Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's In! And More Milestones

by Stephanie Black

I did it! I finished my manuscript and submitted it! Hooray! (Apparently I’m channeling Dora the Explorer. “We did it! We did it! We did it! Hooray!” What I need now is a snail mariachi band to play a fanfare). So the book is in, and now comes the part where I wait to see what they think of it.


Since submitting a manuscript seems like a milestone-ish sort of event, I think it’s time for another Writing Milestone post. When I left off last time (okay, it was in June—I’m not exactly consistent with these posts) I had spent nearly a year rewriting The Believer to try to make it more LDS and less sci fi so it would appeal to Covenant’s market. I resubmitted it. And crossed my fingers and waited.

If I could pick a period of my life I would love to relive, that period in winter 2004 would NOT be it. I was worrying about the book—would it be a go this time? (That’s one of the distinctly un-fun thing about being a writer—you can work and dream and hope for years, and then you wait, knowing that your hopes could collapse in the time it takes to read the first few lines of an e-mail). In addition to book worries, I had just been called as Primary President, which was a new and daunting thing for me. And I was pregnant, and it was looking iffy. I’d had a second-trimester miscarriage a few months earlier, and now wasn’t sure if this new baby was going to happen. Not fun. (But it did go well, for which I’m very grateful—that baby is now in kindergarten).

Angela, the editor working with me, had told me if I hadn’t heard back by March 1st, to feel free to contact her. March 1st came and went. Being an insecure and ignorant newbie, I kept waiting (you can bet your last piece of Halloween candy—I mean your last good piece, not that piece of banana Laffy Taffy in the bottom of the bowl—that I wouldn’t wait now. I’d be e-mailing at 12:01 AM on March 1st). But I was shy and clueless and told myself, well, I have heard from her—she’d sent me an e-mail a month earlier asking for a bio form--and maybe that counted as hearing from them, so maybe I shouldn’t e-mail and pester them yet . . . yes, this is how my scared little newbie paranoid brain worked. Finally, ten days later, I couldn’t stand it any longer, and e-mailed Angela. We were living in Ireland, so we were seven hours ahead of Utah time. I sent the email in the afternoon (my time), then waited until after what I guessed would be the start of business hours in Utah, and checked my e-mail.

There was an e-mail from Angela.

Oh wow.

I opened it.

Her first line was a question—had the managing editor called me? My book had been accepted! I shrieked the news to my daughter. I called my husband and my mother, and celebrated by getting a sinus infection. Who knew sinus infections were so painful? Actually, we probably went out to dinner at some point to honor the occasion, but with my not-so-stellar memory, I can't remember details.

Learning that my book had been accepted for publication was a dream come true. For years, I’d worked and yearned, and now it was happening. They were going to publish my book. If I had to pick one Most Significant Writing Moment, that moment would probably be it. There have been many other awesome writing moments, but that milestone of climbing over the wall between unpublished and published was pretty momentous.


At 10/28/2009 5:12 PM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Congratulations, Stephanie, on getting your manuscript finished and submitted! Being rather round, I do look a bit like a snail, so I'll try to do, if not true mariachi, then some kind of fanfare for you.


At 10/28/2009 5:18 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

So, I guess Rob and Jeff, with their intense day jobs, have just abandoned the blog then? ;)

I'm sure Covenant will love the new book, no reason they wouldn't.

With milestones like that one, I can suddenly see why some writers take their manuscript and file it away, never to be seen again. =) My brother-in-law did that for a while, but eventually did submit and get published.

At 10/28/2009 6:01 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Oh, you're so right about that last piece of laffy taffy. Ugh. I'll skip that one, thank you!

Congrats on the MS submit! I know you'll hear back great things!

At 10/28/2009 9:16 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thanks, Melanie, Jon, and LT!

Jon, I figure Rob didn't post because he was finishing up his book for the World Fantasy Convention. I'd give Jeff a hard time about being a slacker, but I didn't post last week, so I guess it would be a tad hypocritical . . . but still fun.

Is your brother-in-law working on something new?

At 10/28/2009 9:34 PM, Blogger Melanie J said...

I love milestone stories. I especially related about not waiting to email the next time around. When I had my pitch session with Covenant at Storymakers, I already had one manuscript in. I was pitching a second since I hadn't heard back on the first (it had been four months). When I mentioned to the editor that I had been invited to resubmit the first, his eyes got wide and he asked me to recap the synopsis for him. Then he grinned and said that he couldn't go on the record but I should be getting some good news very soon based on the previous Wednesday's editorial meeting. I figured for sure I'd hear something the next week. But I didn't. And I have no idea why I didn't email right away. But I didn't. Finally, almost a month later, I finally emailed and got a response back: "Oh, sorry we forgot to tell you. You're in!"


But I would definitely not wait again in the future. I guess it's all part of the learning curve. Congratulations on submitting. I hope I get to say the same thing by this Friday. I'm in the last throes of revision on MS #2.

At 10/28/2009 10:36 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Melanie J, congratulations!!! That's absolutely fantastic! Have they told you when they'll be releasing it? Tell us about your book!

I think with that first submission, we authors are so afraid of appearing pushy or pesky that sometimes we hesitate to contact the publisher even when we have a good reason to do so!

At 11/02/2009 9:56 PM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

Congratulations!!! I loved your sotry and am excited for a new book from you!


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