Hi All, the clan and I survived our trip to the Isle of Fire and a smokin’ good time was had by all! Lots of memories were made, and the Duo learned all sorts of new skills–snorkeling, kayaking, and how to out run eels. Did you know being hissed at underwater is just as intimidating as being hissed at on land? Yep, it surely is.
So let me explain the above picture. You’re about to embark upon a very exciting, nerve wracking journey with me. I have received my very first contract offer! Let me take you through the roller coaster ride from day one.
You open your email and have a response from a query you sent, and after all this time you’re getting use to the “we love your characters/world building/plot/ but….” The dreaded “but”, it’s a killer every time. I’ve had “but there’s not enough sex”, “but there’s not enough romance”, “but it won’t make a good fit for us at this time”, the list goes on. I don’t envy editors and agents swimming desperately through their oceans of submissions, because it takes a great deal of patience to make it to shore and find that lone perfect pearl that’s going to shine out in the world. So I owe all those who’ve I queried who’ve been nice enough to say exactly why the book didn’t work, a huge “Thank you”, because without them, all those changes that made the book better wouldn’t have come about. Between them and the Evil 7, they’re what keep pushing me to put words to paper regardless of how many “but”s come my way.
Back to our story, there’s an email from an e-publisher you queried and as I open it with another sigh preparing to read on why my book isn’t going to be a good fit, I start to read. “Thank you for submitting your manuscript, Shadow’s Edge, I enjoyed the manuscript and would like to offer you a contract to publish the book.” It takes me five minutes of re-reading the first line before it sinks in. OMG! They want me (insert Susan Lucci moment here!)! I end up dragging my other half over to the computer to make sure I’m reading this correctly and not hallucinating. Nope, he assures me, it’s real.
I immediately contact some important others…the Whipmistress, my mom, my sisters, my husband (who patiently just smiles as I tell him for the umpteenth time), my kids, my dog, the list goes on.
So for the remainder of the day I alternate between breaking into spontaneous song and dance moments, and smiling like a mad woman. However, I heed the Whipmistress’s advice, wait a day before responding.
I’m up early, I’ve already drafted the reply, but one snag before I can say “Oh hell yes!”, I need to touch base with an agent I had just submitted to, and who had requested materials. Nerves are strung tight and the little voice in my head is muttering, “What if you ask for time and they say, nope don’t want you then? You’re going to blow your chance.” Word to the wise, pay someone to take out that annoying little voice, it can cause more trouble than it’s worth. Ignoring it, I send off my response of “I’m interested, but can you give me a couple of weeks to check in with other submissions”, sounding very calm and professional in the email, even though my nails are now just bloody stubbs on my fingers. I hit send, then off to the next email, letting the other person know I’ve been offered a contract so….
I got two emails back that day, one from the second query saying, could you send me your entire book and give me a couple of weeks to read it? The second from the publisher saying “no problem, by the way do you have a second book in this series planned? If so, we’d like to offer you a two book contract.”
As soon as my heart re-started there ensued more song and dance routines. Yet once the exuberance passed, the doubts started creeping in. For all new writers out there, take heed. This part of things will drive you nuts. My advice, talk to those who know what you’re doing–critique group partners, significant others, family, the guy down the street who thinks the aliens are coming, whoever, but talk to those you trust. Go through all the pros and cons you have concerning accepting a contract and all that it entails.
More discussion of pros/cons and what ifs. The biggest question, am I really ready for this? Up to this point, I go out, I write my stories, I share them with my critique group, who then sends me back arms loaded with suggestions, and I continue on. Now there’s going to be more, I can see it coming my way.
I flip back and forth between what-if scenarios as I wait to hear back from the second query. Finally the d-day arrives and I haven’t heard anything, so I send off a polite email asking if she’s had time to look it over. She very promptly responses, “Yes, I love your world building, characters and plot, however (another word for but) I’m not in love with it enough to represent at this time.” I’m a little heartbroken, because when ever you hear “I’m not in love with” whether there’s a “you” or an “it” attached, it’s hard. For me, though it caused a sting, it also helped settle the what-if questions I had running through my head. One door closes, another opens, so off went my email to the e-publisher of “Sign me up!”
I start emailing with my prospective editor and now I have to think about promotion, websites, domain names, cover art, and oh yes, don’t forget about finishing book 2. And that’s just for the writing side of my life, never mind the family side and the work-that-pays-the-bills side. Starting to see the huge boulder rolling down the hill toward you? I am and I’ve never been a good runner in my life. For writers who find themselves in this same spot, I know it’s overwhelming at first, but just breathe, because you’ll get through it.
I get a copy of the contract and thank goodness CampChef has connections, because I’m not a lawyer. It gets review, revisions are suggested, I draft an email and off it goes to the lawyer. Now I wait….and while I’m waiting, I start looking at cover art, domain names, websites and I want to pull my hair out. Here’s the thing,writers write because they love to tell stories. However, if you haven’t noticed, most writers like being solitary, so this whole go out and promote your book idea, terrifying. Yet it’s a truth of the industry, if you want your stories read, you have to go tell people about it.
So here I am, playing catch up on my blog, brain fried from all the “practical” aspects of becoming a published author swirling around in my head. I’ve put all aside for today because right now, I need to get back to book 2 and get it finished. Stay tune, because I promise to drag you along this road with me.