Which was fine, because I was at my day job, and though it’s sometimes difficult to take time out for a call, it’s not that difficult to click over and check my email. Also, I don’t really like to talk on the phone, not for work, for life, to order pizza, not at all. The only kind of news I don’t want electronically is bad news, like the time I learned that a beloved family member had died—in a Facebook status update.
[Pause to let you think about that.]
But this was business, and business happens on email. One morning in February, there it was in my inbox: the second half of my writing life, the part where I get published. The message subject: “a bit of news.”
It wasn’t even a single email. The good news came in a trickle of emails over a couple of days.
First: “There’s a nibble. Don’t get excited.”
Then: “There’s going to be an offer.”
Then, at last: “We have an offer.”
I will save my agent, Sharon Bowers, the indignity of how many exclamation points the two of us used in the actual conversations. Sufficient to say we were excited. Our time together hadn’t been long, but we had gone through a couple of close calls by that point. Sharon is a pro, though. When the nibble came, she said, “It’s nothing until it’s something.” In the case of a rejection, she’d calmed me down with similar words. “It’s early days,” she’d written. “Let’s not worry yet.”
Easy for her to say, right? This was almost three years of my life we were not worrying about yet. And she had other clients. I had only one agent, and only one book ready to show around. While I like to think I have many more years in me, it was devastating to think I’d have to use them to write another debut. This one, I kept thinking. This is the book. Sharon thought so—that’s why she’d taken me on.
Luckily someone else thought so, too. And then I started getting emails from Dan Mayer from Seventh Street Books. Then I started getting emails from new people at Seventh Street, people whose jobs were to help create and sell my book.
Remember when they used to call the internet the “superhighway”? I get that now, because with all the emails I’m getting, I’m rolling downhill, picking up speed and new teammates. But not the whole way. If you’ve heard publishing called a rollercoaster ride, well, I can’t argue with that. But there’s a certainly a lot of wheeeeee at this stage.
Though I have a host of new things to worry about now, exclamation points are not one of them. While I can, I’m going to use them all.
Have you ever received news in a way you didn’t expect?
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