Tuesday, January 26, 2016

But I've Come So Far ...

There's no Publishing at the Alamo!

Have you ever had the thought, "Hey, I think I'll write something and just get that published and, you know, just have a published book out there.  That would be cool."

I had that thought once.  I was young.  Eisenhower was in office, I believe.

Well, after having that thought, and writing a book, and another, and another, and after finally getting an agent to take me on, I'm now ... out on submission!

This is next level, people.  I've had my manuscript in the hands of many agents in the business.  It's really gotten around.  Don't judge!  But it finally found it's way into the hands of the right agent, and now she is working to get it into the hands of the right editors at the right publishing houses.  And after a month, I've learned it's currently in the hands of 11 editors.  I've never been on submission before, but that sounds pretty great to me.  Especially since I didn't have to personally beg and whine to get any of them to take it.  I'd gotten quite proficient at that during the querying process, but it's still a chore.

I don't actually know how many editors were contacted during the past month to know if 11 is a good response rate or not.  I suppose if 1,000 editors were approached, I should probably be pretty abashed about the result.  If it went out to 10 and 11 requested then I could probably get a little cocky at this point.  It's probably better I don't know.

In theory, my book is currently in line to be read by 11 individuals holding actual positions within publishing companies with the authority to make me an offer on my book and ultimately get it into print (on paper, digital, skywritten, whatever that means these days).  It's very exciting and also terrifying.  The longer I don't hear anything, the more self-doubt creeps in.  Is it possible for me to actually hear them laughing at me from so many miles away?  Agents were always very considerate and kind in their rejection of my work.  Are editors of a similar ilk?  If many of them are in New York, I've heard talk of these "New York Values" somewhere.  Do these values include a healthy respect for ego coddling of amateur authors?

Hopefully these editors who showed an initial interest in my work won't laugh me right out of the business before I even get a chance to get into it.

I've come this far.  Surely there's a basement in this Alamo with the shiny red bike of a book deal waiting for me! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

This Will Be A Day Long Remembered ...

The Offer of Representation constitutes a binding magical contract!

After a week of patiently waiting (that was funny to type!) for any other agents to come to their senses and offer to represent me, it was time to let my pseudo-agent know that I was all hers!  I think I let her know in a less creepy way than that, but, basically, all roadblocks were lifted.  Truthfully, I was all in the week before, regardless of what anyone else was willing to offer at that point.  I'm a big believer in loyalty.  I was ready to sign on with the agent that had seen the potential in my work and had already gone through a couple of rewrites to help make it shine.  And that agent was Laura Zats with Red Sofa Literary.

When I emailed Laura she offered to put my contract in the mail.  Imagining how uncomfortable it would be sleeping down at the curb under my mailbox the number of days it would take to receive the parcel, I kindly asked if the contract could be emailed.  By the end of the day I had it in hand.  That elusive contract I'd worked so many year (yes, you read that right ... years!) to procure was finally mine.  Mine all mine.  Wahhha wahhaa wahha ha ha ha.

Having already done my research on what to expect and not to expect in one of these agreements, everything appeared to be in good order so I put pen to paper and became a represented agent with Red Sofa Literary.  As soon as the ink dried the sky opened up and everything changed.  Birds sang a little more on key, sugar tasted just a little bit sweeter, blues were bluer, reds were ...

Actually, nothing at all happened.  Anticlimactic, yes?  But that's something I've learned in this process.  Some things take so long to happen, you actually become desensitized by their not happening!  Don't get me wrong, it was still an amazing moment and a monumental step, but it mostly just highlighted the next step.  And the one after that, and so on.  Getting published is a process.  A painstakingly slow process.

Now that I had an agent, there were going to be ... that's right ... more rewrites.  And more rewrites there were.  And should I be fortunate enough to have my manuscript picked up by a publisher, guess what they will want from me.  A lollipop?  No, silly.  More rewrites. Turns out, you don't write a book.  You write a book about a thousand times.  But with contract in hand and a talented and determined agent working on my behalf, maybe sometime this year I'll have the privilege of rewriting my manuscript yet again with the guidance of an editor at the publishing house that has bought my book.

Happy New Year everybody!