The email came on a Wednesday. I wasn’t expecting it—it had only been four days since the editor-in-chief from Blaze Publishing had requested my full manuscript, and usually it takes weeks, even months, to hear anything back. Heart in my throat, I clicked on the email and read the first sentence, thinking: okay, it’s probably going to be a rejection, so don’t get your hopes up.
But then I stumbled across words like “adore” and “love”. As I read further, my brain started to grasp the truth: someone other than my sister actually enjoyed reading my manuscript and wanted to publish it! And not just someone, but my first choice, an up and coming publishing house helmed by young veteran authors who specialize in Young Adult.
Lunatic smile stretched across my face, I flopped onto my back, kicked my bare feet into the air, wriggled my half-painted toes, and cackled at the ceiling fan in my messy office. I might have fist pumped the air. My four unruly dogs hovered over me, looking confused and a tad judgmental.
Why are you being so strange, human?
Wild thoughts echoed inside my head. Who should I call first? Is this real? Then, as I really took in that two-paragraph email, another thought struck me:
How is my life going to change?
No more disorganized pecking at my manuscript, at my own leisure, with no one to answer to. No more month-long estrangements from said manuscript while I contemplate burning it to ashes. There would be a deadline, maybe lots of them, and expectations…that I’m professional, that I know how to adult (I don’t), that I can be witty and charming on social media (I can’t). That I even know how to use social media. That I’m not some weird introvert who hides out in her office with her dogs and ridiculously expensive Kombucha, but a cool, savvy author with relevant things to say and an interesting life to document.
And what if I didn’t like the first round edits? What if the terms of the contract are outrageous? (They weren’t). What if no one buys my book? Worse, what if they buy it and hate it and leave scathing reviews in all caps?
What if I’m not up to this?
That two word combination may be the scariest in the English language. Really, it’s scary! The unknown. Taking a chance. Going after your dream. Risking failure. But what kind of example would I be if I didn’t take the advice I give my children?
Try, darlings, that’s all that matters. You have to try!
So gathering my courage, I finally peeled myself off the rug, dusted the dog hair off my back (thanks naughty dogs), and responded to that email—resisting the urge to use emojis, I might add. I called My People and celebrated. And I adulted. Sort of.
Now I’m busy polishing my novel, Shadowfall (set to be out November of this year!). With each change I make—under my freakishly talented editor’s guidance—I can see my manuscript taking shape, transforming, becoming the novel I’ve always dreamed of creating, and it is THE MOST AMAZING FEELING IN THE WORLD.
So I hope you join me on this journey, and maybe cheer me on, or give me tips on how to adult, or even just tell me how you have tried at something even though it was terrifying. Because I’m going to try—and I’m going to try spectacularly!