I didn’t intend on posting again today but one of my favorite authors posted something to her IG that sparked something I had to share. As you see above, this author is Bernice McFadden and this is her sharing the rejection letters she received for her novel Sugar. I have this book as well as her novels This Bitter Earth, Glorious and I’d like to get my hands on Nowhere is a Place and The Book of Harlan but I digress. Needless to say, the writing is on point. Long story short, you all know that Sugar has gone on to do very well despite the 75 (yes, seventy-five…let that settle) rejection letters. For Indie Authors, we may not be looking for publishers, but we have rejection letters too. I want to encourage you not to give up when you get one:
Negative Reviews – One of our most obvious rejection letters is the negative review. While all authors, no matter how they are published, get negative reviews, for the Indie Author it can feel like the ultimate rejection. Not from a publisher or agent but from the people who we slave so hard for, Readers. When a reader rejects a book it can really put a damper (who says that?) on an author’s mood. But, think about being rejected 75 times. Would you have tried for the 76th? The next time you get a bad review, think of McFadden and how important it is not to quit on the vision. If McFadden had given up, there would be no Sugar.
No Reviews – I came into the game (for lack of a better term though I hate using it. This ain’t a game lol) late because I did not start publishing my books with Amazon in the beginning. I also did not have much insight or people around who could help me to understand this growing industry. That said, reviews weren’t very important to me (neither was Amazon for that matter). However, we are all aware by now how important book reviews are to Indie Authors. But what if you don’t have any? Or very little? This can feel like a real let down and crush an Indie Author’s mood. Especially when their peers have over one hundred and they only have one or two. I am not saying to look at what every one else is doing, not at all. But I’d be lying if I said no reviews on a book doesn’t feel bad. We’ve all been there so let’s just keep it all the way real. No reviews can feel like the ultimate rejection. Honest reviews help to prove that an author’s work is worth reading which means that none can be a real let down. A real rejection. I tell you to think of McFadden’s 75 rejection letters and ask yourself if you were her, would you try again? Would you still want to write if you had 75 bad reviews? Sheesh. That can make one depressed! Lol. But, I am showing you that it’s the same thing for Indie Authors who are their own publishers and thus rely on the social proof of readers to help people to see that they really aren’t bragging about themselves.
No Sales – And of course, need I not leave out the ultimate rejection letter for Indies, no sales! Nothing screams rejection like no one buying your book. Does that mean you should stop writing? Of course not. My first novel is full of mistakes (which is why I took it off market for now lol) but if I had not published the first book, mediocre as it was, there would not have been a tenth. My point is, just keep writing and keep trying. You know you are close to the mountaintop when everyone starts to fall off. When people start giving up, that’s when you’re close. When you feel like giving up, that is when you should push the hardest. It means you are almost there. I am not saying this to sound all “cliche”. I am saying it because it’s real. My husband was just telling me I am too hard on myself and I’d like to extend the encouragement your way. Especially since we didn’t have a “No Whining Wednesday” today 🙂
So, there you have it. Three Rejection Letters Indie Authors receive. When you get one, think of McFadden’s 75 rejection letters. That had to be depressing at some point but she kept at it and so should you.
Do you know of any more “rejection letters?” Tell us about them! What was the most heartbreaking of your rejection letters? How did you recover from it?
Don’t forget that there are tons of people willing to help to spread the word about your awesome authorness! Including me. My Introduce Yourself Interviews for authors will pick back up next week. However, I am in need of authors for August! It’s a free opportunity to let us get to know more about you and your books.Click Here to learn more. Again, it’s FREE and I must say, the Introduce Yourself features do very well in views. Many of them are the top viewed on this blog which means these authors get a lot of shine! All genres welcomed. (Those of you who have already been featured, if you have updates, new books coming out, let me know so we can do an update post).
I have known Lynette for about two years now. Though it’s hard to pinpoint any exact moments in the blogosphere, I believe we met when she commented on my blog post, Why Memoirs are Special. From there we have gone on to follow each other’s blogs, email lists, social media, and she even bought one of my paperbacks.
Today, I am honored to help to promote her memoir, Even Rain is Just Water. Eck!
OK. I am calm. But, you all know that I would like to write a memoir one day. It is my honor to witness how it is done from those who’ve been where I am trying to go. Lynette’s book released in ebook on May 30, 2017. Today, she is releasing the paperback!
I love paperbacks!
AND I’ve already read the book. Yup. I beat you.
Before getting into the book, let’s learn more about Ms. Davis. I had a chance to “sit down” with her for a special edition interview. (Yup, beat you again. Ya’ll better hurry up.)
Lynette, what inspired you to write a memoir?
I was inspired to write my memoir to facilitate my healing. I know that “all things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). I was driven to continue writing when I realized I was not alone that my experience was more common than I ever could have imagined. I decided to develop my story and make it available to the public to raise awareness about emotional abuse.
Even Rain is Just Water is a powerful title. Can you give us some background on why you chose it and what it means?
I went through a dozen titles before God dropped rain is just water in my spirit on a clear, sunny Southern California day. Months later, the word “even” was added to the beginning. It means at the end of the day, the storms in our lives are just that–storms. And storms are temporary. I particularly liked rain is just water because it made me think of Psalm 1:3. The storms of our lives may come in like a flood. But, at the end of the day, it’s just water because, ultimately, God is in control of our lives. And after the storm has come and gone, we’ll still be here like trees planted along the riverbank.
Beautiful. Let’s get into the book. You have been through some stuff! What do you think some of the major differences are between Emotional and Physical abuse?
The major differences between emotional abuse and physical abuse are one is visible, and the other is not. Emotional abuse is an invisible abuse. There are no tell-tale scars, no broken bones, no black eyes, which is what makes this type of abuse so insidious. Emotional abuse, just like physical abuse diminishes the person’s sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth. If our scars were visible, there would be lots of scar tissue from scars that never fully healed before we got another scar.
How important is the role of mother in the life of daughters?
The role of mothers in the lives of daughters is of utmost importance. It’s the first relationship the daughters has. And it’s the one that provides a mirror, for the daughter, as to how she sees herself and the world around her. If you can’t trust your mother, who can you trust?
Man. I feel you. OK. Let’s switch it up a bit. I hear you work in education? Tell us about that.
I work in education as a substitute teacher. I work in one school district, however, with many schools, generally with elementary school children, and occasionally, with junior high and high students. Substitute teaching hasn’t changed much since you were a student. When a teacher is out, I take the teacher’s class for the day.
You was jamming in this book! Tell us about the kind of music you like.
I love R&B oldies from the seventies, eighties, and nineties, and some from the sixties such as Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, The Four Tops and The Temptations, especially when I’m cleaning the house. And I love contemporary gospel music. I also like jazz, although I haven’t bought any jazz CDs in a while.
What takes up most of your time?
Writing, my blog and Twitter, in that order.
Lol. In your own words, what is humility?
To me, humility is when you treat everyone the same, not some people different because they have more, or some people different because they can’t do anything for you, or some people different because no one is looking. Humility is not being stuck on yourself, and being able to understand how someone else may feel, having empathy for someone else, trying to imagine how they feel. Humility is knowing who you are, no matter how other people treat you. Humility is not being arrogant, walking around saying, “Look at me.” It’s being comfortable wearing a tee shirt, your favorite pair of jeans and a pair of flip flops because you know who you are, and don’t have to impress anyone.
I.Love.That.Definition. What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?
Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi. Reading that book was like I was there, right along with Anne during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. Being from Florida, I related to a lot of the things she wrote about in Coming of Age in Mississippi.
Oh my goodness, yess! I so love how you incorporated history into your life story. It was brilliant and made me wish I was there to experience many of those historical moments.
Lyn, who is your favorite historical figure?
I would have to say Martin Luther King Jr. (Although Muhammad Ali runs a close second.) The way he initiated the Civil Rights Movement, through the jail visits, hate, and imminent threat of death. And how so many people did lose their lives, like the four little girls at the church in Birmingham, Alabama, and the three civil rights workers. He was clearly operating in his purpose.
Indeed. He went hard toward the end of his life for sure. Lyn, faith plays a big part in your story, would you define yourself as being a religious person?
No, and yes. If you mean, do I go to church every Sunday and follow a set of traditional rules and regulations? No. But if you mean, do I believe in God—that is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? However yes, in that I’m more spiritual than religious.
In your own words, what is truth?
Truth, especially as it pertains to memoir, is all about perspective. In a memoir, when we tell our truths, it’s from our own perspective. No two people will have the same perspective about everything, not even siblings who were raised in the same household. Or husband and wives, for that matter. Truth usually goes along with facts, although not necessarily. Truth can be verified. Truth goes along with humility – being true to who you are, being authentic.
Why is writing important to you?
Writing is important to me for three reasons. First, it helps me to express my feelings. I’m an introvert. And as such, I’m naturally quiet and don’t express my feelings often. Have you heard the saying, “I write to know what I’m feeling?” Well, that’s me for sure.
Secondly, when I write, I’m able to express my truths, not just facts. Maya Angelou has a quote that expresses what I mean here. “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” And thirdly, writing brings new revelations. I learn a lot about myself when I write.
Powerful. What skill would you like to master?
I would like to master graphic design—book cover design, in particular. That was the one aspect of my book that I wouldn’t—that is, couldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is Maya Angelou. And I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is my favorite memoir. Angelou is my favorite writer because not only does she write so descriptively, but she was a survivor of sexual child abuse and wrote about that experience in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. That memoir encouraged me to bring my story out of the dark and into the light. Another reason she’s one of my favorite authors is that she rose from a sexually abused child to an empowered woman that empowered others.
Speaking of memoirs, let’s get back to your book, how can victims of emotional abuse recognize the signs?
A person can recognize that they’re being emotionally abused by the way they feel. Here are a few subtle, but not so subtle, signs. Generally speaking, if a person makes you feel bad or makes you feel bad about yourself, on a regular basis, there’s a good chance, you are experiencing emotional abuse. Here are a few signs.
Emotional Abuse As to children–
Constant belittling, shaming and humiliating a child. Calling names and making negative comparisons to others. Telling a child he or she is “no good,” “worthless,” “bad,” or “a mistake.” Frequently yelling, threatening or bullying. Ignoring or rejecting a child as punishment–giving him or her the silent treatment. Limiting physical contact wit the child–no hugs, kisses, or other signs of affection. Exposing the child to violence or abuse of others, whether it be a mate, parent, sibling, or even a pet.
Emotional Abuse as to adults–
You are blamed for their problems, life, difficulties or unhappiness. Your behavior is constantly being corrected. You are put down in front of others. Your ideas and beliefs are regularly disregarded. Your hopes, dreams, and achievements are minimized or ignored altogether. You are constantly reminded of your flaws or shortcomings. Your boundaries are repeatedly crossed. You are accused of being too sensitive. You feel as though you need their permission before you can make decisions. Or you are not allowed to make any decisions. They invalidate or deny their emotionally abusive behavior when you try to talk to them. You are constantly being threatened with abandonment or neglect. They don’t seem to notice or care about your feelings.
Even Rain is Just Water is your first book. What was it like publishing for the first time?
I published my first book, Even Rain Is Just Water on May 30th. Writing the book was a journey. And getting it ready for publication was another journey, in and of itself, a learn-as-you-go experience, for me. Since it was my personal story, I decided to go the self-publishing route so that I could have control over every aspect of the book. It took me four years to write and develop my book. Two things I learned from the process. One, know what you want and how you want it. There are a lot of people out there willing to take your money and give you little to nothing in return. And two, plan for everything to take ten times as long as you initially thought it would.
And now…drum rolll…Even Rain Is Just Water by Lynette Davis
When Lyn finds herself homeless with three children in tow, she is forced to deal with the demons of her childhood—being unwanted, unloved and rejected. As she embarks on a search for a place to call home, her sole desire is to give her children what she lacked growing up—a sense of belonging and security. But she is not so sure she can make that happen. Will Lyn conquer the demons of her past and save her children from a generational fate?
Alternating between a lonely little girl’s coming-of-age in Florida during the Civil Rights Era and her adult years, Even Rain Is Just Water, traces a daughter’s quest for love and acceptance that transcends into adulthood—illuminating between how childhood emotional trauma shapes our adult identity.
There’s a lot to take from this book. What I absolutely loved was how Lynette gave us a glimpse of the time by the many historical events that happened and what she was doing when it happened. Everything from the death of MLK, the Rodney King beating and even the shooting and eventual death of Tupac. As Lynette lived her life, all these things were happening around her and we get to witness them in real time. She even did this with the music. It was brilliant. My full review is coming soon.
PRAISE for Even Rain Is Just Water
“Like rain in the desert of a parched soul, Lynette Davis’ poignant narrative of rejection, revelation and redemption, offers hope to those of us who have felt displaced, disconnected and alone.”
—BETTY TUCKER, author of Don’t Worry About the Mule Going Blind: Hazel’s Daughter
“A remarkable and heart-wrenching accounting of Davis’… undeniable courage and tolerance for suffering a lifetime of conflict, adversity, and emotional abuse…”
—D.G. KAYE, author of P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy
“A courageous voyage of one daughter’s remarkable journey in finding love, security and a place to call home against the demons of her past.”
—MARY A. PEREZ, author of Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace
Riverside, California, 1996
I imagine I look like mother goose walking with her baby ducklings as my three children trail me, one behind the other. The convenience store is a good ten blocks away. It seems more like twenty. Although it’s only a few minutes before seven o’clock, we’ve been up since day break. And the morning sun is beaming down on us like it’s the middle of August, instead of the first week of June. My children must understand the gravity of our situation because they’re as quiet as three mice as we trek to the convenience store. This is not our normal routine. Twenty-four hours ago, I couldn’t have imagined the events of last night, or that I would be walking down the main boulevard with my three children this morning. For the umpteenth time in the last fifteen minutes, I check my beeper. No pages.
Although I’m dressed for walking—a pair of just-above-the-knee gray biker shorts and a tee-shirt which is what I slept in last night, and a pair of tennis shoes with no socks, I feel weird like I’m half naked. I didn’t even bother to comb my hair this morning. Luckily, I’m sporting a short Halle Berry look, and the slightly disheveled look is in. I wonder what my children think about all the drama of last night as I marvel at their resilience. Despite everything our family has been through these last couple of months, they’ve never complained. My daughter, the youngest of the trio, is doing a good job keeping up with her brothers and me. I thank God, they’re such good troopers. We’re used to walking from time to time when my Jeep Cherokee acts up. Right now, it’s parked in front of mom’s house where it’s been all week. As we walk down the boulevard, I contemplate my situation. I’ve run out of options. What am I going to do?
We get to the convenience store. And I dial my grandmother’s telephone number from the phone booth, just outside. It’s almost seven thirty now, so it’s close to ten-thirty in Florida where she lives. I hear the phone ringing loudly through the phone lines and envision my grandmother, a pert seventy-nine-year-old who still drives herself wherever she wants to go, making her way to the phone. I let the phone ring awhile, to give Mother—that’s what her children and grandchildren call her, time to get to the phone—and me time to get my emotions in check. I’m still reeling from the events of last night. I need to tell someone what happened, to help me process it.
After six or seven rings, my grandmother picks up the telephone.
“Hello,” she says, in a sweet southern drawl.
“Hey, Mother. How you doing?”
“I’m doing fine. How you?” she asks, raising her voice higher when she says you.
“Mother, you’re not going to believe this.”
“What? What happened?”
You can keep reading. Click on the cover below (or the linked title) to support this author with your very own copy ofEven Rain Is Just Water, available now on Amazon.com.
Lynette Davis is an educator, author, editor, and survivor. Her memoir Even Rain Is Just Water draws attention to emotional child abuse and narcissism’s mounting prevalence, as she joins the growing number of people speaking out about the ill effects of such relationships. Her short narrative, “The Fatal Blow,” is featured in the anthology I am Subject: Women Awakening: Discovering Our Personal Truths Fall 2014, a collection of stories featuring women re-claiming their lives in life-altering moments. To other survivors, she recommends “The Invisible Scar,” a blog that supports adults who were emotionally abused as children. Davis received her B.A. in English from California Baptist University, studied Composition and Rhetoric at California State University, San Bernardino, and facilitates writing workshops in the Inland Empire, California.
You won’t make it. And no, I’m not saying that I have made it. It’s just that, well, if you have paper thin skin just stop right now. Do not pass go and do not collection $200.
I have a lot to work on as an Author but the only reason I know this is because of what others have told me, what I have learned about this field, and what I have accepted as flaws that must be pruned and tuned to become strengths. I noticed, while reading an article about negative reviews, that there is not enough attention paid to the dark side of self-publishing. That is, the negative feedback (and reviews) you get from those who (wait for it) thought your book sucked.
You are entering a world that is a lot different from other businesses. You can’t pick up a book and drink it or rub it into your skin. It’s not a collection of diamonds or a tasty meal that will satisfy your flesh. No, the book business is a lot different than selling soap. Books require more than money, but people must be willing to invest their time into a read and that’s only if they actually enjoy reading. Even if they enjoy reading, books require lots of attention. It’s not a disgusting vegetable drink you can gulp down quickly and complain about later. No, if a book is tasteless it will be promptly put down, rejected, and possibly never tended to again. There’s just way too much to do in a day.
As a Self-Publisher, you must prepare yourself for this rejection. It will hurt initially because let’s face it, your a genius. But, not everyone will see it this way and usually when you think something is brilliant chances are it’s not so in the eyes of others. It’s an interesting thing, the work I don’t think much about is what gets the most attention. The poems I write just because I felt like writing, where I was nonchalant in the process for lack of a better word, are the poems people love the most. It may have something to do with humility: the humble will be exalted and the exalted humbled. (As a rule of thumb, the greater you become, the more humility you should have) Work we think the world of may not be as we intended. I didn’t intend on writing a book when I wrote the first chapter to Stella, nor did I intend for Book #2 to do better than Book #1! That’s just the business. It surprises you like that. And you know what? I love it.
Add onto this the stigma (though significantly fading, so much so that I feel funny writing this) of Self-Publishing and Indie Authors in general. I’ve read some Traditionally Published books that sucked but the reality is that as a Self-Published Author you have to have a much thicker coating of skin. If you can’t take constructive criticism in your everyday life and you have plans to publish a book, you may want to get started on that. Taking criticism that is. I know I have talent as a writer but I am not naive. I know that not everyone is going to enjoy my work or see the message and I don’t expect them too. Truth is, I’m not trying to save the world and neither should you. I’m just trying to reach the remnant of the world that wants to be saved. For this reason, I expect some people to dislike my work. (The bible also says something about when everyone thinks well of you, careful, for so they did the false prophets. You don’t have to believe in the bible to consider the message in that).
I also know that not every review will be a positive one. This is actually not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Its a good thing because without knowledge of your flaws you can’t improve. For instance: A reviewer once told me to watch my POV (point of view) when I’m writing. In my mind, I write as if a camera is floating the room. I see the book playing out in my mind like a movie and I move wherever the camera takes me. If I feel like speaking from the perspective of the roof that I’ll do. It didn’t occur to me that this surveillance comes across as very confusing to the reader. When I received this tip, I became more cautious of this and began to write so that it is clear to both myself and my readers. What I would do without that tip! Now, I make sure to keep the “camera” nice and steady. No more moving from the first person to the third person because it looks good in my head.
If you plan to Self-Publish a book you must first examine your heart. If there’s thin skin there you may want to trade it in for some course material. If you desire to become an author you have to have a certain endurance for negative attention, it comes along with the territory. I have people speak badly about me all the time and I’m not even talking about my writing! People are generally not very fond of me because while I strive to be gentle and display the same respect to all persons, I’m not going to give you deception. I have to tell you the truth or I would not be the person I am today. I would be a liar.
Be thick skinned about whatever criticism that takes place in your life whether that’s in regard to your books or whatever. Understand that everything you encounter in life is to mold and shape you into the individual you were meant to be from the very foundations of the world. It hurts, yes, but its all for the greater good. I am thankful, personally, for growing up the way I did. For knowing struggle and pain and deception and humiliation because what it has done for me is to allow me to bear the burden of whatever negative vibes come my way. Don’t like me? Great, stand in line with the rest of the people waiting for me to care. That’s not being arrogant that’s just being real. In the book publishing industry, pinch your skin first and make sure its thick enough.
(There’s a lyric to Maxwell’s song “Lifetime” I think is very interesting. As the song opens he says, “I was reborn when I was broken”. You gotta be broken down to be built up. Something to think about.)