Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. . . .

For some reason, it seems Sarita and I are called upon to encourage more young people than just our own children.

Today I wrote a letter to a young woman who seemed discouraged about pursuing a job she said she wanted. . . .
When I was writing my book, Dating With Integrity, I spent, on average, two hours every day, six days a week, nine months out of the year, for five years straight, writing . . . and rewriting (five complete write/rewrites).

Each year, after nine months, I thought I was done. I would send the manuscript off to various publishers. By the time the book was finally accepted for publication, I had submitted it to 45 different publishers. Of those 45, I submitted to 25 of them twice; and of the 25, I submitted it three times.

Of all the submissions--except two the last (fifth) year--none came back with any encouraging word. Most of them included what I came to realize was the standard "brush off": "We are sorry to inform you; your manuscript does not meet our publishing requirements at this time." Virtually nothing more. Just that one sentence.

And then, about a month and a half after I submitted the manuscript to a bunch more publishers that fifth year, the editor at one of them called me up: "I am really excited about your manuscript. . . ."

And then, about a week and a half later, a second publisher contacted me as well: "We think we would like to publish your work. . . ."

Interesting. In neither case was it a first-time submission. In fact, the final publisher was the second of the two who expressed interest, and they had rejected me (just like all the others) three years prior.

"What changed?" I asked. "Why would you have not been interested three years ago, but now you (the owners) are expressing such great interest?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, we had another book under contract three years ago by another author and it was supposed to deal with the subject in a very similar manner. . . . So, having that contract, we weren't in a position to acquire your book as well. . . . However, that deal fell through. The author never produced what he had promised. So when we saw yours . . . !"


Oh. And I should throw in one more thing: During most of the time I was working on the book, Sarita kept saying to me: "Why are you wasting your time on that book? No one will want to read it! . . ."

Why did I keep writing?

Because I sensed I needed to. No one else was sharing the message.

Again, Hmmmmm.

POINT to all of this: If you believe in something, you need to "keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking . . . until the door opens."

It's true for getting jobs. It's true for selling stuff. It's true in virtually all of life.


Sarita and I told Jonelle another story. About her brother.He was wait-listed for the college of his choice. But he really wanted to get in.

So I told him to start calling the admissions office every day. (Yes, every day!)

And he began to do that: "Hi. This is Justin Holzmann. I'm really interested in going to [Name of college]. I just wondered what I could do in order to improve my chances for getting in? . . . Should I re-take the SAT? . . ."

Next day: "Hi. This is Justin Holzmann. I've been wait-listed and I really want to come to [Name of college]. I'm wondering: would it help if I were to have some teachers send additional letters of recommendation or . . . ?"

Next day: "Hi. I'm wondering how I might improve my chances of being admitted this fall. I'm on the waiting list . . . . "

"Are you Justin Holzmann?"

"Yes. . . ."

"Well, Justin, we're really not able to tell you anything different from yesterday. I know you're in the pile of applications, but we simpy have no more dorm space. . . ."

Next day: "Hi. This is Justin Holzmann. I called yesterday and you said there was no more dorm space. I'm wondering . . . "

Next day: "Hi. This is Justin Holzmann . . . "

Next day: "Hi. . . ."

Every day he'd say something different, ask some new question, make a comment about his interests.

Eventually he found out the wait-listed students weren't even in a priority order.

I don't know if he suggested, or whether the woman in Admissions finally decided to take matters into her own hands, but she said, "Justin. I'm taking your application right now and placing it on the top of the pile in the Director's office. If a space opens up, you will be first in line. . . ."


And sure enough, he received a call a few days later. . . .

So. Once more. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. Keep asking. . . . Eventually the door will be opened. . . .
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