It’s been 8 months since I blogged about how I got my agent. In fact, there hasn’t been a blog post since then, but there’s a reason for that. You see, less than 3 months after that post, I got an offer.
Yes. An offer.
Like an offer on my book.
To get published.
In fact, I still don’t know how to process it, but I’m going to tell you how it all went down because like everything in publishing, there is no easy road.
Picture it. December 23rd. The day before Christmas Eve and i’m in midst of running around, frantically getting all things ready for the following day.
I was pulling into the garage at my house when my phone rang. Kimberly Brower, my agent’s name, popped up. I glanced at it and realized it must have been a mistake. There was no reason for her to me calling me. Everyone was checked out for the holidays and Kimberly and I had touched base the week before. My book had gone on submission (for those of you not familiar, that means my book was ready to find a publishing home. Kimberly began sending it out to some editors she thought would be a good fit for my book baby. That began the week before Thanksgiving, about a month prior.)
I get inside and DING. She left a message. I checked it before I even put the bag of groceries I was holding in my free hand down.
“Hi Melissa! It’s Kimberly. I don’t know if you got the chance to see the email I just sent, but I was wondering if you had time for a quick call today? If you do, give me a call.”
There was only one logical explanation for her calling–there was an offer. However, anyone who knows me well enough, and some of you probably have figured out, I am not always logical. In fact, I have a tendency to jump to worse case scenario first. So, the only explanation for her calling was for her to break up me. I mean, that was the ONLY POSSIBLE reason, right?
Checked my email. Same message.
“You around? Time for a quick chat?”
Mr. Mel walked in room. “Why are you just standing there holding a bag and looking confused.”
Me: “Kimberly called. She wants to talk. Now. “
He starts getting excited. I tell him to stop. I tell him she’s going to break up with me. I’m just a bit too “ME” for her. She’s realized she’s made a huge mistake and obviously wants to go into the holidays with a clear conscience.
“Um,” he said. “I don’t think that’s it.”
I shoved the bag at him. “You don’t know anything! I’m going into the bedroom to call her and don’t bother me until I come out and can process this awful news.”
Yes. My husband is a saint. I’m a little Miss Piggy, without all the hitting. He’s a little bit Kermit.
I went into my bedroom, closed the door and grabbed whatever religious artifacts I could find. I took some deep breaths and called Kimberly.
“Hi,” I said. “It’s Melissa. You, um, wanted to talk?”
Her: “Hi! So glad you called back!”
Well, she didn’t have to be so excited about leaving me. Geez.
Her: “I have some news.”
Me: “Okay.” ::starts rubbing rosary beads and sprinkling myself in Holy Water.::
Her: “We have an offer, Melissa!”
Her: “We have an offer!”
I vaguely remember her telling me that an editor had read my manuscript and had loved it so much she couldn’t wait to offer. Not only that, but she loved the ideas I had for two books after this manuscript, that she was offering on all 3 books. She wanted a series.
She talked. I listened.
I needed to make sure I was hearing this all correctly.
Me: “Wait. Is this for real?”
Her: “Yes! Yay!!”
What followed was a series of “Oh my GOD”and “Are you serious?” In retrospect, I’m fairly certain Kimberly had reached her Melissa Hysterical Response limit and was like…
We ended the call after she told she would let the other editors that still had the manuscript know there was an offer. We’d talk more after the holidays.
Dazed, I left the bedroom, and found Mr. Mel standing in the hallway.
Him: “What is it?”
Me: “I think…well, I know…someone wants my book. She loved it and she wants it. I have an offer.”
Keep in mind I still was trying to process this because it was so unbelievable. The timing, that it was really happening, and well, everything was so unreal.
Mr. Mel grabbed and starts hugging and twirling me around. He puts me down and he’s crying. My husband, who’d I only see cry on our wedding day and the day our son was born, was crying.
With all my sensitivity training in place, I stepped back and shouted, “Oh my God! Why are you crying? Please STOP. STOP.”
Him: “Honey! You did it! It’s happening! Your dream is coming true.”
(If you’ve never watched the Kristen Bell interview on Ellen on the day she met a sloth, please do. In fact, I linked it below. Basically it was me during this entire offer episode. If you have seen it, you know what my reaction was now becoming…)
It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
In the weeks that followed, there was not one, but two other offers from different publishers. I didn’t know how I was going to decide. I really didn’t. I weighed pros and cons, asked writer friends for advice, talked with the offering editors and considered everything to the point of exhaustion.
I always came back to the same one. It felt right.
I had a call scheduled with Kimberly while I visiting my best friend in California. We talked as I ate In-n-Out burger (Look! I only get my most favorite cheeseburger once a year…MAYBE. I wasn’t missing out on it book deal or not!) and told her my decision.
What followed was additional talks, emails and contract stuff. This was all in January.
Now. I know what you’re thinking: Um. Melissa. It’s June. Why are we just now hearing this?
I’ll tell you why.
Publishing is a business where things flow by way of different wavelengths. Sometimes things are fast. Sometimes not so much. Sometimes people get an agent after sending out 2 queries on their first manuscript. I got my agent after my third manuscript. It can take some a year or more to get a publishing offer, or not at all. It happens all the time. Mine got an offer after a month. It has NOTHING to do with how “good” a manuscript is–it’s all about timing.
That said. Some things took some time to get all settled, but I was okay with that. I’d caught the dream I had been chasing for so long. Was it hard to wait to tell THE WORLD? Um. YES. But, again, I was okay with it.
On June 1st, Publisher’s Marketplace posted my announcement.
I’m so, so grateful for my agent, Kimberly Brower. She puts up with my endless questions, concerns and all my newbie-ness with the patience of, well, something super, super patient.
I’m thrilled to be working with Megha and Lexi at Forever Yours. They are both so enthusiastic and I can’t help but want to push myself even harder creatively because of it.
SO TWISTED, the first book in the Bad Behavior series, will be released November 1, 2016.
I really don’t believe in accidents. I believe that everything happens in its own time, and right when it should be. It may not be when we want it to happen, but things will fall where it was suppose to. This morning, one of those Facebook ‘Remember When’ photos popped up from 2 years ago today.
It was a long, long climb. There were times I didn’t think I could go any further, but I did. I’m glad I did.
I’m starting to enjoy the view.
P.S. Here’s Kristen Bell’s Sloth Meltdown. Yup. ALL ME.