Friday, August 1, 2014

Hyperventilation: The Offer I ALMOST Deleted

Have you ever been on the verge of doing something stupid?  Not "jump off the roof with an umbrella" stupid, but mind-numbing, life-altering, "holy cow, WHAT IF I hadn't..." kind of stupid.

I am that stupid.

So... back when dinos still roamed the earth or as my kids call it "the time before they were born" I loved to write.  I didn't really take it seriously until about six years ago when I had this crazy notion that I could pay off all my school loans by writing a book and getting it published.

Excuse me for a moment while I laugh until I pee myself.  That was another level of stupid, but we won't go there today.  However, in my defense, what was once a trial in financial necessity turned into a vie for sanity.  I handled stress better when I was writing.  I coped with toddlers easier, dealt with moving 1300 miles away from my family and hometown and discovered I had stuff... actual stuff to write about.  Who knew!?

Nine books later, all I got back from writing was a better grasp of spelling and a veritable pantheon of rejections.

My rejection letter grand total is: 967 rejection letters from agents on 5 out of the 9 books (the first four were practice novels and very stinky reads).  I have 15 rejections directly from publishers and a staggering 435 queries out that never received a reply at all.

Part of querying an agent is the waiting game.  The dragging months of waiting around for a single person or their low-paid minion to give the final ax to my manuscript is all apart of the publishing machine.  I still have full manuscript submissions out and a partial.  My longest waiting time on a full submission is FOUR YEARS and counting.  I keep that agent in a special folder in my e-mail account and wait for the day that she FINALLY rejects my manuscript.  Mainly because I find it hilarious.  The longest wait on a partial submission is a year and a half.  For some reason, I can read a book in an afternoon, but I hear agents are busy folks.

You might be thinking to yourself... "Well, maybe you suck at writing and haven't written a novel worth publishing".  To be honest, that thought has crossed my mind more times than I can count.  It is disparaging mind space to go there.  I plugged on regardless.  After my last book was ditched at the alter by a publisher, I was on the road to giving up.  Until... LIGHTNING STRUCK A VOLCANO!!!

Well, not ACTUAL lightning, but I was camped at the base of an active volcano when the idea for Ian Quicksilver struck.  To which, I promptly woke up, grabbed every receipt I had in my purse and wrote it down.  Then I spent the drive back home texting and e-mailing my best writing buddy in the world (AMI HENDRICKSON, YOU ROCK!) and ran the idea past her.  She then hyperventilated, which was my indication that the foolhardy act of camping at the base of a volcano had its inspirational merits.

However, that wasn't the end.  I still had to endure rejection after rejection.  Some of which were incredibly rude and disheartening (one agent even blogged about me, as if a flat out rejection wasn't humiliating enough).  So it should come as no complete surprise that when the lone e-mail from a publishing house popped up on my phone, I was poised and ready to delete it.  In fact, it came on a particularly frustrating day of parenting and overall "life" and I didn't think I could handle one more person telling me that I was a half-baked loser for even trying to write a novel in the first place.

I don't know what it was that made me open the e-mail instead of sending it straight to the trash bin.  I am sure some morbid side of me wanted to torture myself one more time.  I opened it up.  I had to read it twice.  Heck, I had to pull over my car, take off my sunglasses and read it a third time.  All the email said was:

Thank you for submitting your work, Ian Quicksilver. We loved your book and would like to publish it.

And I had almost deleted it.

Cue hyperventilation.  I had been on the verge of mind-numbing stupidity.

PS.  My school loans are nearly paid off, thanks to six years of payments.  But you can't say I didn't try!!

1 comment:

  1. THIS IS AWESOME!! But of course you know that, because we have discussed this particular bit of awesomeness in-depth, ad-almost-nauseum. I am so ridiculously proud of you -- and not just because you gave me a shout-out. :) Can't wait till I can read IAN Q as a Real Book instead of as a novel-in-progress.

    YAY, YOU! :)