Sep 26, 2011

storytime!! (or, how my book found a home)

Publishing a book is no easy feat. It is, in most cases, a nail-biting, agonizing, dragged out process. First you have to write the book. Which is a feat in itself. Then you have to revise the book to perfection. Then you need to find an agent.
            Once all of these hurdles are out of the way, you revise even more and once your agent approves, your book goes out on submission.
I went out on submission on July 12th fully prepared for the average wait times that pretty much every other author I knew had experienced. Two to six months was the norm, that’s what the blog posts and the forum posts said anyway. I prepared myself for the wait.
And then, a day later, superagent wrote back telling me that one of the editors already loved the book! Of course this set my nerves on edge. I started biting my nails and checking my email every hour (at least, and that’s the dignified estimate).
Then there was silence. For ten whole days.
Oh silence. We often forget how terrible it is. It’s excruciating. I tried to distract myself, but it’s hard when you’re steaming milk and getting mocha stained embedded on your arm hair every day. It’s in those moments, between the grumpy customers and the endless chatter on the drive-through headsets, that you dream of the “what-if.”
The what-if is a cruel monster, taunting you with futures untested. I tried my best to keep it away. To stay “grounded” (whatever that means). But it was in vain. I couldn’t help but dream of deals with big publishers and what that might mean for my life.
THEN superagent sent an email saying that interested editor was bringing it before the editorial board. Commence second round of intense nail biting. This lasted only twenty-four hours before I received a second email. This one told me that the editors loved it and that the manuscript would be brought to an acquisitions meeting in just over a week.
ONE WEEK? What did they want me to do? Go insane?
And indeed, that is almost what happened. I spent the week in a constant state of nausea. I tried not to think about the impending meeting, which was impossible, and every time it did pop into my thoughts I wanted to throw up. Which was a lot. Fortunately, I never actually succeeded in vomiting, although by the end of the week poor hubby was very sick of me whining and agonizing over the approaching date.
Then the day came. I knew I would find out that day. The knowledge was terrible. I was shaky when I woke up, but determined to distract myself. I had breakfast with my dear friend, Elizabeth. Then she had to leave me for work. So I latched myself to another dear friend and went thrift-store shopping (one of my favorite ultimate pastimes). When I hadn’t heard by the end of our thrift-store extravaganza, we went to get frozen yogurt (fro-yo in dear friend’s words). I ate slowly through my cheesecake frozen yogurt with Reese’s pieces, cookie dough and Andes mints (weird combo, I know) and wondered about the state of my email inbox, which I’d left untouched for nearly three hours. Fortunately, dear friend had a smart phone, which she lent for my use.
Lo and behold, what did I find but an email from superagent.
Reading from other author’s experiences, I’d always imagined that superagent would call me with the good news. And that I would scream and cry. Neither of those things happened. Superagent had simply sent an email letting me know that an offer would soon be made. I sat and blinked at the screen for a minute before dear friend asked me if I’d heard anything.
I told her and she screamed.
Almost two months later, the news still hasn’t fully sunk in. I know, in the very abstract sense, that HarperCollins will be publishing my book, that I will get to hold the words that I wrote in a bound, published form. My life is changing slowly because of it. I left my job at Starbucks and returned to my job as a preschool teacher to make more time for writing. I am being blessed with the amazing opportunity to meet and entertain over 11 NYT bestselling authors in my hometown come November. Doors are opening that I never thought possible.
It is both intensely good and insanely terrifying.
And it makes me feel like this.

Soli Deo Gloria


  1. What an amazing ride you've had (are still having)! Good on you, Ryan. Enjoy.

  2. Very cool story! I can almost feel the angst you went through... :) Congrats again! Looking forward to seeing your book on the shelves! :)

  3. Lovely story and congrats. (I love thrift store shopping, too.)

  4. Oh my gosh, you just made me so excited for all the good things in your future! What an awesome story, and I'm sooooo happy for you. I can't wait to buy a copy!

    (And you just made me soooo nervous for my upcoming subs... The plan is to start shopping my manuscript on October 12th, and I am already biting my nails in anticipation.) Yikes!

  5. Kathryn: I wish that angst on no one! It was awful.

    Kristin: Thanks! Thrift store shopping is the absolute best. I go at least twice a month.

    LisaAnn: Thanks so much!! Good luck on your upcoming subs... Try to focus on other projects, it helps keep you from going completely mental!