Once upon a time a girl wrote a novel.
A strange novel.
A short novel. Maybe it wasn't even a novel. One agent replied, after receiving a query, "this isn't a novel. It's too short. What you have here is most likely a novella."
It started out like this:
A Day of Black
I've never been
to a funeral
dazzling arrangements of
red, yellow, and purple flowers
with long, green stems.
And so it went.
Page after page like that.
Only one agent was curious enough to read it. Lucky for the girl, that agent loved it and said she wanted to try and sell it.
It went out on submission to about ten editors.
Before long, the rejections started rolling in.
Editor after editor said, "not for me."
"Not for me."
"Not for me."
And so it went. For three long, excruciating months.
But one of the editors sent it to a different division of the publishing house. It landed in a pile. An editorial assistant picked it up out of that pile and took it home to read on the train. The next day, he passed it around. He didn't have the ability to acquire it, but he worked to garner enthusiasm for that strange, little book.
And eventually, many months after it had been submitted to editors, when almost all hope had disappeared from the girl's heart, the book sold. The editorial assistant was given his very first book to edit. The girl was pretty sure expectations for that book weren't very high, but it didn't matter. She'd finally achieved her dream of having a novel published.
The book came out in January, 2008. A month later, the editor called the girl, back from vacation, and said, "All I've heard since I've come back is how well I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME is selling."
Over and over, agents and editors said no.
But readers, oh those dear, dear readers, they said yes. They said, I don't care if it's a little different or a little short or a little this or a little that. (Well, you know, maybe a few care, but we won't talk about those).
Today, almost four years later, the book is in its tenth printing. It's still selling. AND a few months ago, Scholastic picked it up to sell in their book fairs and clubs.
Too strange? Too short? Apparently not:
When I wrote this book, my heart told me I had something special. And so today, I just want to say, if you are writing something or submitting something that you think is special, and you keep getting no's, remember:
It only takes one yes!