I got a book deal!!!
Yes, this is my actual reaction.
I have a picture of it because the call came in while I was hosting a writing retreat for women at my summer home in northern New York State. There we were, some writing on our own, others conferring.
When an e-mail rang through from my agent, Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
Body text: "Call me!"
Those words sparked an emotional charge that had to work its way through my system. Once I calmed down, I called Katie.
The offer was from Sourcebooks, a large independent publisher. Here Katie is telling me the initial offer, and her negotiation strategy. I am sitting in front of my computer screen, which has fallen asleep. I see the retreater who took this picture reflected in it—she's around the corner, where I can't see her directly—but I see her signing to the other women as if to say, "Would she wrap it up already?" They are dying to know what's going on.
They know about the nine years I've been working on this novel, refusing to give up until I got it right. About the 112 rejections I received from agents, until last December when I found Katie, my novel's perfect advocate. They know it's been out on submission since April and that the first round of editors still interested had been dwindling.
I have wanted this so long—indeed worked towards it since my first husband's suicide fifteen years ago—that the news is overwhelming. All of my faith and perseverance, kept aloft by what ever means possible, now exploded with meaning.
More details will follow—I'll be temporarily replacing my "Busted!" series with a new column that will follow my experience with traditional publication.
But for now I just wanted to share the good news. Like I did that night with my retreaters. Let's just say...wine flowed, and plenty of vintage dance music played.
What made the news super sweet: I got the call two days before my birthday. My husband, who has somehow kept the faith through all these long years, took me out to dinner. I tried my first chocolate martini (cleverly, my husband got in the picture—you can see him in the mirror behind me snapping this pic with my phone).
And when we got back to Pennsylvania, these arrived:
The first time my husband sent me flowers was when I'd reached to 50,000-word mark on my first novel. He makes me work harder for them these days—but what a journey it's been. One I'll share with you here at the Blood-Red Pencil in my new "first Fridays" column, "Countdown to a Book."
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her women's fiction and memoir are represented by Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency and her debut novel is forthcoming from Sourcebooks in late 2013. She blogs about Healing through Writing.