Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Protect Yourself - Savita Kalhan

Protect Yourself

Earlier this year I suffered a major knockback – the book that was supposed to have been published in Spring 2013, with ARCS and cover ready by this summer was returned to me when a signed contract was cancelled abruptly after a takeover. From all the wonderful messages of support I received, I know that this has happened to many writers and that I am not alone.

In seconds, my glee, excitement and anticipation of the amazing year ahead was crushed by an overwhelming gloom and despondency that surprised and shocked me. I allowed myself to wallow in it for about a week. Of course I know that there are far worse things that could have happened, but, professionally, this felt like the worst. Even though it was not down to me but a business decision made by the not very far-sighted suits who took over a wonderful publishing house with an exceptional list and great authors, didn’t make it any easier.

Eventually, I did what I knew I had to do - I picked myself up, dusted myself down, opened a new file on my laptop and gave free rein to my imagination.

This year has felt much like being on choppy seas, but luckily I have a life jacket. When I first met my agent, she said, “Develop a thick skin – it will protect you,” and she was right. It’s very hard to protect yourself against professional disappointments, but I know that without a life-jacket it would be impossible. Being part of the SAS and getting to know other teen/YA writers who have become friends, I have discovered a support network that is incredible and I am very grateful for it.

So, yes, it is important to find ways to protect yourself as far as you can.

I’m at the Olympic Park today, watching the athletics, so forgive me if I am late responding to any comments.


Sue Purkiss said...

That must have been so hard. Good luck, and enjoy the athletics!

Katherine Langrish said...

It must have been a terrible blow - I'm glad to hear you're beginning a new book. Good luck with it!

Stroppy Author said...

Well done for picking yourself up again, Savita. And don't forget that, in few months, you can find another home for the poor homeless book.

Nicola Morgan said...

Savita, I empathise with this more than you can know. In my case it took a year to pick myself up and during that time it felt as though my only emotions were fear and anger. But, as they say, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I'm stronger. And so are you. Well done. Onwards and mostly upwards, eh?

JO said...

Thank you for having the courage to post this, and to be so honest about the way it made you feel. And your determination not to allow this to defeat you is an inspiration. I hope you have plenty of wine and cake to see you through the bleak days.

Lynda Waterhouse said...

I completely agree that having supportive author friends is a great way to protect yourself and like Nicola I too can empathise.It took me a long while to be fighting fit!Hope you find the Olympics inspiring

Penny Dolan said...

Glad you have gained the strength to carry on, despite all the hurt - and an essential story for anyone setting out on the publishing road so they are warned things can fall apart so easily, even though there are also good times. I think of it as an iron corset, maybe not always comfortable to wear but so strong that the unexpected knife can't slip in. Onwards, Savita, and courage to your new book.

Savita Kalhan said...

Thank you all for your comments, good wishes and support- I really appreciate them.
And as for the athletics today - it was awesome and inspiring. I may not be running a marathon, but I won't be giving up either!