Sunday, June 3, 2012

First Rejection

Getting the story out into the world...

Although I've written about different aspects of the book, I don't know how far I've gone into just where we are in the process. There's a bit of the story on our facebook page, about how we got a call to go on Dr. Phil, but he didn't want us because our story was too "happy" (what would he have to cure if we'd already worked it out for ourselves?). For years, we had intended to write our story, after Betty Jean Lifton told us that we should (which is another story), and this just gave us the kick in the ass to do it. We decided on an outline and have been writing together/separately (not reading each other's work), for the past eight years.

We knew it was a big risk, and a big leap in faith (at least Kate's a successful songwriter, aside from our letters to each other, Kate had little to gauge of my writing). We didn't know if our writing together/separately would work, but we knew we didn't want to read it ourselves until it was done. Otherwise, we might change what we had written after seeing what the other had done. We wanted to share each of our stories, packaged together, but from our own unique viewpoint.

Luckily, Kate had met Barbara, an amazing editor/writer at Fishtrap. Barbara agreed to be our sacred in-between, the only person reading both sides of the story while editing our writing and coaching us along the way. The three of us have spent the past couple years refining the book proposal alongside editing the book. A couple weeks ago, we were very fortunate to have a really great recommendation to a an important agent, who agreed to read the proposal, (rather than just taking a look at the query letter). It was huge.

When we sent the proposal off to the agent, it was the first time I realized that it was a step onto a road of rejections. Even if we were successful in getting picked up by an agent, we then faced rejection from publishers. If a publisher agreed to us, then we would have to deal with getting rejected from the buyers who would sell the book, and so on and on. I was looking towards a series of unending potential rejection, which made me question why we were working so hard to get the story out. Aside from taking time away from work and family and whatever else, now instead of getting together to catch up or just hang out with Kate, we're always working on the book.

The agent didn't take us on. We got our first rejection. We knew it was a long shot, but that didn't mean it didn't sting. I worried that maybe our book won't get out into the world after all.

It was actually in putting together the book proposal (rather than just writing the book), that I realized I really, truly, genuinely intended on getting our story out into the world, that we weren't just writing it for our own edification. It was in the process of writing the story, that I was able to realize how much we had to say  - the inherent importance of connection to your family, for better or worse; the search for self; incorporating all aspects of who you are (whether you like them or not); coming of age; identity and so on and on.

We have gone through the ups and downs and dramas of reunion, and we have come out the other side of it, transformed. Maybe the transformation is subtle on the outside (or maybe not), but inside it's nothing short of life-changing. And it's the life-changing stories with happy endings that are so inspirational to me. I want to share our story not only with other adoptees, birthparents and families dealing with those issues, but for the sake of the story. It's worth being told.

It's still a little amazing to me thinking that we've gone eight years and still haven't read each other's sides of the story. I am ready, and eager to read it. I really want to know what the experience was and is like for Kate. I know on my level, but writing it down, rather than telling someone directly, allows you to be much more honest and closer to the truth - no couching things that might hurt the other's feelings, not leaving out the not-so-flattering parts.

But I won't read her side. Not yet. I'll continue with facing rejection to try to get the story out into the world. And, if that doesn't work, we'll self-publish. But if we can get an agent who believes in our story, then it just will allow us a broader reach. Because I do believe it's a story worth being told.


to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

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