It is my pleasure to share a guest post from author Amy Impellizzeri, who tells us...
BLOG TOPIC: YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST TIME
By Amy Impellizzeri
You never forget your first time.
I had submitted my first ever submission to an Editor about 3 or 4 weeks earlier.
An essay to Brain, Child Magazine - one of my favorites. And I had already practiced telling my success story: “Yes! It’s going to be published by the magazine coined ‘The New Yorker for mothers.’ Isn’t that great news?”
So I’ll never forget sitting in front of my computer staring at the newest inbox entry from the Brain, Child Editor reading my first ever form rejection letter:
We enjoyed reading your piece!
Thanks for submitting!
But oh yeah – “However, we receive many more submissions than we are able to publish and as such we've decided to give it a pass.”
A PASS? What the –
I stared at her words for many, many minutes - that’s a long time to read one sentence over and over again - until I grasped the meaning: No New Yorker for mothers for me.
That was over five years ago, and I have since learned, of course, that submissions are rejected for a host of reasons, including: timing, the wrong fit for a magazine’s current needs, editor indigestion, or – as was the case for my first-ever editorial submission –
It just might not be good enough.
After that first rejection, I clicked back and looked again at my carefully written and lovingly submitted essay, and I saw for the first time what the Editor must have seen. Indulgence. Clichés. Boring writing. Familiar phrases.
I had taken a sabbatical from my successful corporate law career and was ready to embark on a new chapter as a professional writer, zealously jumping in headfirst with all of the confidence and self-assuredness that 13 years of successfully practicing law had ingrained in me. And with one email – one form rejection letter - all that confidence and self-assuredness with which I had embarked on my professional writing career went right out the window.
But don’t worry, that was a GOOD thing.
This was a brand new world I was entering. And it would not be enough that I had been good at being a lawyer. I would now have to be good at being a creative and commercial writer. A new journey. A new world. Arguably, the skills that had served me well previously (over-thinking from every angle, carefully researched words, objective thought, consistent phrasing) would be hindrances in this new world. It was time I realized that. It was time someone told me so.
Thank you Brain, Child Magazine editor.
I set out to polishing some new essays – never publishing – indeed never even submitting again – that first submitted essay. It was never really going to be good enough.
No matter, though.
Other pieces were.
I published in The Huffington Post, Skirt! Magazine, The Glass Hammer, to name a few. And then in 2013-2014, two different publishers agreed to put two of my books in print. Lawyer Interrupted was accepted for publication by the American Bar Association’s publishing arm, and Lemongrass Hope was published by award-winning indie press, Wyatt MacKenzie. It went on to win the Bronze award in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Contest (Romance), and was named the #1 Reviewed book by book blogger The Literary Connoisseur, among other accolades.
And while the wonderful reception of Lemongrass Hope has been a great boon to my new career, the real inspiration as I move forward – continue to write, to revise, to submit - is still that first rejection (and truth be told, others that have followed it).
There’s no place for over-confidence and self-assuredness in the world of commercial writing. The drive to be better is a much more useful tool. And while I would never be foolish enough to hope that none of my submissions are ever rejected again, I do hope for a day when none of my submissions will ever be given a pass because they:
Just weren’t good enough.
by Amy Impellizzeri
Set in the past, and present, Lemongrass Hope is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel. Lemongrass Hope weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. As Kate Sutton's decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob's emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When Kate unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope ... and her greatest fears. Read the book hailed by New York Times Best-selling authors and reviewers, including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Oprah's very first book club selection author.
Benton came and sat down next to Kate. Right next to her. Almost on top of her. Benton was tall and thin, and had long hair the color of Autumn. The right mix of red and brown with flecks of gold. She had friendly eyes and a bright white smile and was dressed all in navy like a banker, even though she looked like no banker Kate had ever met.
“See, I knew it.” Benton had said confidently, waving her long, manicured fingers over the textbooks and handwritten notes scattered across the park table, nearly knocking over Kate’s cup of coffee without apology.
“I told my friend last night that you were not a starving actress. That you were an academic. An intellectual. He said that you were too pretty to be an intellectual – that you were for sure, a ‘wannabe actress.’ His words, not mine, - so gauche no?”
Kate laughed in spite of herself. In spite also of having no clue what this gorgeous but obviously deranged creature was talking about.
Later, she would enjoy telling the story of how she met Benton in Bryant Park over and over again to Ian. He would say, “Wait, show me exactly how she sat down. And you had to actually push your chair back to shake her hand? And you couldn’t remember me? Not at all?”
Fake pout and then tender, long kiss.
Kate would always shake her head, of course, as incredulous as Ian was that she did not remember him as Benton’s dinner companion at Rocco’s that first night.
Especially since that is the night he had always said that he first fell in love with her.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Amy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and best-selling author. In 2009, she left her 13-year litigation career to write and advocate for working women, later joining the executive team of the award-winning website, Hybrid Her (named by ForbesWoman as a “Top Website for Women” in 2010 and 2011). Through her work at Hybrid Her, and as Vice President, Community & Content, for its later re-brand, ShopFunder, Amy worked closely with hundreds of creative and inspiring entrepreneurs and fundraisers, writing and marketing their stories to new audiences.
In October 2014, Amy transitioned to full-time writer, with the publication of her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014), which debuted as an Amazon best-seller (Romance/Fantasy and Romance/Time Travel). Oprah's very first Book Club Selection author and New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has called Lemongrass Hope a "fine and fresh thing - a truly new story." Lemongrass Hope was featured by Library Journal and Foreword Reviews Magazine, and has been a favorite with Book Clubs and numerous Book Bloggers (including as the #1 favorite reviewed selection in 2014 by The Literary Connoisseur). Lemongrass Hope was recently selected as an INDIEFAB 2014 Book of the Year Finalist (Romance) by Foreword Reviews Magazine.
Amy's first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015), is due out Summer 2015. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, Skirt! Magazine, among more.
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