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Greenlit

Deborah Glik

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference for writers of popular books.

Cheered on by my beta readers who believed that a book I had written was finally worthy of publication, I approached the sign-in desk in the lobby of the hotel near the airport. Hundreds of people were in the crowd, perhaps with the same intent as myself, eager and organized, carrying notebooks and coffee cups. As I scanned the crowd and took in how competitive commercial publishing is, the same old feeling of fear and dread came over me. Many more books are written than there are companies to publish them.
I grew up among writers of ‘popular’ books. It’s a struggle to ‘breakthrough’. So different than academic publishing where one connects with a publisher at a conference, discusses an idea, writes a prospectus, signs a contract, and then writes the darn thing. In academia, books confer status to authors and universities. Publish or perish. But they don’t sell many copies. They don’t make much money. Commercial markets are the opposite: books are commodities and so authors and publishers cultivate readers and develop their brands.

Despite my trepidation, I had developed talking points to do for my 90-second pitch during a ten-minute meeting with a potential agent. I knew this was the way. Publishers won’t talk with agentless authors unless they have already published. But then all my hopes were dashed. In the middle of the conference, they announced the agent I was supposed to meet with later that afternoon hadn’t arrived yet and therefore I was unlikely to keep my appointment time with her. My heart sank. What to do? I went to the front desk. They assured me I’d get an appointment with someone else. Next month. But, not today. All the other agents appropriate for my genre were booked.

I rationalized. Maybe this was not to be. Maybe that agent was the wrong person for me. Boy, did my doubts and fears then take over? Maybe it was an omen. I was pursuing the wrong path. And because of that, I attracted the wrong energy to my quest, turning the abundant Universe against me. Then guilt arrived. Given all the turmoil in the world, why was I engaged in such a frivolous pursuit? A vanity project at best.
A week passed. I emailed the conference coordinator. He’d provided me with a list of other agents they could contact on my behalf whom I could meet online. I emailed him directly. Told him whom I wanted to meet with. I waited. No answer. What was going on? Was it all a con? I realized I was not processing this well. A no-show by someone who I didn’t even know was not going to deter me. But maybe blaming others or myself or mysterious circumstances was not working for me either.

I went to my Yoga class. The facilitator had us focus on becoming one with a great green ball of light within us. I became one with that energy. Got lighter and brighter. “We overcome fear with faith”, she said. “Going deep within we begin to know who we are and what we must do.” The Way of Mastery (Shanty Christo Foundation) echoed those teachings. “Go within. We are one with God.” When we let all those ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and “whys’ fly away we feel that passion to stay on our quest come back, that love of what we do reignite, wiping away our fear of failure. Faith over fear. We have the power within us to follow our path and overcome all obstacles.

After the Yoga class, something clicked for me. I now saw the conference was a portal, not a dead end. I went over all my notes. There were many other agents present there. They all had websites. Now I remembered that there were even instructions on how to write them a query letter. How to connect without a direct connection. How to interest someone in what I was writing.

I looked over the emails that I had gotten from the conference director. I had missed an important point. He had said to not contact him directly but to go to his program director to get my pitch session rescheduled. In my rush to ‘fix’ something I’d missed that. I shot off an email to the right person knowing that all was well. I received a reply and will continue to receive all that I need. I realize my intuition is guiding me. Wherever I go, and whatever I do, the Universe showers abundance upon me guiding me through darkness to the light.

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