I was writing and periodically cleaning out the ridiculous amounts of email I receive in my email box daily. Not because I’m oh so popular but because I habitually sign up for newsletters and “alerts”. Note to self, “STOP THAT!”
So there I was, hitting the delete button repeatedly, I had to do a load of laundry, my cell phone was ringing, I had work to do on Carol’s Piece of Mind, I needed to put a new sim card in my Verizon iPad but had to call Verizon first to do it (now that’s an entirely new blog describing my amazing ineptness and fumble fingers on that project). Ever try to install something half the size of a corn flake (and as delicate) into an electronic device?
I also had to pack and mail some boxes to go home (I am currently vacationing in Clearwater, FL). In addition, I promised to watch my granddaughter while her mommie went for a work out – the list on that particular day was crazy long and I was feeling the pressure. I make lists, oodles of them, and when I can’t cross things off my list, I get…well…pretty cranky.
So feeling a tussle with crankiness coming on, I just happened to see an ad for a Christian writer’s Conference. There was a photo of a very well known Christian agent who shall remain nameless. I remember he was one of the very first people in Christian Publishing I submitted my novel query to. For the sake of this blog, I will call this very important person Adam Smith.
It really was a timely reply I received in snail mail from Mr. Smith and while it was a rejection, it was written by Mr. Smith himself. It was the kindest rejection I imagine anyone had ever gotten and while there was no doubt it was a rejection; Mr. Smith still managed to be encouraging. What I marveled about was he took the time to actually give me good pointers in this letter that went on for the full page.
That was almost six years ago. I see this photo of him just the other day and I had this sudden urge to write and thank him. A few quick clicks and I found his contact information and that morning – with the chaos going on around my very ears I fired off a brief thank you to Mr. Smith’s assistant.
Dear Mr. [Assistant],
I just wanted to take the time to send a thank you note to Mr. Smith.
Over five years ago, I sent a query to him and he was exceptionally kind enough to write a personal rejection. It was so detailed and carefully written that while it was obviously a rejection, I felt encouraged. I'm not sure he realizes how many unkind rejections come from Christians to writers like myself in a supposedly Christian industry.
So after many, many edits by professionals, and working on my story, I'm going to self-publish someday soon. However I wanted him to know that in a sea of rejections and sometimes unkind people in the Christian publishing industry, he stands heads and shoulders above his peers. I have never forgotten how a very busy, super successful icon in the publishing industry took the time to write a letter to a hopeful new novelist (I'm a published reporter and editorial writer, but not with fiction). Even though he wrote a "no thank you" he did so in a grace-filled way. I still keep the snail-mail letter with my Bible. He is an example that should be followed by everyone in publishing.
Sincerely and with gratitude,
Carol Van Drie
Within the hour, I was surprised by an answer from Mr. Smith himself.
Thank you for your kind note.
God’s timing is always perfect. You could not have known that I’ve spent the last four hours this morning writing rejection letters.
It is a time of reflection and frustration. The writers are sincere and their passion is palatable. And yet there are only so many projects I can represent. And only so many that I can “coach” via the rejection letter in a way that does not insult the author.
Your note is just what I needed this morning. Thank you.
May God bless your continued ministry of words.
The Adam Smith Agency
As the Texas Rattler might say, now if that don’t beat all! My granddaughter was crying, cell phones were ringing, I had to finish ten different things fast because I promised I’d babysit yet in the midst of it all I knew I was supposed to send that email and badda bing – a God Story happened!
It’s pretty darn amazing when I just let God light my way!
That’s my piece for today!