When Your Book is on Submission

Well, looks like it’s time for my lil bebe (this lil book) to go out on her own for a bit. Agent’s happy with the revisions and is beginning to submit it to editors at the publishing houses. I guess now is the time where I stay calm on the outside and FREAK OUT from within.

On a side note, I’ve been dropping things, lotsa things… and also frantically cleaning house. (Right. I’m not really cleaning house THAT much – I’m no neat freak.) But also, I’ve decided to try to enjoy the summer. I watched a movie with a ton of F bombs in it last night, (ok, only half of it before I fell asleep) I bought a train ticket to go visit my sister and her artist-y friends in KC, I’m dog sitting this cute little min pin for a couple of weeks, and tonight, I’m going to book club on the beach. So… I currently have the very difficult job of trying to figure out which fruity adult beverage to bring and to share.

And, of course, there’s the writing. I’ve dusted off an old manuscript and discovered it’s a bit flowery for my current tastes, so I’m edging it up a bit. Soon I’ll send it off to my agent, Christa, to see what she thinks.

Oh, and I’m thinking ’bout putting on a party hat and taking up baton again. I used to have really mad skills, as you can see…

baton skills

Other than that, does anyone have some great ideas on how to keep from going batty when your book is on submission?

How I Got My Agent

Okay, so I’ll skip the eight years of writing nearly every day… the queries, the submissions, the hope and ultimately, the rejections, and get right down to it.

Wait. No. Actually, that part of the story is important, I think. Because, as much as I wanted things to happen then, after writing that first book, honestly, I don’t think I was ready. It wasn’t just my writing that needed work – it was me.

All the things they say about rejection are true – that you have to fail in order to succeed. That with every “no” you’re that much closer to the “yes.” That is, if you learn something from the process.

I’ll admit it, those early rejections hurt, but as I began to gain confidence in my writing, something in me began to transform. The rejections hurt less and less. I started to believe that my work had value whether I was published or not. Writing has made me who I am no matter if others see value in it, or not. And an added bonus? Writing has really helped me to think about the world in a different way, too. It has helped me to see things from the eyes of others. Another added bonus? Writing has made me care less about what others think of me. I don’t know why. Maybe doing something that makes you happy means you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone else.

Yeah, all that aside, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shaking after I got, “The Call.” After all these years believing that what I was doing had value, it felt GREAT to know someone else felt that way, too. It did.

I was sitting at the public desk at the library where I work when my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. It was a 212 area code, (NYC?) but being at the desk, I couldn’t answer. “Telemarketer,” I whispered to myself. “Don’t get all excited, now.”

But there was that little voice that said, “Well, maybe?”

Well, no. It was a Big Voice that said, “Holy crap, what if?!?!”

So, yeah, I excused myself from the desk and listened to the message in the public restroom. (“Hi, this is Christa Heschke from McIntosh and Otis and I truly fell in love with this…”) I’m sure I freaked out a few patrons with my squeals. A few minutes later, I was back at the desk, and didn’t utter a word to anyone. I don’t know why. Maybe I wanted to keep it just a little bit sacred, for awhile. Also, it wasn’t official, yet. The message said she loved the project and wanted to speak to me. But what if she just wanted to chat?

I came up with a few things I wanted to discuss, then got off work, but I didn’t go home. Instead, I pulled over in a busy grocery store parking lot and returned her call.

And she said those magic words, “I’d like to offer representation.”

Holy. Crap.

I told her I needed to get back to her, that I had other agents considering the manuscript, but I think I knew then, in my heart, that she was The One. In the end, I did receive another offer, but I didn’t feel the same connection I did with the grocery store parking lot agent.

So, I said, “YES!”

I’m so happy to be working with the talented, insightful and patient Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis!