Last January, my book went out on submission. A fun little land, filled with hopes, fears, heartache, and a whole lot of waiting. Nothing too exciting happened until March, when my story made it through editorial committee and was slotted for pub board in April (to learn more about the process toward publication, see this post by my agent).
Fast forward seven months.
I’m rushing around after work, trying to get changed so I can head out the door to a school committee meeting. Hubby’s on my computer, so I interrupt and check my email. Literally, I’m hopping on one foot, shoving the other in a shoe, impatiently waiting for Gmail to load so I can get to the meeting on time. Pub board’s the last thing on my mind.
Up pops Gmail and mixed in a pile of junk, my agent’s name. The subject line reads: Don’t get your hopes up too much yet but….
I must have misread it at first, because my hopes plummet. You see, I’d received some disappointing emails the week prior (hence, the journal entry) and was primed for letdown.
But I read Rachelle’s email, find out my book went to pub committee, and it was met with a very favorable response. My body goes all wonky. Like I’m entering into premature menopause and it can’t decide whether to be hot or cold. In the midst of some serious heart-palpitations, I think. Wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean….?
Nope. Not yet.
There’s one more level of approval to pass through and because of vacations, I won’t hear anything until November.
Fast forward a week and a half. Still October.
I’m sitting at my desk, gearing up for the Halloween party at the end of the day. One kiddo’s beside me doing math – a little guy who looks more like a 1st grader than a 5th. Nobody calls me during the school day. I don’t even know why I have my phone on. So when it buzzes, I glance at the screen, expecting one of those annoying voice-automated telemarketers with an unfamiliar area code.
Instead, my screen says Rachelle.
It’s just me and that phone.
But I can’t answer it. I’m in school. All I can do is stare at the buzzing while a million thoughts and prayers pop inside my brain. Pop. Pop. Pop. Like heated popcorn kernels. None of them coherent. Not a single, solitary one.
The buzzing stops.
The kiddo at my desk asks me a question, but I can’t process his words.
A friendly voice: Hi Katie, it’s Rachelle, and this is the call you’ve been waiting for….
I cannot think.
I cannot scream.
I cannot do anything.
I am surrounded by 5th graders.
Here’s the thing.
There were A LOT of moments, from the time I started writing my first novel, to Rachelle’s phone call, that I had some serious doubts about whether this would happen. I mean, for serious, for real doubts. The journal entry up at the top? It’s not the only one like that. My hopes had run the gamut. Super high when I got some bites. Super low, when rejection followed. But mostly – stuck in neutral. I remember thinking I’d wait forever. That I’d be this gray-haired, wrinkled, age-spotted, ninety-year old woman still waiting on pub board. People would say, “This will happen for you, Katie.” But the small voice in my head would whisper, “Yeah. But what if it doesn’t?”
Later that night, I spoke with my stellar agent, Rachelle Gardner (who’s making all kinds of dreams come true these days). She assured me this was real. It was happening. She got excited with me. And she filled me in on the details. Waterbrook Multnomah, a division of Random House, offered me a 2-book contract. Sometime next year, I’ll get to hold my very first published book in my hands. And that, my friend, is absolutely insane.
Let’s Talk: What are your dreams? What makes them worth chasing? Have you ever struggled with waiting or feeling discouraged? What have you learned on your journey?