Anne Hathaway, Elizabeth Fais, Encouragement, Gary Marshall, Inspiration, Julie Andrews, Laura Langlie, Meg Cabot, My First Sale, The Princess Diaries, Walt Disney Studios, When Lightning Strikes, Writing
I listed a few of these inspirational posts below, in case you missed them. They might be just the thing you need to pull out of the Pit of Despair, or plow through rejections to land an Uber Agent and sign a Shiny Book Deal. You never know. Stranger things have happened.
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Today I’d like to share a true story that has encouraged me to stay the course on my writing journey and keep on keeping on…
The Long Road to “The Princess Diaries”
Whenever we hear about an author that’s become a huge success, it’s easy to be fooled into believing that “it happened overnight”. Like that author drank some kind of secret instant-success formula and never had to work diligently on craft, or suffer the rejections of submission roulette. 99.99% of the time this is so not the case. And certainly wasn’t for Meg Cabot of Princess Diaries fame (and beyond).
I found out just how hard Meg Cabot worked to become a published author, in the article she wrote titled My First Sale. Believe it or not, she slugged through more than her share of rejections on the road to publication (never mind the getting famous part).
In her article, Meg honestly admits that it took her several years (yes, years!) of rigorous submissions, followed by subsequent rejections, before landing her agent, Laura Langlie, who she is still with today. Through it all, Meg saved every rejection letter (before email submissions were the norm) in a US postal mail bag that she kept under her bed. The rejection mail bag ended up becoming so full (with rejections from editors and agents) that it’s now too heavy for Meg to lift.
To this day Meg Cabot admits that she doesn’t know why she didn’t quit. But she didn’t! Much to the delight of her many readers world-wide.
After signing with her agent, Laura Langlie went on to sell one of Meg’s Victorian romances (Where Roses Grow Wild), written under the name Patricia Cabot. But to this day Meg considers landing her agent as her first sale. Other book deals followed, but three years later (at the age of thirty) Meg was still working her day-job and writing when she could make the time.
It was about the time that Meg began writing a book about a 14 year-old girl who discovers she’s a princess. When Meg told her agent about the story, Laura remarked that she thought it would make a great movie. Meg scoffed, but Laura went ahead and pursued Hollywood connections anyway.
Others soon saw the potential for Meg’s princess story too, like the assistant editor at Harper Collins Children’s Books who snapped up the manuscript. Not long after, a call came from Hollywood informing Meg that Gary Marshall wanted to direct the film version of her story and that Julie Andrews signed on to star as the grandmother. Level-headed Meg still wouldn’t believe the hype. That is, not until a check with an awful lot of zeros showed up in her mail box.
You know the rest… Walt Disney Studios produced two Princess Diaries movies, both directed by Gary Marshall and starring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway. And lets not forget the nine bestselling sequels that followed in the Princess Diaries series, or the too-numerous-to-mention other bestsellers Meg Cabot has published since.
All because she didn’t give up!
What impresses me about Meg Cabot is that even after all the success, she hasn’t forgotten what it took for her to get there. I attended a San Francisco book signing of hers a year or so ago, and this is what she wrote in the book that (I told her) helped me find my writing voice. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Need Encouragement? These Posts Rock It!
- How Do We Handle Rejection and Keep on Pressing? — Kristen Lamb’s Blog
- Triumph & Perseverance — Thinking to Inking
What has encouraged you on your writing journey?
If you know of an encouraging blog post that’s not listed above, please add the link in the comments. I’m sure we’ll all benefit from it!