Is This Really MY Story?
We’ve all heard about those crazy fast submission stories, where an author lands an agent, and then boom lands a publisher. We also know this is the exception not the norm. Most authors go on submission, and stay there for months, maybe years. Often times the book they first sell is not the first novel they go on submission with.
I knew all this when my agent put my novel on submission with publishers. I was still on the, “OMG I have an agent!” high. I prepared myself for the long wait. The very first thing I noticed was the odd surreal feeling: my agent was now in charge. I wasn’t drafting queries and sending them out, someone else was doing that.
In theory: great, more time to write!
In reality: what’s going on?
Let me tell you: nothing. Nothing’s going on. Editors are presented with a concept. They either request or pass. Then we all sit back and wait for them to get a chance to read.
Months pass. Years pass.
Or, in some cases, weeks.
About three weeks into my submission process I started checking my e-mail more often, waiting for an update from my agent. An update I knew wasn’t there, but this nagging feeling kept whispering, “Soon, soon.” I pushed it aside and went back to my latest work-in-progress.
Then my agent sent me an e-mail, requesting to chat. She had an update from one of the editors. I freaked out almost as much as I did during THE CALL with my agent several weeks prior. I tried to think of what this could be and decided the editor hated it, with some big picture changes needed.
Instead I learned an editor loved my book, couldn’t put it down, and wanted to have a conference call with us. Wait. What? Words spilled out, words an editor said about my writing.
We scheduled the call. And for the first few days, I was fine. This was cool. I had interest in my novel, good stuff. The nerves kicked in the day before hand. Different types of nerves. This was a conference call. Was I to call five minutes early? Or right on time? Or a few minutes late? Was I going to be the only one there waiting for the call?
In the end, I would have been two minutes early, but the number I dialed led me to an older sounding female voice assuming I was Lorraine. In my nerves I misdialed!
We had the call. The editor gushed. She mentioned some edits she envisioned for the novel. I felt good about these changes. More importantly, I felt good about the editor. She got my vision, she respected my story.
The next step was for my agent and the editor to catch up without me. Only as timing would have it, the weekend hit before they had the chance. This was a long weekend, where I convinced myself that even though my agent said I did well, I must have done something wrong and the editor was no longer interested.
Monday rolled around. I got an update from my agent: the editor wanted additional information about my brand and where I saw it heading.
Me: Okay. I can do this. I can totally sell myself as a brand.
I managed to work up some words and send them off to my agent. A few hours later we heard back that the editor liked my ideas (OMG, can I do this?) and she had to discuss this with her team.
Waiting. Waiting. More waiting.
Then came my day off. I was lying in bed, under the blankets, with my laptop on my lap. My cell rang. It was my agent! I didn’t have my hearing aids on, unlike each time we’d spoken before. Heck, until now I’d made sure to shower first, but I was caught, ha!
She told me the editor had offered a two book deal! I was speechless, thrilled, and ended up with a cat clawing at me to calm down. I couldn’t believe it. I had an offer on the table, for two books.
I hung up and did a happy dance, then called my mom, texted my husband, and messaged a few writer friends. All the while I’m thinking, “How is this happening to me?” I know of authors on submission for longer than me, I’m not the type to win the lottery. Yet it felt like I had.
I had submissions out with other editors, and they were notified of the offer. I prepared myself for more rejections, remembering this phase after my agent offer.
We got silence. The day of the deadline, I was at work and my cell rang. I had a second offer! And by the end of the day the magic number went up to three.
Three publishers saw potential in me and were interested in a book that was my heart and soul. When I started this journey, I had dreamed of making it this far and was terrified it was a pipe dream that would never happen.
It was happening.
In the end, the first editor was the right match for me. Four weeks from the email about the conference call and I had accepted an offer. All I wanted to do was jump and down and scream it from the rooftops, but I couldn’t, not until the announcement came out.
And now I can announce my two book deal with Avon Impulse! SILENT ATTRACTION is scheduled to be published on June 14, 2016!
I don’t know where this road will take me from here. I do know I was lucky enough to find a super star agent who not only believes in me, but had the right editors in mind for my work. Through her I’ve found a fantastic editor whose love for my book shines through. At the end of the day, isn’t it all about someone else loving our writing?