The Kingdom 1: Rejection

Here we go again. Welcome to the blog blast of the section that I call The Kingdom from the book Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep. The Kingdom is an explanation of the work itself. You can’t understand any writer unless you know their work. So today we begin at 6 p.m. and I will release one blog every two hours and fifteen minutes. That means we’ll finish the story of my work and its future, my work and its past, at 7:30 on Sunday evening. There are some crazy things in here. Some setbacks we never could have made it past without the people who care about me. There are some crazy things in here. Plans that I have and things that I’m doing that, simply put, are impossible. But everything’s impossible until it’s finished, until it’s been done or accomplished. There are some crazy things in here. Dreams so wild and so immense that to think they’re within reach you have to be a little unhinged. And while reading this small collection of blog posts, you’ll hear the rantings of the Lunatic of Fantasy. You’ll find in these posts the past, present, and future of the writing of Jesse Teller.

Liefdom was rejected 119 times.

I sent Adam back to his house in view of the Wasteland. His plan was to write “The Judge” tonight and call the Bards and Scribes section done. When I saw him title the document “The Lunatic,” I knew we were in trouble. I knew he would burn himself, showing all of you what we all see. I knew when he was done with that chapter, if he did it any justice at all, then it would be an evening-stopping event. But I don’t tell Adam what to write, and I don’t tell him when to bring it all back. I don’t get in his way. “The Judge” will be written, because you need to see the woman who gives us hope and shows us every day not to give up on what we are building. But that chapter will come later today or tomorrow, because Adam is done for the night.

This is Prince and I am going to try to show you what he has done. He disobeyed me. And he did exactly what I told him to. In those two actions, he gave us a life. First let’s look at what I told Tier when he was building Adam to take over all of it.

I went to Assassin’s desert because I had heard what all of us heard. Tier was building a replacement to all of us and that alter would be given the world. I needed to be involved.

Assassin doesn’t like me. He hates the way I broke Artist down. He hates the disrespect I show Artist every day when I tell him what he can and can’t do in his work. So when I got there, Assassin was furious to see me. But I didn’t care. No one scared me then. No one scares me now but Adam, so that day I stared the killer down and told him I needed to speak to Tier.

“Tier is busy with something.”

“Yeah fucker, that is why I am here. Get him out here now or I am not leaving,” I said.

“Well then, you can wander this desert, unable to get back to your tower, but you will never find my servant.”

“No fucker, you don’t understand. None of you ever understand. I’m not leaving. I am not walking back and giving it all over to Adam until I talk to Tier. Your little project will fall to shit when I don’t leave and it is just Adam and me walking around this world.”

“I will force you to go,” Assassin said.

“Yeah, and how well did that go for you when you tried it last? I was created to go see The Genius then you all told me to leave. But here I am, fucker. Here I stand. You can’t make me leave, and I am not going to obey any of you until I talk to Tier.”

When Tier came to see me, I told him I had things I wanted to tell Adam before it was all done. Things he would have to vow to obey or I was not leaving. Tier did not fight me on it. He heard what I had to say and walked away unfazed.

But when Adam was raised, he came to the foot of my tower in the Wasteland and I met with him there.

“I need your vow. I need you to give me your word before I go that things with this career will be handled how I would handle them.”

Adam said nothing, he just nodded at me to continue.

“No self-publishing. I want a traditional publishing contract or nothing. You write until you are good enough, then you submit. Not before, not after. When you are ready and you have created a product you feel proud of, you submit, but don’t force your work on the public if it is not ready.”

“I can do that.”

“And we leave no brain baby behind.”

Adam lifted an eyebrow.

“Everything we write is important. I will not stand by and let any of it get trunked. No work is abandoned. Everything goes out. If you hold back a book because you don’t believe in it, write better until you do. If I hear that you have thrown anything out, I am coming back and they have nowhere to hide you from me,” I said.

Adam shook my hand, then he left.

Well Liefdom was not ready after The Genius got ahold of it and butchered it. And we were not ready to rewrite it. Anything we did to it would just make it a shinier piece of shit, so we set it aside and we kept writing.

That was in 2011. We had been writing at that point since 2004. We took a break long enough for Bekah to grunt out a few kids, then we went back to it. But in 2012, we all left and Adam became the man. The work became his life and he started pumping out books.

He got to the place I had told him about. Got to where he believed in the work he was doing. But he did not know how to rewrite a book, so he pulled out Chaste. He read a chapter, then opened a blank document and rewrote it. Like this, he formed Chaste into what it is now. When he was done with that project, he had created his method of revision. So, armed with that knowledge and the writing ability he had been crafting for years, he rewrote Liefdom.

He saw a problem with the first five pages. Something I didn’t see, and he pushed them back in the book and wrote a prologue. He reimagined things so much and the final product he created; he was proud of. The time I had told him about was at hand.

He started to submit.

He and Bekah found a database of all the agents they could and they submitted to three. Two days later, they submitted to three more. The rejection letters kept rolling in and they kept submitting. When they had submitted to 119 agents they quit. When the last of the rejection letters came in, they fell silent.

Both thought about it for a long time, then Bekah found a contest.

It was called Kindle Scout. It might not be a was, it might still be an is. But I can’t be sure. At the time, the idea was pretty simple. You submit your book to the contest then you run a campaign. If your campaign is successful, you are given a publishing contract, and they will promote your book, take 50 percent of your profits, and you have won. The contest had a web page with links to all the contestants. The contestants’ pages had the blurb, that description you find on the back of the book, and the first chapter or two.

Your job as a contestant is to drive traffic to that page and get people to vote you up. If you can get high enough, you can win and that’s it.

Bekah is a graphic designer. We have said it a few times, but it bears saying again because she is so fucking good at it, and this is her bag. She has to come up with daily graphics to post on social media outlets that drive people to that page. Then the page has to be good enough to get a vote. So Bekah and Adam began their Kindle Scout campaign, and it rolls like a steam engine through the house. Through the internet really.

The winners of the past contests got 1000 to 1500 votes. Liefdom got 2500. And it lost. The winners were all people who had self-published and had a lot of ratings. They were established writers on Amazon. We had fallen and right before a trip to Waynesville.

Adam checked the results, told Bekah they had lost, and she didn’t believe him. They thought it was a cinch. The contest was all but won. But Bekah and Adam had failed again.

Now at this point any other writer would have to switch focus over to a different book. Liefdom is a failed project. It has to be trunked. That is what even I would have done. It is obvious the world does not want this book. I would have walked away, worked on publishing Chaste and prayed for the day I had gained enough fame to maybe bring Liefdom out for another run at it. But Bekah and Adam came up with a different way.

Adam broke a promise to me as he kept a different one. He decided to self-publish Liefdom and not let it go dark. See he had promised me he would never self-publish, but he never gives up on something he believes in, and this book, he believed in.

They needed a cover. Bekah had an idea for a cover that ended up being quite beautiful, but that first cover was only beautiful after you read the book and knew what it was. She would later come at it again and create a stunning cover that was a runner-up in a different contest.

We needed words. Well I knew an artist who was a big supporter and he had drawn and inked a picture of Gentry Mandrake, the hero of Liefdom. When I asked him if he would do the lettering, he did. But he had drawn a picture of Gentry Mandrake years before and he based the lettering on a departure he had taken in his picture. The title Liefdom on the book is not from my creation or based on my character at all, but on his slant of my character.

See that is how narcissistic he is.

But the lettering was beautiful, and free, so Bekah and Adam didn’t complain. They took what they got and they made it work.

They needed reviewers. Well everyone wants reviewers and there are so few. As soon as a reviewer decides to start reviewing, they are instantly swarmed with review requests and they get behind fast. Those who promise to review every book sent to them get so burnt out that they just end up quitting altogether.

The review requests Bekah sent out were largely ignored. A trickle of reviews came through and everyone ranted about it. Liefdom was hailed as one of the great books to come out that year and it still holds a higher than four-star rating.

There was one chick who hated it with a passion, but you are always going to get that.

Adam kept his promise to me and never gave up on the book he believed in. Liefdom slid off the unrelenting slush pile into obscurity and all hope was lost. But Adam was willing to break the other promise to me to get it out.

It is still championed as a great book.

But that happens. Good books get rejected every day. Every agent will tell you so. Every publisher will agree. But what hardly ever happens is after 119 rejections does the writer still believe in his work so much that he puts it out anyway.

That is rare.

That is Adam and Bekah.

This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep, available on Amazon.

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