The closing speaker at Tuesday’s Women on Wall Street conference, Preethni Nair, held me spellbound with her story. It epitomized the theme for the event: “Overcoming Obstacles: Transforming Challenges into Opportunities.”
When she was five, her parents spent eight months of their salary to purchase the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from which her father read British law to her. With that type of pressure, she couldn’t possibly become a writer, so she became a management consultant (but told her father she was a lawyer). For three years she wrote on the subway during her commute, finally submitting a manuscript to publishers and giving four weeks’ notice to her job. Before the four weeks ended, she had rejections from every publisher, but instead of telling her parents that she no longer had a job, she spent the next eight months dressing in a suit and going to the library. She used the money she had saved for a deposit on an apartment to self publish her novel.
She realized she needed a publicist, so she created one from the nickname her brother called her and her mother’s maiden name: Pru Menon. She listed every attribute she wished for in a PR agent and decided that, even though she was an “incredible introvert,” this is what she must become. She spent days alternating between Pru’s character and her own on two separate phone lines. In her words, “Some days were incredibly tedious and boring to be rejected so many times.” Not even her best friend knew about her dual identity.
When a radio interviewer asked her where listeners could find her book, she realized that she’d forgotten the distribution aspect entirely. She answered, “The best bookstores,” and then made the rounds to 200 book shops before she found anyone to carry it on their shelves. When the printer printed 3000 copies of her books, each missing page 172 (or somewhere thereabouts) right before an important publicity deadline, she spent the night gluing page 172 into the 3000 copies.
Eventually she needed a break so she took a six week vacation and finished another novel. An agent agreed to give it a try and called back to say there was so much interest that it was being auctioned. Preethi told how when she and the agent entered the Harper-Collins conference room, she realized that she had already talked to every single person around the table as Pru.
Readers, I realize that this story may appear to have nothing to do with large breasts, but it has everything to do the commitment required to make the perfect product available to you. This kind of story encourages me. I hope it will encourage you in the challenges that you’re facing as well.