I worked with a client the other day who was frustrated with their agent.
A little back story: The agent hadn’t sent along their newest manuscript to their last publisher who was eagerly awaiting it. The agent had received feedback from another editor and instead of taking a risk and getting more opinions, they sat on it. The writer wasn’t willing to completely change their book based on one set of notes. Totally reasonable. The writer was open to notes, comments, feedback, however, in this business one must understand that not every editor gets you, your book and even wants your book. It may not fit into their platform at the moment. So having multiple sets of feedback helps.
If you get 3 “Nopes” or notes with dramatic changes, ok…it’s time for a rewrite.
The agent stopped after 1 set of notes. It got me thinking…how often do I do that? Stop after 1 “No”. After I’ve sent out a smoke signal and it wasn’t heard, immediately upon being lit. Do I back away and play the blame game?
Ok to be fair, I never back away. I’m sort of on the opposite end of this being heard spectrum, although I do sometimes not feel heard. I tend to just keep banging my fist on the door until someone answers.
The reality is, things take time, they take work, they take patience and perseverance. Do you have perseverance or are you apt to wither away after the first sign of rejection and then blame those that didn’t catch your drift in the first place for not hearing you.
Two things often come up when I’m working with clients around being heard.
- How often do you not “feel heard”?
If this is a regular occurrence then you might want to ask yourself, is it possible that I am addicted to not being heard? Does it validate my feelings of not enough or not good enough. Check in with that….Did you grow up not being heard and now you can use that to feel heard? As in I can now guilt those around me for not hearing me so I get an extra bump of feeling not being heard, with an extra shot of validation that I am right. It’s a dance we do with victimhood and manifestation. This isn’t about letting anyone else off the hook, it’s about building tools for yourself to be heard. It starts with asking yourself if you’re projecting “They won’t listen or hear me” onto those around you before they actually hear you or not. Do you act out the story in your head or what’s actually happening? If you’re honest with yourself, the difference will become clear. Start by telling yourself I have something valuable to say and then look for how people are hearing you. People often don’t listen the way you do, so you might miss it if you’re not open to being heard, if you’re already expecting not to be.
- Do I want to be heard?
Do you do something just enough to be able to say “I did that” so that you can be validated in your story that it was them that didn’t hear you? This feeds back into the “I’m not enough or going to be heard so I can prove that to myself by taking a small step forward and then be right when no one responds.”
This client emailed her agent, they spoke a few times and yet she didn’t take any other action than express herself to this one person. A small step. Even though she knew her previous publisher was asking for the manuscript. She didn’t send it to them. She did fire her agent and then she thought…”I have to get a new agent before I can submit my book”
Is that true? She has a relationship with her publisher. They want to see the book, why doesn’t she just ask them “I just terminated my agent and currently am unrepresented. I am talking to new agents now, do you want to look at it now or wait until my new agent submits it?”
This was a foreign idea to her! The idea that we can represent ourselves, that we can ask for what we want.
I ask for what I want often. And often I am met with shock and awe because most people don’t do that. Often when I ask I get told, I did that and you missed it (Maybe I did) or that’s too much (It probably is) and what I learn each time that is said to me is that I’m probably asking the wrong person.
There is nothing wrong with asking for what you want. Ok so I’m not asking for a hot dude in a Maserati with a gazillion dollars (Maybe II should!). I’m usually asking for my rate, or to be touched or invited. I’m asking for what I need.
Over my lifetime I’ve realized it’s a whole lot easier to answer any request honestly, which is what I told my client.
They are either going to say yes or no.
Be prepared for them to answer with their truth.
They might not be able to say yes because it doesn’t follow their protocol. They might not be able to answer yes because of their own judgement about the ask. They might actually say yes!
But how will you know if you never ask?
My answers for those that are willing to take a risk and ask usually boil down to:
I can’t give you that right now I’m sorry
Anything I might say in between those two answers is about me, not them.
I don’t need to defend myself (as in…I did that yesterday or 5 minutes ago and you missed it) I don’t need to hide behind some lie about why I can’t. Yes or no.
Or I can’t
Or I won’t
Your job is to keep asking
If you keep getting “No” then re-examine your ask and try again….
Can you fulfill your own need?
Why are you asking?
Who are you asking?
Eventually with some conscious awareness, courage and perseverance you’ll find your YES!