Pub Rants

A Manuscript That Stays With You

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STATUS: Spent a little time this evening working through some leftover computer conversion kinks. We are almost there.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing At the Moment

Because I’m not on twitter, I only found out today that YA author LK Madigan had passed away from cancer.

I have to say that the news made Sara and I rather sad.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of reading her YA novel FLASH BURNOUT while it was on submission. I remember this vividly because Sara wasn’t taking on clients at the time but she really advocated for this author.

And Lisa was lovely and so professional.

I didn’t take her on as a client and she went on to find a wonderful and enthusiastic agent. And this may sound odd, but over the last two years, whenever we heard news about her debut novel, I’d say, “remember that manuscript? And Sara would say, “I told you so” (not really as Sara isn’t the kind of person to say such a thing) but you get the picture.

It was one of those novels that we remembered vividly, even years later, and could now poke fun at ourselves on being wrong about.

Which leads me to a point I made at the San Miguel Writers Conference last week.

When you get a rejection, you just have to remember that ALL writers received them at least at once in their careers and where you are today as a writer is not necessarily where you’ll be a year from now. That you will always be learning, growing, and maturing as a writer.

Being a writer is about the journey. Embrace it.


15 Responses

  1. Alyssia /ah-LIS-ee-ah/ said:

    Thank you so much for this, Kristin. To lose a fellow author is, indeed, a sad thing. Especially one with the talent of LK Madigan.

    And to your closing words: For those of us, like me, who are still going through the seeking agent/publication process, this is wonderfully encouraging. Thank you.

  2. Ted Cross said:

    That’s one of my daydreams – that an agent like you might give me a ‘close but we have to pass’ only to have my story stay with them. I think you once said you contacted someone you initially passed on; was that the only time you did that?

  3. Stephanie said:

    You’re right, writing like life, is about the journey. I think you can see that by reading Lisa’s blog.

    Also, I’d say that writing is only part of the journey. Yes, it’s a big part of our lives, but not the only part of our lives. Sometimes, I think we need to be reminded of that.

  4. Michael G-G said:

    I am very saddened by Lisa’s passing. She was one of the (many!)bright beacons in our writing community in Portland.

    Your story goes to show that from an agent/editor, you’ll always hear stories about “the one that got away.” From a writer’s perspective, you are blessed if you find that one advocate who is truly, madly, deeply in love with your work.

  5. Joseph L. Selby said:

    @Ted I’d rather be the manuscript the pass on and then realize their mistake and email me later to see if it’s still available. 🙂

    (Okay, I’d rather not be passed on at all, but it seemed thematically appropriate.)

  6. April Henry said:

    I wish she were alive so she could read this! Lisa was my good friend. I first got to know her in 2005, before she had an agent and when she was working on a different manuscript. But I just knew she would be published.

    This past October, we shared a book launch, her for her second and me for my 10th.

    I spoke to her last Tuesday, and we both knew it would be the last time we would talk.

    I’m so sad that she’s gone. There’s a scholarship fund for her son, who is only 13.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Lisa loved her paper. Somewhere, there is enough rejection letters to paper a wall. And when I locate them, I may just do that. Upon which I will mount her books, and her Morris Award.
    Lisa told me that some of the best authors are never published, because they cannot overcome the rejection. She also said your first million words are your worst.
    Thanks for all the kind words. L.K.’s D.H.

  8. nutschell said:

    Another bright light has dimmed for the YA world with lisa’s passing.
    Thanks for the inspiring words. Writing really is a journey, and we writers should never forget that the journey really is more important than the destination. We must savor the moments as they come.

  9. Jaimie Krycho said:

    This is encouraging. I sent a short story into a mag recently, and the assistant editor corresponded with me about edits and improvements for over a year, saying that she liked it and thought it might work after all. I was hopeful…then I got the dreaded, generic, unsigned rejection in the mail. I cried. My professor sent me this post. 🙂 So, thanks.

  10. Lindsey Leavitt said:

    Hi Kristin,
    It’s months later, but I just stumbled on this post, and was reminded why I respect your agency so much. Thank you for your words about LK. Oddly enough, your rejection is what sparked my friendship with Lisa many years ago. We were querying at the same time, and received our rejections from the Nelson Literary agency the same day. A mutual friend suggested we link up for support, and we did (professionally, of course and with lots of Halloween candy), and ended up forming a dear friendship. As you said, rejection is just part of the game, but something very good can come even from the bumps in the journey. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve been missing her and this made me happy.
    ~Lindsey Leavitt