Monday, March 15, 2010

Chapter 12: The Call, or OMG SQUEE!

As I've mentioned before, I've been to a few book signings for other authors, and at each one they inevitably were asked the questions, "How many rejections did you get before your first sale?" and "What was it like when you got the call?" It gives aspiring authors comfort to know that their favorite author was once rejected too, and hearing their success stories fuels our own daydreams. I used to dream about getting the call, and imagine how I would react to it. Would I jump up and down? Would I be all cool as a cucumber and then jump up and down after I hung up? I still dream about what I'll say when I get to have my very own book signing (which I know will probably be me and my mom standing behind a table, trying to beg people to buy my book much like we begged them to buy Girl Scout cookies during my Brownie days, but it's nice to dream that one day there'll be over a hundred people crammed into a bookstore just to see me).

So there I was, I'd just completed my synopsis and my query letter, and I started submitting. On one hand, I feel like I shouldn't admit to how many more rejections I received after my very nice first rejection letter (discussed in Chapter 9: In Which I am Rejected!). Not because it's a huge number, but because it's a small, in fact. With my shiny new synopsis and query, I submitted to two places. One was an agent who almost immediately sent a lame form letter rejection. The other was Samhain. I'd first heard of Samhain through the Smart Bitches when I started following their site a few years ago (I should probably add them to the list of thank you emails), and I was instantly interested. I did research and read blogs and articles about Samhain, and I knew I wanted to work with these people, so they were the first publisher I submitted to.

I sent my novel off into the ether, and waited. And waited... On their site it says it takes 12-16 weeks for a response, and I counted every week. I'd sent it the week before I sent to the agent who almost insta-rejected me, and I was living in fear of another insta-rejection. I knew I wouldn't get the call, because this is the Intarweb age, and instead it would be the email. Every time a new email showed up in my inbox my heart skipped a beat. Then I hit week 12, and I started to stare at my inbox like my cat staring at an unopened can of tuna (in other words, "OMG WANT NAO!"). Week 12, nothin'. Week 13, more nothin'. Week 14...

So I'm sitting at my desk in my cube and there are 5 minutes left in my workday, and I'm writing my daily report and updating my time card and getting ready to leave, when I see a new message pop up in my inbox. I open up my email, and I see the subject "Blood, Smoke and Mirrors; Samhain Publishing." At this point, my heart doesn't skip a beat, but freezes entirely and falls somewhere into my stomach region, where it sat like a chunk of lead. My hands started shaking, and I somehow managed to mouse over and open it. Up pops the email, and it says, "After reviewing your submission, Blood, Smoke, and Mirrors, I'm excited to offer you a contract. CONGRATULATIONS!"

Not just serious, all caps serious. Dude.

My heart starts beating again, racing really, but one of the quirks of my office is that silence is required at all times (no, seriously, not kidding), so I can't jump up and yell "w00t!" like I really want to. Instead, I jump up and hurry over to my BFF's cube and stand next to her chair, and she looks up at me like "you're early, 5 more minutes still." And I throw my arms out and whisper "Give me a hug, they want my book!" At which point we very quietly hug and jump up and down and freak out as silently as possible. Then I ran back to my cube and shut everything down for the day, got my coat and such, and headed back to her cube. Now, oddly enough, we'd already made plans that day to go out for dinner with my husband, so I didn't call him, because I knew I'd be picking him up in a few minutes. Instead, I called my mother and told her the news, and she starts crying on the phone she's so happy. (And then she calls everyone in the Chicagoland area. I know this, because they all called me later to congratulate me. My poor cell phone nearly had a seizure.)

I leave work and head to my apartment, and my husband's waiting outside for me to pick him up for dinner. He walks over to the car and I motion for him to stop, leap out of the car (which was parked, don't panic), and throw my arms around him and start babbling about how they want my book. Now, at that time I was an editor as my day job, so he thought I meant something work-related and had no idea why I was so excited. It finally clicked that I meant my book, and I got a big congratulatory kiss.

And I've been happy dancing ever since.

Next time, I start on the "and then what happened?" of it all.


Diana said...

The "as silent as possible" freaking out did involve some squeaking. We're not made of stone.

iamtherobyn said...

Well, yeah. So we celebrated like quiet cartoon mice.