By Ken Wishnia
The theme for today is don’t take it lying down. Pick yourself up off the mat, get ready for the next round, and come out swinging.
If I’ve learned anything from reading about artists’ lives, it’s that some of the greatest geniuses in history have been knocked down at one time or another, but they kept coming back.
Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos were essentially a job application for a gig with a prominent nobleman’s orchestra, and they were sent back with the comment, “These are unplayable.” (I’m paraphrasing.) Beethoven sent his variations on “Rule Britannia” and “God Save the King” to the King of England for much the same reason—and never got the reply he was expecting.
There’s a lesson here: If Bach and Beethoven got rejected, it’s going to happen to you, too.
I’ve even heard that some guy named Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, so he decided to practice more and get better. I wonder how that worked out for him?
This theme is appropriate because thanks to a rare series of events that actually worked out in my favor (a relatively rare occurrence), PM Press has begun reprinting all five novels in my Edgar-nominated series featuring Ecuadorian-American detective Filomena Buscarsela, starting with 23 Shades of Black in April 2012.
But it was a long road, and it wasn’t easy. The series was dropped by one publisher after three novels, and another publisher after two more novels, and I spent years querying small presses who wanted to know if I had anything “new” to offer. As if a wiseguy named Samuel Butler never said that a book is always new to someone who hasn’t read it.
And we all know that the work doesn’t end when you sign the contract. Oh, no. You’ve got put all this time and effort into promoting, social networking, blogging, etc., etc. But it’s all worth it when you hear that bell go clang and you put in your mouth guard, take a couple of practice swings, step into the ring and say it out loud:
“OK, world. Round two.”