The winner of the giveaway on Wednesday is: Booth Talks Books! Sherry has sent you an email.
Welcome, Debra Sennefelder! Debra and I haven’t met but a few weeks ago she left a comment on one of our blogs that she’d just signed a contract for a book! I was so happy she shared her news with us and when I had the idea for doing the After The Contract series, I hoped she’d be able to share her experiences!
I was so honored and thrilled when Sherry asked if I would write a post about my brand-spanking new contract. It took all of a nano-second to type my reply and here I am today.
“The call” came the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. I was home just finishing up my lunch break from writing when the phone rang. The caller ID said it was my agent. Oh, boy. Either she had great news or bad news, like all the editors we’d sent the submission to passed on it and made the suggestion I should give up writing forever (I know, that seems extreme but it’s how a writer’s mind works). Since it was 50/50, I took a deep breath and answered the call. She gave me the news. Good news! Kensington Publishing had offered me a 3-book contract for my Food Blogger Mystery series. That phone call was about to change my life (maybe a little too dramatic?) but truly things were about to change.
I was speechless (rare). My dream publisher wanted to buy my book. Three books. I recovered and somehow managed to have a coherent conversation with my agent and then we said goodbye. I had a decision to make of whether or not to accept the offer. But first I needed to process what just had happened. I’d spent months writing the book that was now in my new editor’s hand. I’d spent years pursuing publication. I’d spent years learning the craft of writing. And now it was actually going to happen. I was going to become a published author. The hour following the call is a blur. Text messages and phone calls to family and close friends and my critique partner. Everyone was excited and I was still in shock.
Fast forward a few weeks when I shared the news with those beyond my inner circle and was overwhelmed with everyone’s reaction. Everybody was thrilled, excited and they had loads of questions. But at that time I had little information – 3-book contract, first book due out in early 2018. Title? I wasn’t sure if the publisher would keep the title I gave the book. I have since learned that the publisher is keeping the title so the first book is called The Uninvited Corpse.
When I first got the call and shared my good news with fellow authors I received what seems to be a never ending list of things I will need to do. Social media. Newsletter. Blog tours. Excerpts. Graphics for social media. Goodreads. Amazon author page. Website. Promotional material. Write the next book. Write the third book. My head was spinning. I was told all that I had to do now but the truth was all I had to do at that moment of receiving “the call” was to enjoy the moment. Of course I expect to have many, many more calls about offers to publish future works (hope my editor is reading) but it will never be the first call again. I needed to enjoy the moment.
The next thing I made sure to do is breathe. With what I had to do for my editor, granted it wasn’t a lot of work but it was very important work, and writing the second book and working a full-time job and life, I could have easily dropped the ball many times. But I chose to breathe and not let everything that I needed to do overwhelm me. I think I’ve been smart, at least I hope I have, and began a spreadsheet for all of my social media for the year, I’ve set up an accounting system, I’ve started a newsletter (best to get into the routine now and you’ll find the sign-up form on my website – see, I’m honing my blatant self-promotion skills), I’ve started using my Outlook calendar for dates of blog posts and I’m heavily relying my handy-dandy organizer for notes and keeping my daily schedule on track. To think that when I got the call I thought that early 2018 was so far away but now I’m thinking early 2018 is close. Amazing how our perspective changes over time.
For the rest of December and January I kept my head down working on the second book which is due in the fall of this year. But it still didn’t feel real to me. Maybe it was because I didn’t have anything tangible besides a signed contract and a telephone conversation with my editor. You would think that would be enough but it kinda wasn’t. Then came two things that needed to be done for my editor – an author Q&A needed to be completed and feedback on the cover of the book. A cover? Wow. My book was going to have a cover. Well, of course it was and I knew that but to think about what the cover would look like? It was getting real now. To make it more real, my editor wanted the outline for book 2 by a specific date. I now had a deadline and now it was real.
Let me wrap this post up with one final thought on being in-between the signing of the contract and the release of the book. I knew that signing the contract meant I’d be faced with a boatload of work and I prepared myself for that. What I didn’t prepare for was how much I would truly enjoy everything that I’m being tasked with doing. What’s that old saying, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life? It’s true. I don’t believe I’ll ever have another work day again.
Thank you Wickeds for letting me share my contract experience with everyone. Before I go I’d like to remind everyone that dreams to come true. Believe and don’t give up.
Readers: What dreams have you refused to give up on?