Friday, June 25, 2010

Journey of an Author Part 3

So, two weeks later I get the email from Rosemary that I was waiting for. She asks for my permission to start sending off to editors. My response? YES! And then I think, wait…does this mean I’m represented? I talked to one of her clients and asked a few questions and receieved some helpful advice. The best thing to do in any situation you're unsure of is to ask. The reason I didn’t ask right away is because I was afraid to sound dumb. But being a newbie, I suppose agents and editors expect a certain amount of “dumbness” from us in the beginning.

Rosemary and I exchanged a few emails and before I knew it, she said the contract was in the mail. This is when I did my happy dance! But then my husband stopped me. He said to wait until we actually got the contract. I told Mr. Negative that agents don’t “pretend” this kind of stuff. But, we waited for the contract and when it came in the mail, he didn’t hold me back from doing my happy, HAPPY dance.

So when writers say they get THE CALL, it’s not always the case, as I learned. Terrific news comes in the forms of emails too! My fantastic online critique group held a cyber toast for me, so as we synchronized our times and after glitches on our IM’s, we were finally all in one chatroom and with wine glass in hand, toasted to the good news and the good news to come for the rest of the group since everyone is well on their way.

In the days to follow, I had no idea what to do with myself. Besides waiting to hear back from my agent now (and I couldn’t say that word enough), should I start writing other things? Should I hold off because anything I write needs to be sent through my agent first? I couldn’t decide and I didn’t want to bug my agent too much so I just waited. And anyone who’s a writer know how hard waiting is!

About two weeks into waiting I get an email from Ro with our first response from an editor. From a pretty big (and amazing) publisher. Their answer was no. They weren’t interested. At least I was able to read their comments to see why. It all pretty much came down to my story being “too innocent.” Hmmmm. Okay. I can deal with that. One rejection isn’t bad. I reminded myself of all the rejections I overcame from the past. What’s a couple more hurdles, right?

About another week later we received our second response from another pretty amazing editor. Another pass. Their reason. My story “wasn’t innocent enough.” A complete opposite reaction from the first editor. Now I understood what was going on. Selling to editors was very much the same as querying agents. It is very subjective. Very. And as soon as I realized this I thought, “oh no, I’m going to be stuck in another 6 year rut.”

What I failed to think about was the amazing agent I had just signed with. I wasn’t alone anymore. And sure, I’ve heard of some authors who took a year of editor rejections before they found “the one,” but if that’s what it took, then that’s what I would do. And even as a writer you have to learn a certain amount of patience (although I think we never really learn to be patient we just learn to preoccupy ourselves ), I was ready to wait for whatever amount of time it took because I had made it to the next level and I was one step closer to my dream. And since I was twelve I only had one dream.

To see my name on a book I wrote in the bookstore.

The money never mattered to me. Of course it’s nice and I would love to someday make a career out of writing, but even as a kid I thought I would do it for free if it meant I could have my very own book published. It’s something I have a passion for, something I love, and fullfilling that would be the biggest reward ever. Now that I’m older, all the extra perks are icing on the cake.

About eight weeks from the beginning of the waiting period, my agent sent me an email stating we had a third response-from Delacorte, a division of Random House. My heart nearly stopped. They are HUGE. Then she said they made an offer. Right there I almost nearly had a heart attack. I was able to read the comments from the editor, and for the first time-- read what the details of the contract. A little confusing at first—but that’s when you ask questions! All that was left was the thumbs up from me.

Then, they gave me more news I wasn’t expecting.

To be continued…


Faith E. Hough said...

I'm loving hearing your success story, Rose. And the bit about asking questions is such good advice! It sounds obvious to see it written out that way, but it's amazing how often we'd rather bite our tongue than risk sounding ignorant...

Rose Cooper said...

Thanks, Faith! It really is. When you're put in that position, it's like everything you think you would do is thrown out the window. You're suddenly filled with a million questions and a million "what if's" about if you do ask the questions and they're sooo dumb. I've never heard of an agent un-signing a writing for asking a dumb question, but I don't think we're thinking logically at those moments either. I know I was filled with excitement and curiosity on top of wonderment. It's hard to control so many feelings and emotions at one time.

Molly Hall said...

Rose, Thank you for sharing these wonderful stories! They ARE inspiring. I feel just the same, it's great to see that writers with agents and book contracts are regular people. : ) Regular people with magical things happening in their lives! Congratulations on all of your terrific news! I've heard Rosemary Stimola is awesome. I look forward to reading more of your blog (and your book!)

Rose Cooper said...

Thank you, Molly! I'm so greatful to have Rosemary. And honestly I feel practically the same now as I did before I had an agent or book contract. I have to keep reminding myself that when I write my stories now, that people will actually be reading them. I think it actually takes awhile (maybe when the book is out in bookstores) for it to fully sink in?