Staying true to yourself means acknowledging who you are, paying attention to your moral compass, and honoring the mission that you’re on. It means not letting pressure or expectations, whether self-imposed or externally created, lead you to cut corners and do things you’ll regret. Staying true means you’re willing to pay a short-term price for a long-term gain.
And so it was that I found myself with an offer from a publishing house for my manuscript. Of course I was elated that someone wanted to transform my story into print and make it available to the public. All the hard work of the past two years was about to pay off – finally! Yes, I was convinced that Dean Koontz and John Grisham were about to meet their literary equal.
However, as our negotiations ensued, I discovered that the opportunity to turn my dream into a reality came with a price. The publishing house really liked my story, but they wanted me to make three changes to the manuscript as a condition of publication. Suddenly, I had to choose between images of seeing my book at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com and walking away and starting the querying process all over again. After requesting some time to think on it, I made my decision. One of the changes I agreed to, the second I wasn’t really enthused about but I offered a middle ground position and tried to meet the requested change half-way. The third change I just couldn’t make since it would’ve radically changed the dynamics of the story.
The publisher promptly walked away.
So, I’m back to the grindstone again, toiling away at making the manuscript the best it can be and looking for the right agent or publisher. Will I ever get another bite at the apple? Maybe. Maybe not. But the least I can say is that I stayed true.