.
Don’t let writing rejection deaden your creativity or spirit! Keep creating new ideas to develop and pitch (or even pitch in the garbage). The more ideas you have, the more likely you’ll hit the Big One.
Be an adventurous writer – and don’t fear failure.