This week I will share the back story of how this blog developed and has morphed into my new book, Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning–to be released May 13 and available later this week (I will post the url here as soon as it is pre-released for ordering through Amazon)! This is the story of my encounter with someone described in Thrive Global as a “Super Agent” –and, she is!–, Linda Langton, president of Langton International Literary Agency and Central Park South Publishing.
After several years of interview-based research and presenting a series of papers about life mapping later published in book form as The ‘Life Map’ as an Implicit Cognitive Structure Underlying Behavior (Edwin Mellen Press, 2011), I developed and co-taught a Humanities course in Colorado with a History professor, Dr. Duvick, called Myth, Reason and Your Life History. This led to the One Thing moment I wrote about last week, a summer writing retreat in Steamboat Springs, CO, during which I created the nub of the book, Your Life Path (Skyhorse, 2018). I continued to write and teach about life mapping for another few years as I attended a series of writing conferences, one near San Francisco; another in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and finally in Newport Beach sometime around 2013. Each conference was worthwhile as it helped me understand what agents and editors were looking for and helped me improve my manuscript proposal. Of course, I was also seeking an agent willing to take on a new author.
The morning I met Linda Langton, I was at breakfast at the conference hotel. I had set up three agent meetings for that day, for which I had sent chapters and a book proposal in advance. As I was leaving the restaurant, this striking lady professional who was standing nearby turned and called out to me: “Colorado?” (she had read from my nametag). Are you Linda Watts?
“Yes,” I stammered, grateful to be acknowledged at all at this large conference event.
She introduced herself and I gratefully thanked her and said I would be seeing her shortly after lunch later that day. I had another agent session set up in the morning.
At the first agent meeting, that lady let me know that she liked my book concept, but she said since I did not have a strong public “platform,” I should establish one and maybe get back to her in six months. I returned to my hotel room, discouraged.
Was this to be yet another conference at which I was to learn more about what I yet needed to do, but no more?
I arrived twenty minutes early for my meeting with L. Langton. Guess what, though? She was already there too, outside the large meeting conference room which was closed during lunchtime. We greeted each other, and she asked an attendant to let us into the room, early!
We sat at her agent table to talk. I started:
“I am really not here just to learn more about what I need to do to make my book better. I am here to find an agent!”
LL smiled and extended her hand across the small table to shake mine. “Oh, I will represent you,” she beamed. (I was struck silent then, absorbing the impact of what this NYC agent had just said, and to me!) Then she continued: “But I can only publish your book if you have a platform. If you have a platform, I can publish your book; if not, I cannot.”
We talked for the rest of our session about how I could go about building a public platform. As a university professor who had published two academic books and several peer reviewed academic articles, I was certainly not a public figure much beyond my small world of students and faculty. Yet, that very morning before coming to the agent sessions, I had been thinking in bed about how I could take another idea forward that I had begun to journal about, the idea of “better endings.” So, when Ms. Langton suggested I could write a blog and join Twitter to help increase my public platform, I told her about the “better endings” concept and suggested I could blog about that! My new agent liked the idea. I left the conference (after cancelling my third agent appointment since I was very happy to be working with LL), boosted and thrilled to have this golden opportunity to further develop the manuscript for Your Life Path, and to start a blog.
That next week, a colleague’s husband who is a scifi writer with his own blog helped me to set up and create my new blog, this one: Better Endings. The ideas here have ranged widely from concepts associated with Your Life Path that connect with living your best life and “living your dream,” to journaling tools for reflecting on the basic theme of “better endings.”
After Your Life Path was eventually published in 2018, a new idea formed: I would write a simpler, narrative plus journaling-based book presenting the creative principle of Better Endings to the public. As a Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning, this new book includes ample lined journaling pages for you to explore and create your own better endings.
What I have discovered through nearly a decade of applying this creative principle in my own life and blogging and then writing about it is, One Thing:
Better Endings are New Beginnings!