James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

Wagging the DOGS

Six weeks after my agent Michelle L Johnson of Inklings Literary got an exciting flurry of new MS requests, it looks like DOGS OF PARSONS HOLLOW has pulled rejections from two of the four editors who took a peek. The upside? The other two that are still active are with the bigger publishers of the original group, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Actually, no part of this post is doom and gloom: this process takes time. The stories are legion of authors with strong book projects suffering dozens of rejections before finding the right editor and publisher.

Ask my friend A. J. Mayhew, whose fine literary novel The Dry Grass of August not only took eighteen years to get right, but after landing an agent another two long years to finally find a home (with Kensington).

What’s worse, however, is that she went through two different editorial cycles with big six editors, only to see those deals fall through.

“Mercy,” I said. “That must’ve been awful.”

“Oh,” A J (Anna Jean) replied. “I never cried so hard in all my life.”

“Bless your heart.”

So, it’s a roller coaster of a business, and going through a few more cycles of these requests and rejects may simply be a part of the game.

The other upside is that besides DOGS, I have manuscripts lined up like congestion on the tarmac at LaGuardia: LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY, MANSION OF HIGH GHOSTS, and very soon MIRIAM MULLINS will make for three other unique and interesting novels ready to be shopped. Not bad, especially also considering the two story collections, and that there are no fewer than three major novel projects lined up in my writing queue, two screenplay ideas worth developing, probably a dozen individual stories out on submission, and so on and so on.

So: DOGS will happen; other stuff will happen, like a return to teaching in the fall at Midlands Technical College. Besides cultivating one’s own talent and abilities by actually producing, revising and shopping multiple and challenging manuscript projects, along the way the successful author must develop two key states of mind: patience and tenacity. Add in discipline, and you’re close to golden as far as being the right headspace for this game. The takeaway? We got this.


About dmac

James D. McCallister is a South Carolina author of novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction. His latest book, a story collection called The Year They Canceled Christmas, releases in November 2017.

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