I’ve been carrying a bit of a “seekrit” for the past few weeks, and I finally get to tell. I’m very bad with keeping quiet, and it’s been super-hard, but…
Sally the Amazing Agent sold my book!
Someone bought what I wrote.
A wonderful, awesome editor at Dial Books for Young Readers purchased BEAUTY BINGE (or whatever they want to call it) for their spring 2009 list. Actually, Awesome Editor bought two books, which is why I’ve been Writing My Butt Off for the past month. I’m writing the second book for my contract.
The simplified version is that the book went on submissions in mid-April, and a couple of publishers asked me to do revisions. I finished the revision rounds and received an offer the week before Memorial Day weekend, which we accepted just after. When I received the initial phone call, I was stunned, but relatively coherent (I think). (Actually, I heard the phone ringing while I was eating dinner--I was at my parents’ house on Cape Cod--and ignored it because I assumed it was Fab Husband calling. Oops.) So I had to call Sally back. After I spoke with her, I called Fab Husband. He was on his way into a meeting, and I was hoping I’d catch him. That’s when I lost my mind a little...and lost my voice.
Me, in a hoarse whisper, unable to speak: Aw-fur! (Gasping) Aw-fur!
FH: What? Huh? Are you okay?
Me, louder, but still hoarse and reedy: Aw-fur! We got an aw-fur! Book! Aw-fur!
FH: Holy sh*t. (thumping noise heard over the phone. He fell against a wall, I think.) Did you just say what I think you said?
I tried to explain, was able to get across to him that we’d need champagne, and then I hung up and promptly got sick. This whole time, my parents were downstairs (I spoke with Sally in their spare bedroom), waiting for me to explain the OH MY GAWD! noise that they heard when she told me, in her lilting New Zealand accent, “Hullo Erin, we’ve had an offer!” Needless to say, there was lots of champagne that night.
Since then, things have unfolded pretty rapidly: that NYC trip I made during BEA was to meet Sally and go to the Penguin offices to meet my editor (!), and I’ve been in regular correspondence with Ms. Editor ever since. I should be getting my revision letter on BEAUTY BINGE in the next week or so. I haven’t been able to post about any of this, though, because there have been a few things on Sally’s end that she needed to nail down first.
So that’s why I’ve been writing such boring posts lately.
Now, a word about the “getting sick” line from above…for me, like so many writers, this is literally my dream come true. I have a school memory book that my grandmother gave me when I was in kindergarten—there’s a page for each year of K-12, you glue in your picture and answer questions about the school year, etc. Under my first grade picture, it says, When I grow up, I want to be and in my awkward, large-lettered printing in red pen it says “An author.” I was six. It says that for every year up until 7th grade, when I stopped filling in the darn book. For 26 years, this has been my dream. What happens when all of a sudden it goes from being something you work toward, hope for, wish on, pray over, dream about..to being reality?
If you’re me, evidently you get a little sick. Worlds colliding and the like. Not very glamorous, but there you go.
jbknowles said she felt like she won the lottery when she sold her second book. For me, I feel like I’ve taken over someone else’s life. When I talk about it with people, it doesn’t seem real. For so long, it’s been someone else that I’m (VERY HAPPILY) congratulating, or someone else’s amazing publication story that I’ve recounted, that I guess it just hasn’t sunk in yet. But it will. And, to be honest, I’m enjoying the un-reality of it right now. It’s given me a chance to absorb the news, thank the supportive people around me, try on this new skin of “accepted,” and think about the next steps and new challenges ahead. Because when it does sink in, I think I’m in for a doozie of a weekend.
And again, to go back to the wisdom of Ms. Knowles…for some of us, there’s a sharp pang when we read posts like this. There’s the joy, but then the “when will it ever be my turn?” aspect of these stories hits. I know. Trust me, I know. For years, I felt it. But look…if it can be me, it can be you.
Yeah, it takes work. Lots and lots and lots of work.
And patience. You need a lot of that.
But mostly, it’s perserverence. It’s doing it because you love it, because you have stories to tell. It’s doing it because you love the craft of writing. It’s doing it even though you hate revising, then revising the manuscript again and again. It’s gutting through a draft even when it feels like you’ve never written a word in English before two seconds ago. It’s doing it when it feels like everyone around you is selling, selling, selling and there will never be a spot available for your book on a publisher’s list before the next millenium. It’s doing it when you get a rejection from an agent. Then another one. And another. And thirty-five more. It’s doing it when the book falls through at Acquisitions. It’s doing it no matter what anyone else says or thinks or tells you you should be doing instead.
That’s what really makes “an author."
Keep going. Keep writing. Keep working. That's the only way to do this. It'll happen.