Authorhood is a funny thing.
Just over five and a half years ago, in December 2014, I wrote a novel. It wasn’t the first novel I started, or even the second or third. Nor was it the first or second or third novel I finished, and any author will tell you that it’s finishing a novel, not starting it, that’s the trick.
But it was… different.
When I got back from Christmas, a friend with discerning taste agreed to be a beta-reader and asked me to send her the manuscript.
Beta-reader and manuscript are both terms that I have learned to use since, not words I would’ve applied to emailing a 200 page word doc to my roommate in January 2015.
I remember that night distinctly, because she came into my room after a few hours, and told me it was good, but didn’t say anything else because she needed to get back and finish it.
We were both 21, seniors in college, right on the edge of the rest of our lives.
The manuscript didn’t languish.
I toyed with edits.
I moved overseas and earned an MA in Creative Writing.
I sent my manuscript and cover letters to dozens of agents and publishers.
There are myths among creative writers, about papering walls with rejection letters. About learning to laugh when the “thanks but no thanks” comes one night, and still send out another spate of manuscripts and cover letters the next morning.
About tailoring each submission so it looks like this agent or publisher was your first choice and not your thirtieth.
This agent wants the first two chapters and a cover letter, one document.
This one wants the first five pages and a cover letter, separate documents and no identifying marks on the first five pages, we blind read so you know it’s fair!
This publisher wants the first 10,000 words: .docx, or pdf format, .doc files can carry viruses too easily.
This one wants the first 50 pages physically mailed to them.
-We’ll send your 50 pages back to you with the rejection letter if it is a rejection letter.
On December 31, 2016 I burned 50 pages and a rejection letter in my family’s New Years’ bonfire. A fresh start for a fresh year.
In the summer 2017, my novel was accepted by Dreaming Big Publications.
And here we are, October of 2020.
Five a half years ago I wrote a thing and I thought it was good and a few friends thought it was good and a publisher thought it was good, and now it’s on Amazon!
I haven’t been faithful blogger, and can’t promise to be in the future, but over the next few weeks I will endeavor to be better.
Isn’t that what we’re all doing every day? Just trying to be better?
This timeline is just a series of snippets from a long and, often, frustrating process.
A labor of love if we want to parlay clichés.
A labor I’ll try to share a bit more of.
There are some life lessons here, something about preservation and chasing dreams, probably. At least a few posts to be milked.
We’ll figure it out together.
Until then, chase thunder lovelies! And thank you for being here!