Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Day

from Stefan Landsberger's collection

My book went out to publishers today. Which is actually April 30th, but May Day is easier to remember, and it's almost midnight now. 

It's been a long and interesting process getting to this point. I queried the agent with whom I eventually signed on July 5th of last year. Many months of rewrites followed. That part was mostly fun. There was some stress involved — mainly, was I up to this?

The agent at one point picked out a line I'd written that he particularly liked. His note was "More, please!" I'd thought it was one of my best lines too. Did I have more of those in me? I really wasn't sure.

But working with this guy was fun. His feedback was an ego boost, even when it was critical, because what he said told me that he really got what I was trying to do with this book. This still amazes me, given how many directions I'd gone in the earlier incarnations. Take a bowling ball, a chain saw and a chihuahua and juggle them. That's sort of what I was working with.

There was a real give and take and creative exchange that energized the process for me, when I'd thought that I'd wrung every idea out of my own tired head that I possibly could have.

After a few rewrites, I was pretty sure that I was going to get representation, so no more stress on that front, other than my wanting to really make the book as good as I could make it.

Getting the contract felt every bit as wonderful as I'd ever imagined it would. There was just no downside. Having a professional whose job it is to sell books decide that my book was something he wanted to represent was a validation for me beyond just about anything else I can think of in my creative life, particularly given the thought and care he'd already put into the project.

So, smooth sailing, right? Heh. What happened next is something that I would love to post about in great detail, but right now I really can't. I'll just say that it held up the book's going out for nearly two months, and of everything that has happened in this story thus far, it was the most stressful thing I've had to deal with, on a lot of levels. Probably the worst for me was the self-doubt. The longer I sat in this strange limbo, the more I began to doubt the book, myself, everything. At times I went to the bad place, where everything was going to go wrong and all that I'd worked for would be for nothing. I told myself that I was being paranoid, and I knew that I was, but that didn't matter, because all the paranoia could be justified by real-life horror stories, and I knew damn well that things just don't always work out.

Thank you, Agent X, my friends and family and writing buddies, for holding my hand during this period.

Now the book is out in the world. I don't know when we'll hear back from this initial round of publishers, whether the response will be good or bad. But I do know that I've done everything I could do to get to this point, and that for now, my job is done.

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