I've always wanted to type that title.
In writer-speak, getting The Call is not God urging you to become a priest. It’s when your agent calls you to tell you that an editor wants to buy your book.
I've been DYING to tell you.
Let me start at the beginning. My incredible agent, Susanna Einstein, sent off my manuscript on Monday, October 27th, to seven or eight publishers. I tried really hard not to think about it. Tried to push it out of my mind. This, by the way, is like sharing a desk with a plate of fresh fudge and trying to ignore it for hours, days, on end.
On Halloween morning, four days later, I woke up at seven o’clock. I’d been having a wonderful dream, one of those that you don’t want to leave. But I needed to get up.
I started the coffee. I blearily rubbed my eyes. I sat at the computer to work.
Now, my normal M.O. is to sit and write for about an hour or so before I allow myself to check email or anything online. I don’t turn my airport connection off, though, because I like to write with Pandora playing in the background, so I need to be online. So I don’t check email, but my email notifier still comes through, because I’m too lazy to disable it.
I opened the document I had last been working on. I stared at it. My eyes might have crossed in sleepiness, I’m not sure.
My computer bing-ed and I saw a message come in. My gmail notifier lets me see who sent it and displays the first sentence.
The email was from Susanna. It said, “Call me as soon as you wake up.”
My heart started to race. Literally. As I dialed her number, my hands were shaking. With delight in her voice, she told me that Avon (a division of HarperCollins) wanted my book! Wanted to BUY it!
Not only that, but they wanted a THREE-BOOK DEAL.
I looked up, out the window, while she was talking. Was I still dreaming? The dream I’d had right before waking up had been so good, so vivid. Was this just an extension of the dream? Was I still in bed? I remember seeing the pigeons that I hate perched up on the eave outside my window. I didn’t think I’d see the pigeons if it was just a good dream. I loved those pigeons at that moment. I think I asked Susanna that, who assured me, no, I wasn’t dreaming.
This was on Friday. She used the day to call the other editors who had the manuscript – she told them there was an offer on the table. We’d wait to hear back from them before accepting.
I still wrote. Isn’t that weird? I spent about an hour, calling every person I could think of, telling them I got the call. Then I sat down and wrote. I wrote crap, I’m sure. I’m positive it was nothing but drivel. But I wanted to honor that belief that the New York publishing world had in me, in my own silly way. I wanted to write.
I spent that weekend walking on clouds. Early last week, a week ago Monday, my book got into a little bidding war. A bidding war! My book! By last Friday, though, Avon had successfully maintained its grasp on it. I was glad: They were the first to believe in it, and in my naïve-to-publishing mind, I wanted them to win.
Right now, as I type this, I’m waiting for an introductory phone call from my new-to-me editor, May Chen. I’m as nervous as Miss Idaho in the same room as a man with a hat. If I still smoked (six years smoke-free), I would be chaining.
While I wait, let me copy and paste what was in the November 11th Publisher’s Marketplace:
Rachael Herron's debut ELIZA'S COTTAGE, in which a rancher's way of life is threatened by a woman trying to escape her past; the first book in the KNIT TWO TOGETHER series, to May Chen at Avon, in a good deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring 2010, by Susanna Einstein at LJK Literary Management (NA).
(I know, it feels like forever away: Spring 2010. But I’m told by everyone who knows publishing that the time will fly by.)
Of all things, I think Mom would have been most excited by this. Remember when PM was in paper? For sale? (Is it still, or is it just online now? I’m not sure.) She loved that magazine – she’d read it cover to cover. She always knew the news, knew the book buzz. She’d be really, really happy to see my name in it.
An hour later – I’m back! My editor called! (I have an editor! Of my own!) She is awesome. I am now convinced that I have the best agent and the best editor in the world.
I am SO glad I got to tell you. I couldn’t wait.
I’m so happy. Thank YOU all, for believing in me. I also have the best readers in the world. How lucky I am.
(PS – leave a comment or drop me an email if you want to be added to my writing email list — I won't spam you, but I'll let you know when the book is coming out so you don't miss it!)
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