Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Throwback Thursday, Rochelle B. Weinstein


LUCY BURDETTE: Today it's a pleasure to introduce Rochelle Weinstein with some absolutely wonderful advice for surviving the writing and publishing rat race. But it also goes for life! Welcome Rochelle...



ROCHELLE WEINSTEIN: The date was June 29, 2017. I had dinner with a fellow author at a lovely restaurant in Banner Elk, North Carolina. My third novel had released the year before and my fourth was slated to release in 2018. Before that, my self-published works released in 2012 and 2013. Dinner with Rebecca Warner is always brimming with author talk—sharing tidbits about the business, our latest reads, the ups and downs of the industry. 

Upon returning home that evening, I ventured onto Publisher’s Marketplace in search of something I now have the faintest idea what. As a lark, I did what we tend to do online, searched for myself, clicking on the Bestseller tab, which was sure to say: no bestseller status available. But there it was. What We Leave Behind, my first self-published work featured on the USA Today Bestseller list. #145. But I was only finding this out three years later. Talk about an epic Throwback Thursday.


I tell this story because it highlights my journey to publishing and some of the best of advice in the business: never giving up. Backtrack. When I sat down to write What We Leave Behind, I had no formal training (unless voracious reader counts) and I was merely filling time during a year-long severance. Doors didn’t open for me—they slammed—and when I made the decision to self-publish, I had specific goals for my work. The Mourning After followed a similar path, and with robust sales and a community of readers and fans, I sought an agent for my third novel, Where We Fall. They say the third time’s the charm, and I secured an agent and a publishing deal.  

Never during that time of disappointment and hustle did I know about the bestseller status. I had been diligently working on Somebody’s Daughter (my fourth novel) doing what I loved, going going going. And it raises the question: What if I had given up? What if I had walked away after that first door closed? Rebecca texted me the next day. “The puzzling thing is, Rochelle, you didn’t have this accomplishment to bolster you through some tough times, and you pushed through. What does that say about your capacity to go to great heights?”

There. That. 

Yes. My self-published title, my little engine that could, hit a bestseller list. I didn’t have that to hold onto. I didn’t know what I was capable of. But I kept going. Moving. Writing. Listening. Learning. Trusting. Dusting off the bruises.  

Anyone who has been in the trenches knows the sting of rejection, the vulnerability (or stigma) associated with self-publishing, and the vast challenges we face as writers competing in an over-saturated market. Many writers don’t have accolades or career milestones boosting them through the rough patches, so what I’ve learned from this experience is that it’s what we do with the hard times, how we handle the pitfalls, that ultimately measure our success. If you’re a writer in the trenches, focus on your goal and ignore the voices saying you can’t. It’s a wild ride with highs and lows, but if you stay the course you are bound to land where you were supposed to. And soar.

 

How do you react to rejection? Do you easily get frustrated and give up? Or do you let the misery in, experience it, and get back on the saddle? Do you know why you write? The goals you have for your work? The best advice I can give: the difference between success and failure is the never giving up. Onward. 


About the Author

Rochelle B. Weinstein is the USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of emotionally driven women’s fiction, including When We Let Go, This Is Not How It Ends, Somebody’s Daughter, Where We Fall, The Mourning After, and What We Leave Behind. Rochelle spent her early years, always with a book in hand, raised by the likes of Sidney Sheldon and Judy Blume. A former entertainment industry executive, she splits her time between sunny South Florida and the mountains of North Carolina. When she’s not writing, Rochelle can be found hiking, reading, and searching for the world’s best nachos. She is currently working on her seventh novel. Please visit her at rochelleweinstein.com.

About WHEN WE LET GO: When Avery Beckett is proposed to by Jude Masters, a widowed father and the man she loves, it should be a time of great joy. Instead, Avery is on edge. She’s wary of the idea of family, doubtful of happy endings, and too afraid to take the leap. It’s the kind of fear that comes from having secrets. Before Avery commits to a new life, she must reconcile with the one she left behind.

When Avery returns to her childhood farm in the North Carolina mountains, she’s surprised to be saddled with a companion: Jude’s teenage daughter, Elle, who’s grappling with the loss of her mother and the complicated emotions of first love. On a path of mending wounds and breaking down walls, Avery and Elle form an unexpected alliance. It’s giving them the courage to move forward. And for Avery, everything she needs to confront the past.

An emotional tale of mothers and daughters, loss and acceptance, When We Let Go is about the lessons that come from heartbreak and the healing it takes to embrace the joy of a second chance.



50 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new book, Rochelle. [And congratulations on that bestseller . . . it must have made your heart smile when you discovered it.]

    I’m not particularly good with rejection, but I’m also not one to give up, so I’m nodding in agreement with your advice about never giving up . . . .

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 2:15 AM

      Rejection is the worst, and we all go through it. Keep going! That's all you can do.

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  2. I can see how that would be a blessing. You kept working hard and didn't have any expectations for the later books. But discovering it is also a huge boost - people really are buying your stuff.

    Interesting story. Thanks for sharing it.

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  3. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 2:17 AM

    Agree! And yes, it was a huge boost, but we can't rely on external factors to guide us through this journey. It's all inside of us.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your story, Rochelle. I think for those of us who HAVE to write, persisting is the only path.

    I've been relatively fortunate in my ten years of being published, with several popular ongoing series, and I work hard every day at this job - which I love. I've also been dropped by publishers, had more than one great idea for a new series shot down, and am still struggling to craft a new historical mystery that will sell. It's never smooth sailing, but I have no intention of quitting!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:01 PM

      Thanks for sharing. Isn't it interesting how many of us have experienced these ups and downs? Every single one of us. What is it they say? You're only as good as your last book? Sad but true, and you're right. We just have to keep plugging along. Best of luck to you!

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  5. ROCHELLE: Congratulations on learning about the bestseller status for your first self-published book. Although you didn't know about it until much later, it's nice to get that affirmation that your efforts were worth it.

    Like most others, getting rejected is may be hard on the ego but I am also incredibly stubborn. In my (former) 25+ year research career at Environment Canada, I had to submit multiple research proposals each year for external funding. Some proposals were short, easy pieces I could do on my own while others were a huge undertaking requiring a large team of collaborators. And while the funded research project was being done and/or completed, I had to submit short abstract for oral presentations at scientific conferences as well as manuscripts to peer-reviewed academic journals. I had a good handful of rejections there, too. I/our team just had to regroup, and try again, usually to a different journal or conference.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:03 PM

      Sounds like a ton of work, but you kept going! Thank you for sharing. I believe the journey...the ups and downs...are all part of our success. Personally and professionally.

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  6. Congratulations, Rochelle. Your story is inspiring. As a reader, I assure that we are all the richer when a writer perseveres and succeeds. I am certain that it was much harder to proceed on a path without knowing that you had already accomplished something remarkable, but that realization had to be a stunning affirmation of your abilities. Amazing!!

    Your new book sounds like a great read.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:03 PM

      Thank you! This means a lot. ❤️

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  7. Well done Rochelle, thank you for your candid essay. I applaud your success as a writer of merit. The old cliche 'quitters never win, and winners never quit" does apply to so many efforts, no? More important though for me, was you saying to us"I had specific goals for my work". Setting a goal, moving beyond intention towards accomplishment is so hard for many. In my case, rejection at times inspired me to say: imma gonna show them! What really happened was I showed me. I was not what 'they said I was. I was better because I knew who I was. I am so happy that your readers found you, and supported your talent. Thanks for stopping by JRW's. Best wishes with the new work.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:04 PM

      Okay so I LOVE your quote: I'm not showing them, I'm showing ME. That is brilliant. Thank you so much for being here and welcoming me.

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  8. ROCHELLE: Congratulations on your new novel and welcome to JRW. Rejection is part of life. After I experience the rejection, I get back on the saddle. If it is something that I really want to do AND I'm aware that I CAN do it, then I do not give up. I got so many rejections from law schools that I decided to take paralegal courses. I told myself that even if it was not law school, I would still learn something about law. Now I am working for a law firm.

    Diana

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:05 PM

      I love this! I think sometimes a NO means NEXT OPPORTUNITY, and didn't you find yours?!

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    2. Yes! When one door closes, another door closes, right? I love your phrase!

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  9. Great words of advice, Rochelle, and congrats on the bestseller list. I tend to give disappointment its five minutes then I move on. No sense wallowing.

    My own goals are pretty modest: I want people to enjoy my stories. If one person gets a few hours of entertainment out of one of my books, I've succeeded.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:07 PM

      That's a wonderful, realistic goal to have for yourself. It takes one reader to reach out with words of encouragement or how you IMPACTED their life. That is ALL.

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  10. Rochelle, congratulations (belatedly) on the bestseller! What a thrill that must have been, even then. I will hold tight to this nugget as I turn more attention to writing in my upcoming retirement from my day job.

    Also, from the blurb I think WHEN WE LET GO sounds wonderful! Adding it to my TBR list immediately. Thanks!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:07 PM

      What a lovely group! Thank you for your kind words!

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  11. Hello Rochelle! I wonder, if you'd been aware of that bestseller status earlier, whether it would have simultaneously bolstered your journey as a writer, but also been intimidating? The, Oh No, can I do it again with the current WIP type of pressure? Congratulations on your success--your latest book just got added to my TBR stack!

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    1. I think you make an excellent point, Flora. I can see how that could be intimidating.

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    2. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:09 PM

      You make a great point, one that I've considered often. Here's the thing....in every aspect of my life, I have embraced the negative/challenges/difficulties because they got me where I am today. I would not have chosen any other path. I probably would have had so much internal pressure had I known about the bestseller status. Ignorance is sometimes bliss.

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  12. Congratulations, Rochelle. Ignorance wasn't bliss this time, was it?!

    Selling insurance, which I did for nine years, is an exercise in equal measure of humility and hubris. It's impossible to succeed if you take rejection personally, and unless someone outright said "No", or hung up or slammed the door in my face, I would not give up. And most people didn't say no, they would at least tell me their story and let me show them what I thought they needed for their specific situation. And 19 times out of 20, if I could get to that point I made a sale.

    You can proudly say, Still, she persisted!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:11 PM

      Laughing because I literally just commented above that ignorance is bliss before I read this! I admire you and anyone who picks themselves up after rejection and keeps persevering.

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  13. Thanks for the encouragement, Rochelle. It's so true that rejection does sting, but hope for better news next time, and a stubborn streak can help to push us forward . The motto in my writing group is "Carry on brave souls."
    When We Let Go sounds wonderful, and congratulations on finding out you had a best seller all along!

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    1. Love that, so true Chris! at the end of every meeting, we do say "Carry on Brave Souls." I even borrowed that phrase to put in UNSAFE HAVEN. (Don't be put off by the fact that it's a homeless man's jibbers LOL.)

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    2. I love that! I think I'm going to adopt it.

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    3. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:12 PM

      LOVE THAT! Carry on brave souls! And you know what's even nicer about this? We're all in this together. SOULS not SOUL!

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  14. This is spot on advice, Rochelle, and I wish more new authors would take it. There's a lot of publicity and stories about the rare instant breakouts, and far, far fewer about the "overnight success" after twenty years of publishing. As my agent said when we began to work together, "It's a career, not a book."

    And congratulations on WHEN WE LET GO (and it's absolutely killer cover. I'm jealous.)

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:13 PM

      Thank you! This is definitely my favorite of all my covers. And I agree with your agent. It's a career. And you have to be willing to stay committed even when you've been beaten down.

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  15. Congratulations on your books, Rochelle. I look forward to reading them all. How sweet it must have been to find out about the best seller status, even as late as it was.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:14 PM

      It was wonderful!! Thank you so much.

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  16. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 24, 2022 at 10:11 AM

    This is so brilliant, and so reassuring, and so relevant in every endeavor, isn’t it? You just never know what you don’t know :-) and it might be absolutely wonderful! Massive massive congratulations— And thank you for this much-needed injection of spirit and inspiration!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:16 PM

      And thank YOU for having me, Hank! What a wonderful group of writers who clearly understand we're all in this together. We chose challenging careers, but like anything in life, it takes courage and perseverance to KEEP GOING.

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  17. Congrats, Rochelle! I'm drawing much strength and inspiration from this post. Thank you for what you've written. I look forward to checking out your books!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:17 PM

      Thank you, Alicia! I'm reminded of the many writers who offered their personal stories, and I believe in paying it forward in every way. Best of luck to you!

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  18. Congratulations, Rochelle! Your books sound amazing. Definite must-reads. Your story is inspiring to many struggling authors (like me!). I love the fact that you never stopped moving ahead without knowing your best-seller status! Like my husband always, says, "Keep doing what you're doing. Hard work pays off." All the best to you!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:18 PM

      You know what I love most about your comment? That your husband supports you and cheers you on. That is incredibly valuable in our profession.

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  19. Congratulations and great advice! Never, ever, give up.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:18 PM

      Nope. Never. Not in your personal life or your professional life. You are the boss!

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  20. Congratulations on your success, Rochelle! I can't believe you didn't get the news you were a best seller for three years. But, I'm guessing that is great news whenever you find out. It sounds like your intriguing books follow your advice of never giving up, with characters who mirror your determination.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:20 PM

      That's a great point, Kathy! I do find myself creating characters who ultimately find their inner strength and will!

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  21. Congratulations, Rochelle! Your cover is absolutely gorgeous, too. I was one of the lucky ones, as I sold my first book pretty quickly. But as soon as I finished that first novel I also knew that no matter what happened with it, I was going to keep writing. It's addictive.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:21 PM

      Congratulations to you!! You're an example of how it can happen. And thank you so much. I adore this cover so much!

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  22. Congratulations Rochelle on When We Let Go ! I just downloaded it.
    Timely post as the subject of my women's group tomorrow is: do I feel rejected sometimes and how do I deal with it.

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 24, 2022 at 5:22 PM

      There's no way around it. Rejection stinks. But know you're not alone and all of us go through it. Feel the feelings and pick yourself up. You've got this!

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  23. Welcome, Rochelle! What a great story of perseverance! I love it. As for me, the surest way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can't. Needless to say, I thrive on rejection :) Unrelated info: my oldest son is named Beckett so it's a moral imperative that I read your book. Congratulations on the release! I'm looking for ward to reading it!

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    1. Rochelle WeinsteinMay 25, 2022 at 4:36 AM

      I love that name!!! And I'm with you. I enjoy a challenge so the rejection is often a springboard for working harder and making things happen.

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  24. You are so wonderful, Rochelle! Thank you! xxx And psst, you all. It's not public yet, but Rochelle will be in The Back Room in August--we are SO looking forward!

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