The road to publication is fickle and seems to change its topography for the traveler. For some, I've seen it unfurl simply, peaceful and direct. For me it has been...not that. If you knew me, you'd say, "That makes sense." Peaceful is not really my thing.
I recently signed with MIra in a two book deal. HUNTING ANNABELLE will be published on the twenty year anniversary of starting my first book. Just typing this fills my heart with a gratitude so heavy it almost doesn't count as happiness. It's too big for happiness, too deep. It's relief, it's wanting to hug my younger self who cried over drafts of books that never got picked up. It's grief for all that energy that went into worrying about the future of my books. It's pride, it's bliss. It's disbelief. It's everything.
I already wrote about my path to signing with my agent here, and I won't re-tread that ground. I will insert an addendum: the pain of rejection on submission was worse than I expected. While my powerhouse of an agent, Lauren Spieller, tirelessly pitched my book, I battled wave after wave of writer's block as I tried to focus on my work in progress. When Michelle Meade at Mira expressed interest and shared her thoughts with me, I was struck by the feeling I had with Lauren. She seemed to truly understand and love what I was trying to do with this book and the themes I wanted to explore. In short, she 'got it.' I cannot express what that felt like, what it feels like. Ironically, just when I came to peace with the idea that this book might not sell and dove into my next project, just when I let go and felt my chest expand and relax knowing the sale of one book does not make or break me as a writer, the barrier broke.
It's hard to know what the road to one of these moments looked like and develop perspective on the size of that moment compared to the road that led to it. Here is a list of work that went into this moment for me:
- 20 years
- 30 drafts
- 6 complete novels, 2 unfinished
- 700 agent rejections
- 20 full manuscript requests
- 4 R&Rs
- 9 writing contests
- 30 beta readers
- An uncounted number of friends and family who offered a portfolio of support, platitudes, alcoholic beverages, criticism, love, and advice
- Uncountable hours of research into the business of publication and writing
- Uncounted hours reading for other people and sharing successes and failures with my fellow crazy writers, whom I love more than love
So here is the announcement, and even though I've worked so hard, I feel incredibly lucky to be posting this. I know so many writers who are still in the query/submission trenches with work better than mine, waiting for their lucky moment. It's a numbers game I suppose. Stick with it, my friends, and don't be afraid of playing the long game.