Today is my anniversary. Not of my marriage. Not of the birth of my children. Today is the anniversary of the sale of my first book. One year ago today, at 10:35 am EST, my agent called to say she'd accepted an offer from Berkley/Penguin on my behalf. I remember everything about that day with the clarity reserved for all struggles that end in triumph. I remember what I was wearing, what I ate, and who I was with. I remember saying over and over, I'm a soon-to-be published author.
One year later, I'm still a soon-to-be published author. I'm just a little bit closer. In six months, my book, Negotiation Generation: Take back your parental authority without punishment, will be on book store shelves. Here is the gist of my journey.
As a column writer for a number of parenting magazines and newspapers, I'd always dreamed of writing a book. One with my thoughts and opinions laid down on the page. I imagined it filled with stories related to me by the hard-working parents and professionals I'd worked with over the years. I even had the cover imprinted in my mind. I thought a great deal about my book, yet I never found the time, or made the commitment to write it.
When my mother died in 2000, I had one of those moments. You know, the kind where you realize time is swiftly moving, and nothing you want to do in your life should be postponed. I decided it was time to write my book.
In 2001, I finished my proposal, three chapters, and my agent research. I sent queries out to five agents. After four form rejection letters, I received a request for my proposal. Five days later, an offer of representation. Three years and thirty plus rejection letters later (for two different projects), I made the tough decision to terminate my agreement for representation with my agent. She'd gotten me into four editorial meetings with small houses, but was never able to seal the deal. I knew her passion for my work had waned, leaving me to wonder if it had ever really been there in the first place.
I thought about giving up; though my husband says I just threatened to give up. He never believed for a minute I would. He let me wallow in my rejection for a short time, and then encouraged me to start fresh, try again. So I created yet another spin on my thoughts and ideas about parenting, and started querying agents again.
The members of my writers' group-- three of the most supportive writers you could ever hope to know-- will tell you my experience was a whirlwind of positive responses. Emails, phone calls, a trip to New York, and a book deal in short order. To some it seemed like it all came easily. I knew better. It was exactly six years and three projects from start to book deal.
In the last year, I've written another proposal for a parenting book, and I'm revising my novel. Still, none of it comes easy. And I know there are zero guarantees about future publication. But this much I do know. It can happen. It does happen. My experience taught me a valuable lesson, one I'd like to share with you. I've learned that the difference between a writer and an author is persistence.
Thursday, March 15, 2007