Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Writers: The Rest Of The Story

Wow, so yesterday was fun! Can I admit I was a little nervous to announce that I sold a book? I know how hard it can be to read announcements, having read so many as a writer on submission, and I didn't want to do that to anyone else. But at the same time, I had to share! I mean, it's news you have to share at some point.

Thank you, thank you SO much for all of your congratulations and kind words. It means so much to know that I'm part of such an amazing community.

I gotta tell you, going out on submission this second time was one of the scariest things ever. If you've been around here for awhile, you know that my first time on sub didn't go so well. As the time for subbing TRANSPARENT approached, I was, honestly, a mess. If you look at my blog in February and March, you can probably tell I was stressed. At one point, I even stopped blogging altogether.

Why? Fear, basically. I'd put absolutely everything I had into TRANSPARENT. Twice, since I completely rewrote it. Two years have already passed since I started writing that book. I spent the first one writing and revising; I spent the second RE-writing and RE-revising. By the time I sent it to my agent, I had no idea if it was even good anymore. You know how that is, when you've been with a book so long you're blind to its merit. It just IS. That was TRANSPARENT.

So as I waited for Anna to weigh in, all I could think was:

What if it happens again?

What if she hates it? Can I seriously rewrite it again?

What if I've put in all this work for another disappointing run at submissions?

What if this is what breaks me?

Will I be able to pick myself up again? How many times can I put myself through this without seriously hurting my sanity?

I'm really good at the What If game. Too good. It's one of those special gifts anxiety gives you. Which is GREAT for writing stories...not so much for trying to get those stories published.

Well, lucky for me, my worries didn't pan out this time. Anna loved the book, which gave me a much needed boost of confidence. Of course there were yet more revisions to be done, but after a long, long time of despising every minute of work, I started to enjoy the story again. A little bud of hope sprung up.

Maybe, maybe this time would be different.

And then we went on sub. Hope is a dangerous, scary, necessity when you're out with editors. It's awful because it makes things hurt more if you're rejected. It's scary because you have it even when you try not to. And it's necessary because it's really the only thing that will keep you going. Oh, hope, you plucky, obnoxious thing. When I felt that hope still there, even after all the stuff I've been through, I knew that I'd keep trying whether or not TRANSPARENT went the way of my first sub experience.

The silence was longer this time than the last. Instead of getting rejections like I expected, I just got...nothing. Nothing is hard! When you get rejections, at least you know stuff is moving, and somehow that makes you move, too. You work on the "fall back" project. You think about revisions. Stuff like that. Nothing leaves you in a state of panic: Is it good? Do they hate it? Are they so indifferent they haven't bothered to pick it up? Or are they just busy? Maybe they're busy. Of course they're busy! NO THEY HATE IT. Stop, shut up, self, you're losing it.

Man, it's tough. I'd like to take a moment to console all those still on sub. *consoles*

After about a month, we heard our first bits of feedback. A couple rejections. A couple going to acquisitions! Cue pins and needles, hiding from my blog, etc.

A week or so later, I was running late to drop Dino Boy off at school, which was particularly bad because I had to be at a dentist appointment directly after and my dentist is not close by. My car clock said one time, but I pulled out my phone to check and see if that one gave me a few more minutes. You know, because then I'd feel better. I don't really like being late (read: I loathe it).

There was a message. From Anna.

I missed her call in my mad dash for the door! I called her back, only staying calm because I had to drive and talk. (Yes, I know, I'm horrible.) So on my way to the dentist, Anna told me we had an offer. And I had no choice but to believe it because I've had a lot of daydreams about how and when I'd get that call, and NONE of them ever involved going to the dentist. Talk about dreams and reality colliding.

And it was Erica who offered. That was the most surreal of all. I can't tell the whole story there, but let's just say it was totally a full circle, poetic kind of thing. Sometimes I still don't believe it worked out like that—it's too perfect, you know?

So of course I freaked out a little. You guys are LUCKY you didn't have to see that. It was like my brain was so used to rejection that it took a while for it to adjust to good news. It was really weird. Like, I knew I was being completely irrational but there I was doing it anyway. Really, really glad to be past that phase.

Now I'm here. I like here. It's certainly not like I imagined, but it's better because it's real. I can finally say, after having this goal for so long, that I did it! It was so, so much harder than I thought it would be, and so, so much more rewarding because of that.

Hard work. It really does pay off. Who knew?

43 comments:

  1. This is a really good story. I laughed and got all choked up, too. Are you a writer or something? Ever thought about trying to get published? ;)

    Congratulations.

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  2. I am so incredibly happy for you! I got teary reading this post. :D

    Congratulations again, and thank you so much for sharing your writing/submission/publishing journey with us. We've all been rooting for you! :D Yay, Natalie! *throws more confetti*

    You're amazing!!!

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  3. I'm so absolutely thrilled for you, Natalie. It's such a rollercoaster in your chest, isn't it?

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  4. Yay! Thanks for sharing your story with us.:D It's very inspiring!

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  5. You know my own story and this post just gives me so much hope. Natalie, you seriously rock. Choked up on a Friday afternoon...unexpected and not at all a bad thing.

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  6. I love stories like this. The ones (that are very rare) where the author had very little trouble getting a publisher are the ones that bother me big time =). I'm so happy for you! You deserve this and I can't wait to read the finished product!

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  7. Once again I am so so happy for you! It's great to see you get that happy ending (or happy beginning) that I always knew you would.

    And I did NOT realize yesterday just WHO your editor was! That. Is. Awesome!

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  8. Who knew? I knew! Congrats, again. You are amazing!

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  9. Wonderful exciting news! I was so happy I actually called my sister (who introduced me to your blog) and I shared the news like you were one of our close friends-even though we've never met-funny how blogs can connect people like that! Ha ha-we were both freaking out for you and talking about how excited we were to read your book! This is fantastic news, thank you for bringing us along for the ride!

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  10. I found your blog at the perfect time. Though I haven't been along for your wild ride, I am so happy for you. Sounds like you deserve this big time. Thanks for sharing your highs and lows so others like myself can have a little hope.

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  11. Congratulations! I can't wait to read Transparent someday...you've made it to the next step! :)

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  12. Amazing! I'm so excited for you!!! Can't wait to read it!

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  13. Great story, and congrats on your first sale! Now I'll have to follow you so I can see where the story goes from here...

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  14. Wow, great news and I love your "I got the call" story!

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  15. Thanks for sharing that with us! The wait sounds like it was absolutely unbearable but definitely worth it in the end (and how inspiring! HarperTeen, wa-hoo!)

    CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN!!

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  16. very, very, happy for for you.

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  17. I am so so so so so so so ridiculously happy for you.

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You give me hope! I am so, so happy for you.

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  19. Love this story. Especially the dentist part. It's an awesome mixture of dreams and reality. :) So, so happy for you, girl! :)

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  20. I'm not really into the inspirational stories, mostly because they don't work, but yours is different. Totally, definitely different. It is inspirational, and your journey definitely keeps me going on. It makes me think of how much more rewarding reaching my destination will be after my not-so-easy journey.

    I'm really glad things worked out so well for you. You truly deserve it.

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  21. Thanks for sharing! I'm so happy and excited for you! This is really inspiring! And already I can't wait to here more about the process and your book!

    Congratulations!

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  22. Holy moly, that is a fabulous story. I am so inspired. And so happy for you. I can't wait to hear the full circle story about ERICA.

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  23. Congratulations Natalie! You are so generous and inspirational... and obviously very talented! I'm sure the destination will be worth the long journey.

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  24. Congrats again!! Very excited for you, & to see where it goes from here!

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  25. Many, many congratulations on the sale. What an awesome story.

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  26. Woot! Congrats! Can't wait to hear more about when it's coming out.

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  27. Thank you for sharing the details! This is amazing. I've followed your blog for two years and am so happy for you that your dream is coming true. You've definitely worked super hard for this, and I admire you so much. You're an inspiration!

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  28. Thank you for sharing the rest of your story. As someone who is currently on sub, it gives me hope that all this waiting might not be in vain. Still so very, very thrilled for you...

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  29. This is so fabulous! Congrats on your sale!

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  30. Love this story, I'm glad you added it onto your big announcement!

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  31. I loved reading all the congratulation comments on your announcement!!! And YAY for it being Erica.

    P.S. Cricket says hi. ;)

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  32. You give us all hope :)

    Congratulations again!

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  33. Congrats! I feel like I've been on this journey with you. Thank you so much for blogging every step of the way, it's great insight and so much fun to read what you're doing. Hard work and persistence win in the end. Inspiring.

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  34. So awesome. I love how humble you are, even though you scored a book deal! Not all authors are the same! I will continue to read your blog. And I will buy your books. You seriously, majorly rock.

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  35. I'm supercharging my hand to deliver five thousand high fives at once.

    Because this is awesome. As are you.

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  36. If only the harsh reality 'what if's were as easy to negotiate as the fictional ones...

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  37. I remember reading the post about your first time on sub, and my heart broke for you. I am SO happy that it has worked out this time. Can't wait to see your book in print. Congratulations again! You deserve it. :)

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  38. It is so nice to hear a story like that. Thank you and congratulations on your success.

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  39. Natalie, I am so very happy for you and so glad that you didn't give up and stuck it out and now you have this moment, this incredible time in your life when all that hard work and all that stress are paying off. Congratulations!

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  40. Congrats!!!!!!!! I just saw the news on the awesomeness that is Ms. Sara Raasch's blog! So. Happy. For. You!

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  41. How am I so far behind on this??? *reddens* Congratulations in a BIG way!!! I'm so happy for you. Your story gives me hope, that "plucky, obnoxious thing".

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