Friday, November 20, 2009
Yes, strains of Carly Simon are beating against my brain right now... in fact, most of the time, lately.
Let me tell you, it is nothing like a fine wine and it definitely does not mellow with age. I thought it was bad when I finished my first book and sent out those initial queries, but I can hardly stand it these days. Sure, I'm hard at work on my next YA masterpiece, but it's also comforting to know that writers aren't the only ones who suffer through this process. Check out Agent Nathan Bransford's quandary. (of course, for some reason, when I read the title of his post, Tom Petty temporarily shoves Carly aside for strains of Waiting is the Hardest Part...)
I don't know about others, but in my case, the evolution of my particular mania is somewhat perplexing to a logical brain and frankly, the obsession is reaching epic proportions.
In the beginning...(cue the music)...I posted my little missive, dressed in its finest and tattooed with the perfect postage, in the box outside my door and immediately started fantasizing about the arrival of a shiny new contract...quickly followed by the inescapable Newbery or Printz or a plethora other book prizes, then the image of my tapping out one awesome book after another. Oh, and yes, my ravenous fingers were groping the mailbox the very next day...and the next...and the next... Mail and I definitely have a love/hate relationship. Even when I lived abroad, I hoped against hope for something exciting in the post. It never came.
So then the question arose in my spastic brain, "will it be a letter? or a contract in the mail? or a phone call?" (email hadn't quite overrun the universe, yet) No matter what, I could never unchain myself from my completely irrational faith in the postal option. (To this day, I still haven't managed that!)
Of course now it is a digital universe and email is far more the standard. So I have another mania to occupy my days. How many times do you check your email? If I could, I'd hook myself up to it like an IV drip! And holy crap! Don't forget to check the spam filter!
When it came to getting my agent, it was email...at least for the introductions. Yes, the agent search can be as sphincter-clenching as the pursuit of the publishing contract...perhaps even more because you want to build a long-lasting relationship that will weather any publishing storm. After a lot of research, I would email a query. Then I would get a request for a partial or, in most cases, a full manuscript. (I was onto something!). And then there it was. AN EMAIL! Not an offer, mind you, but a request for a phone conversation. Perfect! Then it was the phone conversation...and then the offer. Followed by some end-zone dancing, spiking of pillows, a few squeals, and finally...breath. And the thing that made it great was that the phone call told me that this was a perfect match. We got each other. We shared the vision. We wanted the same things.
So, editors...now it's your turn. Make this little red-head dance like a Tazmanian Devil all around her house. I know you've had my manuscript for what, 2 weeks? I know that you saw that email come through. You know, the one with the amazing title and the pitch packet that you couldn't put down? Yeah...You've got the manuscript loaded on your kindle and can't put it down... You've read it twice already because you adore it, right? You're just stuck on whether to offer a basic contract or a multi-book deal...right? Am I right?
To answer Nathan's question...that's what I do when I'm waiting for a response on a submission.
Go stark, raving mad.