Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New Scoop

Okay, so I realize that I haven't posted in a while. But I have a good reason. I was busy. Really, really ridiculously busy, working on my novel. But for today, I can make time. Because today was a monumental day in the life of this humble writer.

Today my agent submitted my book to a publishing house. Which one, I probably shouldn't divulge just now, but suffice it to say, it's one of the Big Ones.

How this came about is a bit of a complicated story.

When last we left our heroine, she had just heard from her agent and was feeling a tad discouraged by all the work she had ahead of her, all those chapters to revise and pages to comb over. She knew—okay, it’s weird talking about myself in third person—I knew, when I sent the novel to my agent, that I still had some major revisions ahead of me. I was just hoping to do those revisions with a publisher. Silly, idealistic me.

So when K gave me a page-long list of revisions she wanted me to work on before she submitted the novel to a publishing house, I was disappointed, and thought maybe I’d given the draft to K too soon. I looked over the novel again and it looked lumpy and malformed. How could I ever have thought it wonderful? I stuck out my lip for about two days, then stretched my fingers and started again at Chapter 1.

I worked on Chapter 1 for about a week, and by the end of the week, I was excited again. I could feel the story shaping up. Even in that short time, I felt I knew my characters so much better than before. It was great progress. But it took a whole week. And I had 19 chapters to go.

This brings me to Wednesday morning, September 9th. When there was a very big email from K.

Here’s what it said in a nutshell: K has a friend who is a YA editor at the big- publishing-house-which-will-remain-nameless. K was chatting with this friend when she just happened to mention my novel. Her friend confessed that the publishing house was “desperately” searching for a YA novel on the exact subject of my book. K elaborated on my story, which seemed wholly different than the other manuscripts that were currently under consideration at the publishing house. Her friend said she was dying to read it! K said that I was currently revising the manuscript, and it could be a while before it was ready, but would the editor consider taking a look at the first few chapters and a thorough outline? Her friend said yes, she would.

What do you think? asked K in the email.

What do I think? I think I’d better get my butt to work on the next few chapters and a thorough outline! And so I set off, fingers blazing.

K didn’t impose any real timeline on me, but she also emphasized that the publishing house was currently looking at other novels on my subject, so it would be a good idea to get my manuscript in there FAST. To say that it was a stressful week is a laughable understatement. I won’t get into the details, because they aren’t pretty. It involves major overhauls of Chapter 1, a sudden death in the family which took me to Oregon for five days, and me chewing my fingernails to the quick out of sheer nerves.

But I finished. I polished up Chapters 1-3 and sent them to K on Saturday around midnight. Then I fell into a fitful, exhausted sleep. I talked to K yesterday, and she liked what I’d done, and she emailed me this morning to report that she’d submitted the manuscript to her friend. She said it would be a week or two before they made a decision about whether to buy my book.

Crazy. Oh brave new world, this land of the publishing house.

So you can see now why I didn’t have time to write on the blog.

I’m a little hesitant to write now, truth be told, in that way that women wait until after the first trimester to tell people they’re expecting. I’m expecting, although I don’t know exactly what it is I’m gestating. The idea that the publishing house could actually BUY MY BOOK sends a blast of excitement straight to the pit of my stomach.

But there is also the very real possibility that they will choose another manuscript. If that happens, K assures me that she’ll just take my book someplace else. Which is wonderful. Did I mention that agents are better than peanut butter? When I wrote that, I had no idea just how awesome my agent was. She’s given me such amazing, shrewd suggestions without once coming off in a negative or pushy way, read hundreds of pages multiple times, sometimes overnight, suffered my incessant phone calls and panicky questions with grace and humor, and simply encouraged and reassured me at every turn. I heart K!

And who knows, by this time next week she may have sold my book. Stay tuned.