I was on my way out the door today, when Mr. Williams, our doorman, stopped me and said a package had arrived. I grabbed it and hurried out to get a cab to a meeting. (It's 32 degrees and I had on a skirt, what can I say). In the cab, I flipped over the package and tore it open, and lo and behold, there it was: my book. The very first sighting of it in its full, printed, glory.
I was so excited I had to show the cab driver. (This is the life of a writer--because your day is spent largely solo, you end up sharing big moments with cab drivers, doormen, and baristas.)
Yes, it's been three years nearly to the day that I was bracing myself against the December wind as I crossed the Michigan Avenue bridge, on my way to the restaurant to meet my sister for breakfast and to await word from my agent on the bidding process that was to commence at 10am. I'm not sure if the shivering was from the cold or my nerves.
My sister and I made small talk over french toast, but really, we were waiting for that phone to ring. Finally, with my second cup of coffee just delivered, it rang. The bids were starting to come in. It was a whirlwind of good news followed by better news. I could not believe it. This kind of thing just does not happen to me. Usually, I have to call with tamped down news, to which my mother usually says, "oh well, you can't expect miracles," or something equally uplifting (we were not of the generation where everyone wins for just showing up).
But in this case, the news kept getting better. I was ready to jump at the Simon & Schuster offer, but our agent said, hang on, Random House has yet to chime in. And sure enough, the next call was theirs. It was a great offer--but the best part, for me at least, was the editor herself, the much adored Toni Burbank. She'd been with Random House for most of her career, and when we pitched the book to her in person, I felt a connection. She "got it." I wanted to learn from her what it was like to write a book. And so, we clinched the deal in January 2008.
And today, a mere THREE YEARS later, after much turmoil and publishing's economic meltdown, in which we lost not only Toni to layoff, but our next editor, Philip as well, and other unforeseen delays (thank you George Bush for publishing this fall), I have in front of me the final book--and no small thanks goes out to our lovely and talented editor, Angela.
Having gone through the entire process now, from writing a proposal, to getting an agent, to pitching a book and having it go to auction, to writing draft after draft after draft after draft... to edits, and copyedits, to book covers, and flap copy, and blurbers, and marketing pushes, and media tapings (mortifying), and ... the list continues--- the book is finally, irrevocably done. It hits the bookstores in less than a month.
Favorite line: "But I'm the talent, that's what editors are for." OR
"I'm going to take a copy to Random House. They've never seen anything like this. I know that they'll want to talk to me right away."