For those of you who don’t know . . . MY AGENT SOLD MY BOOK!!! Yahoo! Yippee! Yay! I’ve had so many friends, neighbors, writers, and family members ask for specifics, so I thought it’d be fun to do a HOW I GOT MY BOOK DEAL post. (Psst. If you want to start at the beginning of my writing journey, you’ll have to read my HOW I GOT MY AGENT post, first.)
What easier way to tell a story than to use a timeline? So here goes . . .
May 1, 2015: I signed with my wonderful agent, Steven Chudney. I spent five weeks doing a second round of revisions for him (I did the first round before he offered representation) and then spent a couple more days line editing.
June 8, 2015: I went out on submission. That means my agent sent my story out to a list of editors he thought would be interested in my book. In the writing world, “being on submission” is a very wonderful and scary place to be. Signing with an agent does NOT, I repeat does NOT, mean you get an automatic book deal. I knew getting an agent was the first step, but I’d heard there were about 895 more hoops to jump through before getting a book deal. Okay, okay. I’m exaggerating. The number was more like 894. But seriously, I know so many talented writers who have been on submission for months and even years and are still waiting. So, knowing that submission could be a long road, I hoped for the best, but prepared myself for the worst. I went out of town with my 12 year-old daughter, so she could compete in a state scholarship pageant. And thank goodness. I was way too busy fixing hair and ironing dresses to think much about my book being on sub.
June 15, 2015: I was at the orthodontist’s office watching my daughter get metal squares glued onto her teeth when my phone made the Happy Sound–if you don’t know what this is, read my HOW I GOT MY AGENT post. It was an email from my agent, telling me that the first editor on our sub list, Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends, was interested and wanted to set up a phone call. *cue internal freak out*
June 19, 2015: The day of the phone call finally came. And by this time, I had gotten a master’s degree in Researching All Things Liz Szabla. I was already excited about working with her before I got on the phone. First, she just looked nice, ya know? I could tell from her Facebook picture that she is a nice person. Second, I discovered she was the editor of RAIN, REIGN by Ann M. Martin–a book I had recently read and loved. I gathered from reading online interviews that Liz is smart and her authors respect her. She was absolutely lovely to speak with on the phone and said some very lovely things about my writing. *heartmelt* I was hopeful that things would work out. Lucky for me, Steven called later that day to tell me Liz was taking my book to the next Acquisitions Meeting!
June 24, 2015: The day of the next Acquisitions Meeting. I was a nervous wreck. This meeting is where the interested editor must present your book to the sales and marketing people. (Yikes!) It is when the company decides to publish your book or not. I spent the entire day sitting on my back porch with my feet in a kiddie-pool while I read through my TBR pile and tried to keep calm.
June 25, 2015: As you can imagine, I hardly slept the previous night, so I was a bit groggy when my agent emailed at 7:00 a.m, saying he’d heard from Liz and when could I call him? Hahaha. Hahahahaha. When could I call him? Like I’d wait any longer to learn whether or not my publishing dreams were about to come true or be dashed to pieces? I called him.
And it was good news.
Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan had offered (in a pre-empt) to publish my book! It was a deal we were happy with, so we accepted. My favorite part of the phone conversation was when Steven said, “Congratulations, you’re going to be a published author.”
After we hung up, I sort of walked around in a stupor. I’m sure my kids wondered about my well being. “Did you sell your book?” they asked. “Yes!” I shouted. And I guess that snapped me out of whatever shock I was in. I called my husband, who was on the other side of the country for a business trip (seems he’s always away during these exciting moments!) I dialed my mom’s number eight times before she finally answered. I texted my dad, who immediately called and told me how proud he was of me for never giving up on my dream all these years.
The celebratory breakfast: German Pancakes with Strawberries and Powdered Sugar.
That night the kids and I had a dance party in our living room. We even turned on strobe lights! I let it all out. I danced so hard, I twisted my ankle. I can honestly say, there hasn’t been a lot of times in my life when I have been THIS excited. Maybe when my husband proposed . . . or when I found out I was pregnant with my first child.
Oh, yeah, and I played this song no less than sixteen times in a row. My kids were about to take away my music privileges, but it embodied all the joy I was feeling, plus it had inspired one of the scenes in my book, so I felt like my characters were joining in on my happiness. Go ahead, have a listen . . .
July 1, 2015: Hubby was finally home from his trip. If you read my HOW I GOT MY AGENT post, you’ll know that I was purposely waiting to eat my favorite sushi dish until I signed with an agent, but then when I actually did sign with an agent, the restaurant had gone out of business, so I didn’t get that long awaited reward. To celebrate the book deal, my hubby took me to a new restaurant in town and put in a special request. Sushi at last!
The celebratory dinner: Smoked Salmon Sushi with Cream Cheese and Eel Sauce.
July 9, 2015: My Pitch Wars Mentor, the fab-tab-u-lousJoy McCullough-Carranza, spotted my announcement in Publisher’s Weekly! This meant I could spill the beans to everyone! Some writers have to wait months to share their book news with the world. Luckily, I only had to wait two weeks (but it felt like two years, I promise!)
September 23, 2015: I signed the official contract!
Not the best pic, but hey, my four year old took it.
The celebratory drink: Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider.
All in all, my journey from submission to book deal was a relatively quick one (about 2.5 weeks — please don’t hate me.) I never expected it to happen so easily, but of course, I am glad it did. I can’t wait until 2017 when I get to share my first published novel for middle-grade readers with all of you!