Thank you, thank you SO much for all of your congratulations and kind words. It means so much to know that I'm part of such an amazing community.
I gotta tell you, going out on submission this second time was one of the scariest things ever. If you've been around here for awhile, you know that my first time on sub didn't go so well. As the time for subbing TRANSPARENT approached, I was, honestly, a mess. If you look at my blog in February and March, you can probably tell I was stressed. At one point, I even stopped blogging altogether.
Why? Fear, basically. I'd put absolutely everything I had into TRANSPARENT. Twice, since I completely rewrote it. Two years have already passed since I started writing that book. I spent the first one writing and revising; I spent the second RE-writing and RE-revising. By the time I sent it to my agent, I had no idea if it was even good anymore. You know how that is, when you've been with a book so long you're blind to its merit. It just IS. That was TRANSPARENT.
So as I waited for Anna to weigh in, all I could think was:
What if it happens again?
What if she hates it? Can I seriously rewrite it again?
What if I've put in all this work for another disappointing run at submissions?
What if this is what breaks me?
Will I be able to pick myself up again? How many times can I put myself through this without seriously hurting my sanity?
I'm really good at the What If game. Too good. It's one of those special gifts anxiety gives you. Which is GREAT for writing stories...not so much for trying to get those stories published.
Well, lucky for me, my worries didn't pan out this time. Anna loved the book, which gave me a much needed boost of confidence. Of course there were yet more revisions to be done, but after a long, long time of despising every minute of work, I started to enjoy the story again. A little bud of hope sprung up.
Maybe, maybe this time would be different.
And then we went on sub. Hope is a dangerous, scary, necessity when you're out with editors. It's awful because it makes things hurt more if you're rejected. It's scary because you have it even when you try not to. And it's necessary because it's really the only thing that will keep you going. Oh, hope, you plucky, obnoxious thing. When I felt that hope still there, even after all the stuff I've been through, I knew that I'd keep trying whether or not TRANSPARENT went the way of my first sub experience.
The silence was longer this time than the last. Instead of getting rejections like I expected, I just got...nothing. Nothing is hard! When you get rejections, at least you know stuff is moving, and somehow that makes you move, too. You work on the "fall back" project. You think about revisions. Stuff like that. Nothing leaves you in a state of panic: Is it good? Do they hate it? Are they so indifferent they haven't bothered to pick it up? Or are they just busy? Maybe they're busy. Of course they're busy! NO THEY HATE IT. Stop, shut up, self, you're losing it.
Man, it's tough. I'd like to take a moment to console all those still on sub. *consoles*
After about a month, we heard our first bits of feedback. A couple rejections. A couple going to acquisitions! Cue pins and needles, hiding from my blog, etc.
A week or so later, I was running late to drop Dino Boy off at school, which was particularly bad because I had to be at a dentist appointment directly after and my dentist is not close by. My car clock said one time, but I pulled out my phone to check and see if that one gave me a few more minutes. You know, because then I'd feel better. I don't really like being late (read: I loathe it).
There was a message. From Anna.
I missed her call in my mad dash for the door! I called her back, only staying calm because I had to drive and talk. (Yes, I know, I'm horrible.) So on my way to the dentist, Anna told me we had an offer. And I had no choice but to believe it because I've had a lot of daydreams about how and when I'd get that call, and NONE of them ever involved going to the dentist. Talk about dreams and reality colliding.
And it was Erica who offered. That was the most surreal of all. I can't tell the whole story there, but let's just say it was totally a full circle, poetic kind of thing. Sometimes I still don't believe it worked out like that—it's too perfect, you know?
So of course I freaked out a little. You guys are LUCKY you didn't have to see that. It was like my brain was so used to rejection that it took a while for it to adjust to good news. It was really weird. Like, I knew I was being completely irrational but there I was doing it anyway. Really, really glad to be past that phase.
Now I'm here. I like here. It's certainly not like I imagined, but it's better because it's real. I can finally say, after having this goal for so long, that I did it! It was so, so much harder than I thought it would be, and so, so much more rewarding because of that.
Hard work. It really does pay off. Who knew?