I arrived at the bridge but couldn’t find the strength to jump. How did I get there?
Let me tell you my story.
Inspiration struck in 2015, and so I wrote a short story. I wrote to several online journals, and then I finally got a chance with a British based online magazine to publish my story serially. The first episode was a hit and so I discovered that I might have made an error. Bomber Boy deserved to be more than a chapter in another person’s book. After some thinking, I decided to publish it online as an eBook. A very interesting story, it was loosely based on the true events of December 25, 2008, in which a young Nigerian man had boarded a plane bound for the United States of America with a bomb in his underwear. His intentions were clear: blow up the plane, send the 300 people on board to hell.
I was sure that it would become a hit, just as it was well accepted in the British magazine. I excitedly hit the publish button expecting to see my book become a best seller, and my name rise to fame. I thought maybe I could win the Pulitzer!
I was wrong! I quickly learned that if you are going to make any sales you need to do a lot of publicity, and one way to do so is to have good reviews on your book. I started the process of requesting for reviews. That was how my problems started.
The World Loves to Hate
In my searching, I came across a certain American woman who owns a popular blog. Her name is Karen. As the stars would have it she works at the particular Airline where my story was taken from. As a matter of fact it seems that she was quite involved in the sad event from which my story is derived. She had first-hand information about it. I was very happy that she agreed to read my book, and write a review.
It was a disaster! She hated my book so much that she spent all her time calling out even the slightest spelling and punctuation errors. The review was so one sided that it did not see a single positive side in the book it was all about. This woman bashed everything about my book; from the disclaimer I put at the beginning to the way I ended the story. Even though the book was clearly marked ‘Fiction,’ she said my work did not tally with the details of the original event, and put up the ONLY 2 star review on my book page till date. (Just google Bomber Boy: Ike Pius her review is quite prominent. ) She made it quite clear that she considered me and my book a nuisance.
At about the same time another American woman reviewer from whom I requested a review wrote that my book was just an attempt to humanize a extremist. She said that I had no talent, and that I was sympathetic to extremists and their actions. She said this even though I included an Afterword at the back of my book, in which I condemned violence in all forms, and called for more sense from Africa which has become a battleground. I do not believe she even got to the Afterword. She probably saw an African writing a book, and decided to put him in his place. If you google Bomber Boy: Ike Pius you can find her damning review.
Those two reviews have probably killed my chances of successfully marketing that book.
I was Knocked out Cold
Bashing an Author’s writing work is an act of evil. It brings feelings of frustration, dejection, and can even bring extreme depression. In my particular case I stopped promoting my book on twitter and facebook, and I did not even write as little as an essay for months at a stretch. To put it simply I stopped being an Author. I stopped being alive. I wanted to die. That was how I got to rock bottom as I stated at the beginning of this article.
But something happened that brought me back to life.
Karen, the first reviewer I mentioned at the beginning, basking in her success in killing my chances on Amazon, then came back to another book marketing website (GoodReads) to repeat the patriotic action. SHE DID THIS AFTER THE PERIOD OF ABOUT 2 LONG YEARS. I did not ask her to do this, and neither did she ask or notify me. Apparently, she just searched for my book on Goodreads, and said to her self: ‘shoot it down again.’
What Hit the Reset Button on my Brain?
To be honest it was pure rage! I was so angry when I saw her peddling her hate again on goodreads that I did not even realize that I was up and doing again. As electric shock therapy can revive a comatose brain, so was I resuscitated. I saw that I could fight back if I really wanted to, and so here I am- fighting!
Their words have not only sparked my brain into activity, but they have unwittingly given me a story to tell. The rocks that have been thrown at me have now become the steps upon which I climb to become a better writer-a greater writer.
To add icing on the cake, I now consider myself qualified to give words of encouragement to younger ones who might have experienced the pain of rejection for the first time. I do exactly that in the next paragraph.
Keep Pushing, don’t Let them Win
To tell you the truth, I think it takes a lot to become successful as a Black person in almost any field of endeavor. You have to work extra hard! You have to put in the extra effort just to get a chance to show your abilities.
This could sometimes mean writing more job applications, submitting more contract proposals, going to more casting auditions, attending more dress rehearsals, and doing more practice sessions. But the extra work can make you better.
I tell people that I have written more review requests than I can count, and that I have been ignored or rejected well over 100 times-to be modest. This has made me more sensitive to the few opportunities that I have got, and I have been able to build solid working relationships with the few people who have been responsive.
I can confidently tell you that chances will come, and if you seize your moment, you can make it. There is nothing in this world that you cannot achieve if you do not give up.
The Most Important Part of My Story
If I had given up then you would not be reading this post now. I firmly believe that the information contained here will be useful to somebody somewhere. Who knows, it could even save someone’s career.
Furthermore, by not giving up I have met many kind Authors and Reviewers, some of whom have taken a stand with me basically because they have been disgusted by the actions of my detractors.
I have received many words of encouragement from many fine people all around the world, and now I have recovered my dignity and refueled my ambition.
A Summary of my Story
How has rejection been a positive thing for me?
It has inspired me, no, forced me to become a better writer. As a result writing has become for me a real, and profitable venture.
It has forced me to reach out, and to network more with readers and reviewers and now I better understand what readers appreciate.
It has made me more socially aware, more conscious of what is going on in the world.
About the Author : Ike Pius is an Author who wants to feature on every blog in the world. I ask that you read the most touching story I have ever written: When I Went to Hell https://onelovespace.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/when-i-went-to-hell/
Twitter – @IkePius