Wednesday, August 11, 2010

18 WOW Wednesday: Terry Johnson

Today, we have another WOW Wednesday post from author Terry Lynn Johnson. Terry has written for numerous outdoor adventure and dog magazines. Her debut middle grade novel, DOGSLED DREAMS, is being released in January 2011. When she's not writing or playing with her dogs, Terry works as a Conservation Officer in Whitefish Falls, Ontario. You can see her in action in her first vlog - rolling her kayak for joy with the agent news. Or catch her at her web site or her blog. Give her a warm welcome, everyone!

Thank you Rejection!
by Terry Lynn Johnson

Getting my hopes up

When I met Agent A at a writing conference - one that I had driven for eight hours specifically to meet, I was encouraged that she asked me to send her my full manuscript. Not long after she replied with a long list of suggestions for a rewrite. The suggestions made the manuscript so much better. I worked at it excitedly, polishing to a shiny gloss before I sent it to her again. I was convinced she would love it too and I'd have an agent as soon as she could read it.

The rejection that followed knocked me down for a few days. This seemed harder to take than any other rejection. I think because I had been so close.

Getting back on the horse

Luckily I didn't give up. I had strong faith that THIS was the manuscript. This time, I thoroughly researched six more agents. One of the agents I did not have to research. This was my dream agency - the one that if I stood on my tip toes and reached as far as I could, I might be able to touch it's lovely hem. My rewrite gave me the confidence I needed to be bold and submit as high as I could see.

I seriously try to avoid obsessing about emails. Really. But thirty minutes after I submitted, I began refreshing. Why am I setting myself up for another crushing blow? Just forget about it! Ten minutes later, I had a response from THE agent. She wanted to see the full.


Little bit of luck

I don't think I need to explain how long the next two weeks felt. But the day I heard back from Caryn Wiseman has been seared into my brain as one of the most giddy and delicious feelings of joy EVER.

She had read it on the plane from BEA - where she had heard that survival stories are IN. (yes, I wrote a wilderness survival story) And she loved it.

This is where I must reflect back to the run of luck that led me to success.
  • If I had submitted the original to Caryn first, I may not have got my dream agent.
  • If I had not met, submitted and rewrote for Agent A, I may not have got my dream agent.
  • If I had not received a rejection from Agent A, I would not have got my dream agent.
  • If I had sent the manuscript at a different time, I may not have got my dream agent.

Sometimes, the stars are aligned for you and everything falls into place. Your next rejection may be the start of your wildest dreams.


  1. So true! We all need those rejections in order to grow. I'm so happy for you Terry!

  2. This is so true and something we all need to hear often!! Rejections can be a blessing in disguise!

  3. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. Glad it worked out so well for you.

  4. This is a great reminder! It's horrible to get one's hopes up after an agent requests a full ms, only to get them dashed, but it's all part of the process. (sigh--LOL) Even worse to get rejected after a revision (I did a couple for editors back in the 1990s that got rejected), but after we pick ourselves up off the floor, we revise and keep going. Thanks for the glimmer of hope in this story, that it can happen to us too!

  5. Love this quote: "Your next rejection may be the start of your wildest dreams."

  6. Thank you for all your comments! And thanks Martina and Marissa for all your hard work.

  7. Thanks for sharing, Terry! What a great story. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person ;o)

  8. What an awesome story - I can't imagine how wonderful that must have felt! Congatulations again!

  9. Thanks for sharing this story. I think if we can all start thinking of rejections as one step closer to acceptance, it makes the whole process more bearable.

  10. Wow, this is encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Oh man, that combination of good story, good writing and good timing. Congratulations!

  12. What a great success story! This just goes to show that timing, talent and perseverance are everything in the writing world. Congrats, you totally deserve it!!

  13. I love this, Terry! Isn't it interesting how our work can grow from rejection? And publishing really is a small world. One agent that rejected me made the point of congratulating me once I sold my book.

    Glad to hear survival stories are in!!

  14. This sounds so much like my story that I had to check the blog address to make sure this was someone else. :) I'm glad you've found THE agent. It means everything in the world to have an agent that believes in your writing, doesn't it? Stars really do align.

  15. No words can say how much I loved this post! Such an inspiring story! You're right - sometimes what seems like a bad turn really can be the best possible thing that could happen. Of course, it wasn't just luck - it looked like you worked hard for your success, too!

  16. Thank you for your post. It's encouragement came at a perfect time - right on the heels of a sour rejection. Wise words that I will keep with me!


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