January 26, 2012

Made It Moment: Mary Frisbee

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:39 am

Satori Ranch

Here’s a concept that’s probably newer to me than it should be. (In the, Duh, why didn’t I think of that? sense). Mary Frisbee discusses the idea of the changing Made It Moment. And why not? Who says our Moment must be fixed, or even limited to one? We are more aware now than ever that this is a business that does not stand still. Neither does what we view as success.

Mary Frisbee

My “Made It Moment” keeps changing. I thought it had come when I finished my first mystery novel. Then I was convinced it had come when I finally got an agent to represent my second book, Satori Ranch. Like most writers, I have a long and humiliating string of agent rejections behind me and I was sure that signing a contract with an agent was, indeed, the moment.

But the agent left the well-known Los Angeles agency for new horizons and the agency refused to honor our contract. So I got released from their indifferent hands and started over.

A new and significant moment happened when I put Satori Ranch on Amazon and B & N as an ebook. When I look back at my experiences with agents, I wonder what I was thinking, to keep beating my head against the wall for so long. I had followed all the advice out there about polishing my book and querying correctly. I had joined a writing group and honed my prose. But in return all I got were rejection letters and there was no consistency in the reasons for rejection. Instead, there was an overload of contradictory advice. I didn’t even have a clear-cut direction in which to move.

I had a total of three positive experiences with agents – one agent in particular took the time to advise me, but ultimately rejected my books – versus seventeen bazillion bad ones. When I decided to wash my hands of the whole horrible process, I felt such jubilation and freedom that I went out to Seal Rocks Beach and howled like a wolf.

I decided to be a professional. I hired a great editor and I followed her advice. I have a professional photographer in my house and I am a professional artist, so together we designed the book cover exactly as I wanted it. Going this route wasn’t easy. I would still like to publish actual hardbound books. But I am slowly selling ebooks, getting a little attention, readying the second Trout Brooke novel, Puzzle Creek, to go online in January. I am also working on book number three in the series. But no matter what happens, I’ll keep writing because I love it. While there may be more “Made It Moments”, at present nothing tops the one when I actually took control of my writing life.

Mary Frisbee is Montana born and raised, with her early life delightfully split between the outdoors and the arts. She studied art (please visit her website at www.maryfrisbeejohnson.com) and currently teaches drawing at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Her first novel, Satori Ranch, is set in Oregon, and is available as an ebook. The second, Puzzle Creek, set in Montana, is in the production stage, and Mary is currently working on her third novel.


  1. Hey! Cedar Falls! I went to the U. Of Iowa in Iowa City. I think your story is one that is familiar to many writers–the constant search, the constant, and contradictory, rejections. Glad you took your destiny in your own hands! Best of luck.

    Comment by Savvy blue — January 26, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  2. I feel like I could have written this post myself! Almost all of the details in my journey are the same, right down to an amazing photographer in the family who designed my book cover. The main difference is that my agent didn’t leave. It was an editor we were dealing with at Harper Collins who went on mat leave. I spent a whole year working on a revision for her. For what? I’ll never know, but I’m sure we learned to be stronger humans in those years of dealing with agents and publishers. Best of luck with your writing career, Mary! I love the cover of “Satori Ranch” I’m going to check it out now. My book is “The Proper Order of Things”.

    Comment by Tara Benwell — January 26, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  3. I am very happy to read your Moment! It will ring true to so many writers.

    Comment by Judy — January 26, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  4. Hi, Mary: So glad you put SATORI RANCH on Kindle. Good move! I might never have found it otherwise, and, as you know, I put it on my list of 2011 memorable reads. Good luck with the series —

    Pat Browning

    Comment by Pat Browning — January 26, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  5. Love your cover!

    Comment by Sara — January 26, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  6. Mary,

    All of us who write experience rejection on a regular basis–it keeps us humble. I don’t have an agent but would like one. Still, I’ve managed to sell hundreds of short stories, articles and poems on my own, plus eleven published novels. I haven’t self-published since I’m not tech savvy but admire those writers who do.

    Wish you great success with your new novel.

    Jacqueline Seewald

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — January 27, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  7. Mary, I understand that decision to take control of your writing life, which you’ve done so successfully. Best of luck!

    Anita Page

    Comment by Anita Page — January 28, 2012 @ 9:53 am

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