Friday, December 22, 2006

The Call!!

Every writer craves The Call. That’s the day your phone rings and an editor or agent says the words, “We’d like to make an offer for your book.” When I last blogged (on October 14th), I alluded to great things happening in my life. That’s because my Call came on October 10th.

It was Tuesday afternoon and I was at work. My smartphone buzzed and a text message popped up that I almost ignored. Tekkie that I am, I have mobile mail, so I’m alerted whenever I get a new personal email. Curious, I logged on and opened my inbox. And there it was:

“Thank you for allowing Dorchester to consider your manuscript, WHERE SOULS COLLIDE. I would like to make an offer to publish for 2007.”

The email was from Monica Harris, now my editor. I called her back to discuss the terms, as she’d requested, and found out they wanted to publish the book in the Spring and she needed my full manuscript.

Backtrack here. Part of the reason the offer was so exciting is because it came on a partial. Translation for non-writers means that the process went a little different for me than it does for many first-time writers. Typically, you send off a query letter and the first three chapters of your book. If they like it, the editor writes back and asks for the full manuscript. Then, if they want to publish, they make you an offer. However, once you’ve published a book, many editors will make an offer on proposal. That’s a partial from an incomplete book. So, because I’m a first-timer, getting an offer on my partial was quite an honor.

Now back to The Call.

I asked Monica for time to think about her offer. I contacted an agent who’d expressed a belated interest in the book (at that time titled INKLING) only to find that she felt there wasn’t much she could do since I’d already accepted the offer. I talked to my critique partners, one of whom uses a literary attorney to review her contracts, pays the lawyer a flat fee and keeps the 15 percent (of everything) that would otherwise go to an agent.

In addition to all the external folk, I chatted this over (incessantly) with my husband. Called my family and friends and accepted the offer two days later. That was Thursday. I then dashed off to Staples for proper manuscript mailing supplies and spent the weekend giving the book one last read before shipping it off. And, yes, printing 400+ pages in 12 point Courier will use an entire ink cartridge. (I now have several extras on hand.)

Monica received the priority mail package on the 18th and my waiting began. Colleagues and critique partners warned me that the writing world moves slowly. It would be 4-6 weeks at least before I received my contract. One colleague said hers took “a good” two months. Didn’t matter. I ‘bout wore the mailbox out checking it every day.

Then, finally, (actually two months to the day from when Monica received the full), I arrived home to find an oversized envelope sticking out of the mailbox. And it said Dorchester in the corner. Woo hoo! (Stole that phrase from a friend.)

Since then, I’ve faxed off the contract to a literary attorney for review. I have to return it before Jan. 2nd. I’ve talked to my editor who tells me my editorial letter (and revisions I presume) will be mailed “before Christmas.” Guess how I’ll be spending my holiday vacation?

I wouldn’t dare complain about the work ahead. I’ve been writing since I was ten and I am so ready for this.

Till next time –