September 14, 2017
Why I’m Writing This Path to Pub Blog
The Subway Girls won’t be published until next summer, but because there are so many exciting things happening, I’ve decided to document them. For three reasons. First, I want a record of this experience for myself because I have a terrible memory so documenting all of the steps will allow me to reflect and remember. Second, I have read dozens of posts like this from other authors and perhaps, my experiences will help another first-timer who has no idea what to expect. Third, many of my readers (and my mom) tell me they like the behind-the-scenes accounts, and well, sharing is caring.
Lots to catch up on from the past year. Here’s a recap…
Late summer/early fall of 2016, I finished writing the first draft of The Subway Girls (then titled Miss Subways, I’ll tell this story another day). After going through a grueling round of developmental edits with the very intelligent and talented Nicola Kraus, I began querying agents. Several of my author friends graciously introduced me to their agents while other queries went out cold and were destined for the lowly slush pile. I prepared for a long haul.
One of the agents I was really interested in was Carly Watters, of PSLA Literary. In order to give myself a leg up, I signed up for Carly’s Writer’s Digest “How to Get an Agent” webinar partly to learn how to get an agent, but also because part of the class was a query critique from Carly. Basically, she had to read my query, which ensured it wouldn’t languish in the slush pile and run the risk of not being seen.
Two months after I submitted my query to her, she requested the full manuscript. (I went a little out of my mind.) And then, after she had time to read the full, she requested a time to talk. (More out of my mind.) Would it be “The Call” I wondered? “The Call,” for those of you not in the publishing industry, is when you get an offer of representation from an agent via telephone. It might be one of the most exciting things to ever happen to an author. It was for me. I went completely out of my mind. She offered me representation. A real live agent, a smart, savvy, professional, and well-respected one at that, wanted to be my agent. Sold. Done. How fast can I sign the contract?
The next step was a round of edits with Carly. And then she started working on the submission package. Our timing was good because we had November and December to button things up before Carly would put the manuscript on submission to publishing houses in January of this year, 2017.
I remember getting my first rejection. I was actually excited. Not about the rejection, but about the fact that my ms had been read by an editor at a big house. That was surreal to me. After a few more rejections, I wasn’t so excited. That feeling had worn off, quickly. I went into a funk. I found author blogs on rejection and, even though I knew I wasn’t alone in this boat, it helped to read about how other authors had experienced the same thing. I tried positive visualization. I blew on a lot of eyelashes. I may have even pulled some out of my own face just so I could make a wish on them and blow. I wallowed. I languished. I ate a lot of ice cream. And then I went zen. I found some place in my brain where I settled into the fact that everything is a process, everything happens when it’s supposed to, and I needed to relinquish my obsession with it happening RIGHT NOW because I had no control. I double clicked on Insta posts like this one from @ReeseWitherspoon:
And this one from Kelli Pease @Happsters:
And guess what happened next?
Stay tuned for my Chapter Two on signing with a publisher…