👎 Mutually Assured Rejection, Part Two
Five tiny sentences, two strikes out. Only one way forward . . .
Read Part One here first, if you haven’t already:
On March 1, 2021, my literary agent sent the proposal for what was then called Delightfully Tiny Teams to The Publisher, after two months of editing and feedback.
“Eee!” I wrote in my journal that day. “So curious how this will all unfold . . . got to stay open, smart, and surrendered. Not sure what amount of money is worth the added complexity, coordination, and reduced freedom — but I’d be proud to do a deal.”
I was trying to sell two things to pave my way forward: a new book, or half of my business. I would take either one, or both, if that’s how the cards might fall.
On March 5, after trading a handful of emails about my goals and business financials, I got my answer from Tiny, the venture capital firm celebrating “wonderful Internet businesses.”
Ten years of pouring sweat equity into my business to make it as strong as I possibly could, particularly with the Pivot book launch and related scalable income streams, yielded two tiny sentences:
Thanks. At this point I think the business is a little too small and outside of our circle of competence to be a fit but I appreciate you thinking of us!
Later that afternoon, the Publisher wrote back:
We love Jenny, we love Pivot, we’d love to work with her again, but we don’t think this is the book / big idea.
“My heart hurts,” I wrote in my journal that afternoon. “It’s all so vulnerable. I know it’s all unfolding for the best of course, though.”
I tried to console myself, yet felt utterly deflated.
Now even more was riding on the outcome of The Publisher meeting.
As per my previous book contract, they had the first right of refusal on the new proposal, so my agent and I only set up this one pitch meeting to start.
The night prior, Michael and I had a lovely dinner celebration at Lucciola, a quiet dimly-lit Italian spot on the Upper West Side. We walked home through Central Park, stopping to watch a quirky outdoor comedy show. Upon returning home, we picked Ryder up from a play date at his dog friend Lucky’s house a few buildings from ours.
Despite my nerves, I was feeling lucky too.
In 2010, when I was selling my first book proposal with this same agent, I flew to New York City to meet with publishers on the swanky high-up floors of their offices overlooking Central Park. To have a meeting with a publisher at all was an unimaginable dream.
Now I lived in this great city, but we’d meet via Zoom. It was more economical and health-conscious for all in a pandemic-afflicted world. Still, I reminded myself, be grateful: I am meeting with one of the most iconic publishing houses in the world.
It’s hard to be iconic on Zoom.
My first sign something was off: