Sweet darlings! Yesterday, I told you the first half of the story of how DAMSEL DISTRESSED found its way into the hands of the right people at the right time. Now, for the dramatic conclusion! Part 2!
If you missed part 1, read it here, and for information about the new book, click here! 😀
Just three days after Danielle received my book, she wanted to talk to me on the phone. Of course, I was freaking out a little bit because, well, honestly, I didn’t know what to think. I’d never spoken to Danielle. We didn’t even follow each other on TWITTER. (Which means, we were basically dead by omission in each other’s lives, amirite?) I mean, I hadn’t submitted to her press. I hadn’t asked to be considered for publication, but at the same time, I believe that everything happens as it should, so if she read it and had thoughts about it, I planned to listen.
When we got on the phone and she told me that she’d love to publish my book, my heart stopped. It actually stopped because I felt like I was being torn in two.
I hope that every writer who sells a book gets to hear an editor say what Danielle said that day. Danielle said things during that phone call that I will remember for as long as I live. And I know now, and I knew then, that having an editor with a passion for your project—with this level of excitement—is not something to be tossed aside.
I knew that my buddies with mega-book-deals love their editors, but that sometimes the “let-me-discuss-this-with-the-committee” part of having a deal at a huge publisher made some of that initial fire seem diminished.
I knew that, somehow, working with Danielle seemed right… It felt like she was the person who was “meant” to usher my book into the world.
But at the same time… I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted an agent. I wanted that partnership. It was a non-negotiable part of the journey for ME.
Even more, I knew that my agent was out there, waiting for me… and I knew that I was close. I could just feel it.
I was overwhelmed with fear as I told Danielle that I would like to have just a bit more time. Just a little bit more time to see if I could turn up the heat and obtain representation before her offer expired. She was gracious and generous, and told me to take my time and to do what would make me happy.
She told me—she actually told me—that the most important thing to her was that my story be told… no matter what that meant for her, or their press, or time, or whatever.
I was floored. And I knew that I would have to get extremely lucky in how all of this played out, or I might just lose it all.
Back to my agent spreadsheet I went. It was all covered in red, but I took a breath and pulled out the big guns.
I’d kept a special list of favorites—a special list of people that I wanted to work with… agents that I considered “dream” agents or “rockstar” agents or whatever you want to call them.
Almost every line was already red, except one. One dream agent that I’d been too frightened to query… until now. I’d literally been too afraid to send her my query because I was too afraid that she’d say no. I’d admired her from afar for a long time, and I just couldn’t stomach the thought of highlighting her name in red.
I sent a dry query to Jessica Sinsheimer, and I mentioned that there was an offer on the table from Danielle, but that I was very sure that I wanted to obtain representation prior to selling my manuscript ANYWHERE. I had no way to know if my little note would even make it out of the slush pile. She didn’t know me. She hadn’t requested from me before. Oh, and it was 2 weeks before Christmas.
And then, as I sat and waited and died a little bit each minute, she responded. And she wanted to read it.
I sent it right away, and just three days later… the same number of days that it took Danielle to read it, by the way (I love numerical coincidences like that)
… Jessica wanted to speak with me.
If Jessica had wanted to sign me and put me in her pocket for the next several years, I would have let her. I would have been satisfied to have someone with her experience and reputation in my corner, even just to guide me through the motions with Spencer Hill.
But after just one conversation with Jessica, I knew I’d hit the agent jackpot. Jessica was not content to take my book–or the offer I already had–at face value. Almost immediately, she began brainstorming and thinking faaaaaaar outside the box. She didn’t just want my book to be a book. She wanted my book to be something more—because she believed that it could be. She picked up on the little pieces of musicality and theatricality in my manuscript, and eventually, she got me to spill my guts and tell her all about my former life as a teenaged recording artist, and my present day moonlighting as half of the indie pop band Wedding Day Rain.
As a creative person, sharing ideas with another creative person is an tremendously bonding experience.
And in those moments, Jessica became so much more than just my “representation”… she became a collaborator. And she had an idea that would make DAMSEL DISTRESSED something completely new, musical, and magical.
I didn’t have to tell my story in one way. And DAMSEL DISTRESSED didn’t have to stay on its pretty white pages. It would also be strummed and sung and heard. We would find a way to make my story come alive as a book and as an album. And we’d do it together.
Once the creativity was flowing, and the discussions were hatching, there were several magical, serendipitous, special little things that happened, and soon enough, we all knew that Spencer Hill Contemporary was the perfect home for my story. The home I had believed it could be all along.
Somehow, I found myself with an agent who believes in me, and supports me, and collaborates with me, and inspires me to make, do, and be MORE.
And I also found myself with an editor who understands my story completely—from the inside out. I have an editor who not only knows my character, but loves and breathes her almost as much as I do. I have an editor who cherishes and nurtures my book with as much care as she would give her own.
These two people break my heart with joy. It’s not their fault, really, but my heart simply wasn’t made to hold this much happiness at one time. This much appreciation. This much gratitude.
So, there you have it. The story about how my book managed to find representation and publication.
This book wouldn’t exist at all if it weren’t for my number one partner in crime, my husband Daron. We joke that he wrote 50% of my book, but really, his support and inspiration are 100% responsible for anything awesome that I happen to stumble upon.
And my friends, critique partners, and every single reader… I will never be able to thank you for the time and attention you gave to my words. That investment is one that is so difficult to repay, and as such, I imagine I will remain indebted to you for a very long time indeed.
This book means so very much to me. And I hope that it comes to mean something special to you as well.