Something pretty amazing happened to me near the end of August! I signed a contract for my picture book, A BLANKET IN THE SNOW: QUATIE ROSS AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS! The book is with 4RV Publishing, and is tentatively scheduled for a fall 2017 release. It’s my first contract for a traditionally published picture book, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
The contract came in the mail right around my 50th birthday, so that was awesome! It was also right in the middle of sending my daughter off to college and my son getting married. So the fanfare was short but sweet. About two weeks after I’d signed on the dotted line and done some requested edits, my son asked, “So Mom, what happens next?”
I chuckled then answered, “We wait!”
“What do you mean wait?” he replied.
“It’s like I said, we wait. . .”
“But don’t you have something else to do? When’s the book coming out? Aren’t there more steps?” he questioned.
“Yes,” I said, “but the first step is to wait. Wait to be assigned an editor, wait to be paired with an illustrator, wait for more editorial notes, wait for an exact publication date- you know, wait.”
“But haven’t you already waited long enough?” he said.
Haven’t I already waited long enough? I thought.
Sure. Of course. Absolutely. But really? Long enough? Let’s see. . .
We all know that behind the excitement of a book deal is a lot of hard work and waiting. But the question, “Haven’t you waited long enough?” just isn’t part of the equation. It can’t be for any serious writer.
There’s no way to measure how long is “long enough.” Writing is such a personal journey, and every person’s story and path to publication is different. I live my life believing that things come to us when it’s time. But that doesn’t trump all the hard work it takes to realize a dream. There’s a balance of responsibility to your calling, trust in the process, open doors and a sprinkling of talent for good measure. No one part can be rushed or missing. It’s only when the time is right and the story is the best you can make it that the contract will follow or it won’t.
So what do I do next? I wait. But while I’m waiting, I’m working like crazy on other manuscripts as well as submitting, so that the next opportunity is there at just the right time with just the right house. And when the next contract comes (see how I said “WHEN”;) I’ll sign it, send it back and, you guessed it, WAIT! It’s what we writers do best. . .well, at least you get better at it the longer you do it.
Here’s to working and waiting. You can’t have one without the other!
Sensibility- There’s no greater joy for a writer than opening your email and seeing, “We’re happy to inform you. . .” When it comes, savor it!
Sense- Once you hit “send” and submit your manuscript, it’s time to get going on something else. Make the most of your “waiting” time by writing and polishing your next story.
What’s the first thing you do after submitting a manuscript? Get started on something new? Revise a work-in-progress? Eat ice cream and chocolate? Do tell. . .