Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Book on Submission + Colicky Baby = A Writer on the Edge

"Your day is about to get a whole lot better."

Those were the words my agent said on Monday, December 3, 2007. I was at work, of course, with coworkers lingering outside my office, wondering why I was jumping up and down and pumping my fists into the air. I mean, did we just get a huge discount on our copier paper or something?

It was the end of a six month process that nearly shook my faith in my writing ability to its core.

See, I got my agent fairly quickly--I probably only sent out about 20-30 queries, and only for about a month, before I snagged Holly. After what she called, "Possibly the Shortest Edit Letter Ever," my baby was sent out into the universe in mid-June.

Immediately, we got several good reads, and my agent whispered "auction." Then...nothing. Everything fell through--the voice was too chick-lit, the voice was too young-sounding, one publisher backed out because another imprint at the same house was interested.

All that excitement and, by mid-July, we were left with...zero. Thankfully, I had more than enough to distract me, since I was nine months pregnant. And through the sleepless nights right after my son was born and those first few weeks with a colicky baby, Holly kept right on submitting. And I kept the faith. Faith that my writing was worthy, that it was relevant, that writing was something I was MEANT to do.

Towards the end of my maternity leave, I started to panic, because I really, really wanted to stay home and write. And damn it, if someone would just BUY my damn book...

But, as we know, that never really works. So, we found a wonderful nanny and I went back to work in early November. And, after a couple of weeks, realized how much I enjoy my job and my coworkers. Now, I barely had time to wrap my mind around THAT revelation before my cell phone rang and heard the news that someone wanted to buy my book AND the sequel.

And so I went home, opened a bottle of wine (that I have since saved and put on display in my kitchen) and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, alternating between freaking out and jumping up and down.

As I sit here and write this post, I have the printed manuscript of my first YA book, sitting next to me on my desk. A book that I'm hoping my agent will love as much as I do. A book that I'm hoping will find a wonderful home, the same way my first two books did.

Because that's what it's all about right? Publishing has its highs and lows--the lows being so hard, they're absolutely soul-crushing. But those highs, MAN...there's nothing like it.

4 comments:

Jillian Cantor said...

Great story, Maureen! I love reading these.

I've been there, too -- in those pregnant and sleep-deprived moments with a newborn, waiting for my call, sure it was never going to happen.

And congrats on finishing your third book! What an accomplishment!!

Tracy Madison said...

Aw, I love your story, Maureen!

How exciting about your third book!

Lesley Livingston said...

The roller-coaster aspects of this business really are a little hard to take sometimes, aren't they? That long, slow tension-fraught climb...

But it's SO worth the WHEEEEEEE!!! on the other side.

Great story, Maureen! And, like Jill and Tracy said, Congrats on #3!!

lisapatton said...

Maureen, our stories are so similar. Not to mention our co-editors and agents. I love your story and I can't wait to hear more. And huge kudos to you for having a baby and writing two more books. You're a machine, girlfriend!