You know when Facebook asks what you’re up to, and you just can’t respond? Because you don’t want to say what’s really on your mind? Since December, I have been wanting to share with you, (and the the rest of the world) how I REALLY FEEL.
When I close my eyes, this is the way it plays out in my head:
Facebook: “How do you feel?”
Me: “You want to know how I REALLY FEEL?”
Facebook: “That’s what I asked, so yes.”
Me: “Meh. I feel MEH! And quite frankly, I’m a little pissed off!”
Facebook: “Why? What happened?”
Me: “I feel like I’ve been cheated on by the shyest boy at the 8th grade dance.”
Let me see if I can sum it up this way: This time last year, I had a book deal. A two-book gift book deal, in fact.
The funny thing is I wasn’t even looking for the book deal when a small publishing house I’ll call Rudy Lynn Publishing approached me. I had written a 5,000-word essay for one of their collections and that’s when everything started happening.
I was actually looking for an agent. One I had a crush on. I had a sticker book filled with his name, I mean agents, in cursive, that I wanted to approach. I had just finished a 40-page book proposal for my second gift book when I received an email from “Lynn,” who I had met in person at a book fest and adored instantly.
If you were to ask me how I felt the day I received the email from Rudy Lynn Publishing, I felt like I had been at an 8th grade dance and I realized the boy I had a crush on didn’t know I existed. Then out of the blue, a shy, awkward boy with braces and no rhythm came up to me at the punch bowl and asked me to dance. I was so nervous, I swallowed my gum, and said, “Yes.”
No thought process. Just “Yes.”
And I totally forgot about the boy I had a crush on. (Or the fact that I originally set out looking for an agent.)
Because – hello, there was someone that liked my writing! I was ecstatic that someone (of the opposite sex) even knew I existed. In a world of St. Elmo’s Fire Demi Moores, I was a bony, paler version of Molly Ringwald without the pretty in pink vibe.
But I still had potential!
So I started going out with the short boy, the small publisher.
We had a fun time. We talked on the phone a lot. We exchanged notes.
Passed notes in study hall.
We got serious, (after my attorney reviewed everything and I signed a two-book agreement). They were going to re-publish my first book as well as my second.
We kept writing.
Then, several months after turning in my second manuscript, which I had to revamp with new material based on what they wanted for my gift-book duo, it started to get a little colder outside. I sensed some distance in the relationship.
That’s when I received news. The boy was changing schools. Rudy of Rudy Lynn Books was leaving the firm. Lynn said she still wanted to stay in business under the same name, and keep me and a handful of other authors, but you know how hard long distance relationships can be.
By December, after months of writing and no one writing back, I received a folded up note delivered by a friend of a friend. After almost a year of staying committed, Lynn informed me that Rudy Lynn Books was closing its doors and as a result, she had to release my agreement. And agreements with all the other authors too!
This meant that everyone who I told about this deal – well, I’d have to tell them the truth.
That there was no book deal.
The book deal was gone.
Regardless how short or shy, I no longer had a “boy” I could pass notes to in class.
And the boy I had a crush on (and never knew I existed) got his braces off and started dating Ida Author, the most popular girl in junior high.
So if you want to know how I really feel: I’m really, really disappointed.
And in a Leslie Knope way, feel like I could throw a pie at someone’s face.
I feel like I could have been searching for agents or other publishers. I feel like I could have been crank calling the one I really liked! I feel like I wasted almost a year of my life on a publisher that didn’t come through for me. Although I have respect for these talented professionals, I feel like I was cheated on.
Then again, it taught me to be more careful about finding my way in this industry.
And to stay focused on what I want from the beginning. To find a trusted partner who believes in me and could represent me and help guide me in this ever-changing world of publishing.
So now, as I dust off my non-fiction book proposal and start researching agents again – I realize it’s going to be a long road. After burying myself in a pity party of holiday truffles and People magazine issues, I’m ready for a New Year and New Me. As I attempt to pull my sports bra over my head and slap on some self-tanner, the pace of the treadmill may be slow, but like they say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Maybe the offer I received was too good to be true. It happened, but it happened really fast. I never even had a chance to taste the punch.
Maybe I should listen to what my close friends say about it all.
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
“When one door closes, a window flies open.”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Maybe I should listen. (Not to every Kelly Clarkson lyric.) But maybe they’re onto something.
I may feel like I wasted a year, but maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Maybe it’s worth it to start this process over again to find myself, my most authentic voice, in the midst of finding Mr. Write.