Note: Originally published online 21 October, 2011.
It’s official! My debut novel, Starstruck, will be published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc. sometime between May and July 2012.
As a new author, this is the most exciting news EVER since the dawn of time! All that effort and energy spent polishing your baby until it shines as bright as you could possibly make it has actually paid off, and you’re ecstatically happy you spent so many hours agonizing over every single word.
The feeling of accomplishment and pride is somewhat overwhelming at first, but hidden beneath the layers of happiness and internal pats on the back lays that foreboding sliver of self-doubt. Was it really good enough? Had my editor been abducted by aliens or gone temporarily insane the day my manuscript happened to cross paths with her desk? These questions, and many more, invade the wannabe author’s psyche and threaten to infect the very core of human self-worth.
Could it be friends and family fibbed after looking over your story, telling you how great they thought it was before you eventually built up enough courage to submit your first born for publication and potential humiliation? Were you destined to be like one of those pitiful “Idol” contestants who embarrassingly front for audition after everyone who personally knew them assured them they sung just like Pavarotti or Adele, when in reality they can’t even hold a tune close to a strangled chicken?
As writers our journeys are very unique, personal, and close to our hearts. Our wants and needs, our experiences, greatly differ and vary with measures and degrees, but an active imagination (whoever you are, or wherever you come from) wants only to soar to the highest altitude possible when set free, naturally spawning the desire to share what we’ve created with anyone who gives a damn. We crave acceptance and praise, and just like any other artist…be it a singer, a musician, a painter, a sketcher, a poet, a sculptor, a jeweler, a song writer, a photographer…whatever craft takes your fancy, the aim for all remains the same—we want our intended audience to see, to think, to feel, to enjoy our creation to the fullest. Our intention, I think, is for you to enjoy the show as much as we did creating it, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll choose to ride our particular brand of rollercoaster, again and again.
Right about here would be a really good time to try and pass on some invaluable advice to other writers, who also aspire to have their work published, but I don’t feel I’ve earned the right yet, nor the level of wisdom required—my training wheels have only just been installed, after all, my balance still on the shaky side. So, maybe when I’ve gained more confidence and am able to race down that hill with no hands, I’ll have something more worthwhile to offer, but for now I would like to say one thing…don’t give up if you want something badly enough. Even when you finally summon the courage to submit your manuscript to a publisher only to have it rejected, take it with a grain of salt, acknowledge it, but then let it go and move on to the next. Try to remember, everyone has different tastes (even publishers) and what might not be one’s cup of tea may very well be another’s Irish coffee with a bonus side of chocolate cake and whipped cream! Get back on that bike, gracefully brush yourself off, and try again.
Even some of the world’s most popular and admired authors have been knocked back a time or two, but they never let themselves stay down for the count, they put their dukes back up and fought like hell. Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected, and Stephanie Meyer received a total of fourteen rejections before lucky number fifteen took a chance with the Twilight series. Now, suddenly the idea of receiving the first rejection is not so heavy on your shoulders, huh?
So, if you’re fortunate enough to find a message in your inbox one day which screams a huge, “Congratulations, we loved your work and would like to extend a contract”, believe and accept the compliment for once in your life, squelching any residual after-effects of that nasty thing called “self-doubt”. Respect the opportunity you’ve been given, grab the sucker by the horns and hold on for all it’s worth. And…be prepared for your friends and family to tell you a big fat “I told you so!”
As it turned out I was surrounded by people who wholeheartedly believed in me all along. It was just unfortunate it took a virtual stranger (my new editor) to make me realise it.
Comments transposed from original blog…
lisafulham298: Wow, if ever anyone NEEDED to read that, you found the right person in me.
I’m still at the OMG am I really GOING to do this whilst in realisation I AM already doing it.
Thank you so much, you really are a special lady who I admire so much and your friendship is very dear to my heart even as new as it is
Paige Thomas: You’re most welcome, and right back atchya, Sweetcheeks! Sometimes all we need is a little push in the right direction. The universe works in mysterious ways, and ever since my writing journey began I’ve found some spectacular friends…including you.