We are excited to welcome our newest contributor, Mikey Brooks!
Most people can look back on a bad experience and find humor in it. Like when I was in grade school and my shorts fell down in gym class exposing my nether-regions to half the sixth graders (girls included). At the time I was mortified, now I look back on it and laugh. The same thing goes with my personal path to publishing. When I was 21, I finished my first novel. I was so proud of my achievement and I knew that this book was going to be the next bestseller. I would soon buy a private island and retire at age 22 and do nothing more with my life except sip exotic smoothies on a beach somewhere—I couldn’t have been more wrong. Let me tell you why.
Back then I didn’t know the first thing about how to get a publisher or even what an agent was. Self-publishing wasn’t really around, except in the way of vanity presses which cost way too much for way too little. So I did what I thought was the right thing: I went to the library, got the Publisher’s Market book, and wrote down every address to every publishing house in the United States, then I took it home and sent my freshly printed manuscripts to every publishing house in the United States, regardless if they accepted unsolicited manuscripts or not (I didn’t know what that meant so I just played ignorant). Back then we didn’t have email submission so I spent a small fortune mailing those suckers out, but I knew it would all be worth it the moment they offered me my advanced royalty check. I sat back and waited for the offers to come in.
Months passed and I continued to wait. Suddenly I was getting all these rejections in the mail and my dream of that private island began to fade. The real slap in the face came when I received a rejection from Harlequin saying, “nice book, but where’s all the sex?” I felt like I was back in grade school again—exposed and embarrassed. This was a children’s book and they wanted sex in it? I knew at that moment I didn’t know the first thing about writing, publishing, or anything for that matter. For me, my dreams of becoming an author were over. Poof! Goodbye, private island.
Of course now I laugh at how ridiculous it was for me to even send a publisher known for sexy books my middle-grade novel and expect anything but a rejection. I look back and see the humor in the situation and you know what? It helps. The one thing that every writer I have met, myself included, deals with is depression. We put so much of ourselves into our writing that when we get rejected it is a mortal blow to our souls. Darkness creeps in and soon we find ourselves in a rut filled with overeating on chocolate and wearing all black.
The best medicine for rejection, disappointment, and depression is laughter. That’s no joke! Way too often authors get bogged down by the bad things that happen on their author journey. Rejections, bad reviews, harsh edits, and even more rejections—the list for bad things can go on and on. Try not to take those bad moments too seriously. Take a step back and try to find the humor in them. By finding something to laugh at, you will help move yourself both mentally and physically toward a brighter future. Just remember that things take time, especially when it comes to your author journey. After my crashing blow by Harlequin (I hope you did laugh at the stupidity of my story), it took me a good seven years before I even started writing another book again. Why? Because I refused to find the humor in the situation. It wasn’t until I really laughed out loud about it that I could move forward again. So take my advice and move at your own pace, dream wild dreams, but most of all—find humor in every bad situation.
Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is an award winning author and illustrator. He has published five middle-grade books including the fantasy adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. Some of his picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons, which will be featured in an independent film releasing at the Sundance Film Festival. He has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works full-time as a freelance cover designer and formatter. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his four kiddos and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. You can find more about him & his books at: www.insidemikeysworld.com.