Publishing Achievement Unlocked!

February 1st of 2018, while sitting in my office chair, my kids playing some video game on their PCs next to me, I saw that my email box had filled over the past several hours. I had been busy working on an outline for a new thriller and thought a break was due. I opened my inbox and glanced at the senders, some of them from the same damned companies that refuse to take me off their distribution list despite requesting it on their unsubscribe button for months on end. When I saw one sender, an editor with The Wild Rose Publishing company out of New York, one Leanne Morgena, who had requested a full manuscript perhaps only six weeks prior, my heart began to pound. She’d made a commitment to get back to me around mid-February and the email back from her was early–something I hadn’t experienced in the industry for the previous two years at the start of my journey. It caught me off guard, and the adrenaline shot out of my kidneys pumping me full of fight-or-flight fuel. I looked away from the screen unsure if I was ready for bad news. I also hoped the kids’ headphones were turned up in case I needed to let off a little verbal pressure. Swallowing my cowardice, I clicked on the email. My eyes darted to the first sentence, then I felt lightheaded. She loved it! I looked over at my oldest killing pixels on a monitor when a text box showed up indicating an in-game achievement had been unlocked. Well, that made two of us.
Next came a long email describing the entire process and what she’d like me to work on. After what was probably a jumble of nonsense about my excitement in my written response, the request for a contract was pushed up to the senior editor for the thriller line. What was to be about ten days, or so, turned out to be forty-eight hours on a contract offer turnaround. Once again, this publisher kept exceeding my expectations that had been set by less than stellar responses in the previous two years. Like several key moments in my past that were both important to me and life-changing, one thing stands out in my mind; everything seemed to fall into place perfectly–like it was meant to be. This time was no different.
Over the next couple of days, I caught my breath a bit. I had a little time to reflect on the whole process and I think I learned something I wasn’t expecting. I wondered why this felt so right. Yeah, sure, I got a deal on my first novel. Isn’t that what a lot of us are trying to do? So, no surprise there. But, why did it feel different than the partials and fulls that were ultimately rejected? No, it wasn’t because I was getting a contract, or someone finally loved it enough to stick their neck out on my work. What I learned was that I finally determined what was really important to me. Not just a publishing contract but what was the reason this felt so ‘right’. I’ve concluded that I crave strong communication with people that I work with. I’m sure that, deep down, each one of us yearns for one specific thing that draws us in more than anything else–besides the obvious publishing deal. Some may want that comforting hand-holding, or is it high praise or a splashy announcement to the world? I’ve concluded that, for me, I want to work with people who are committed to timelines and strong lines of communication with everyone holding each other accountable. The German in me is strong. From Leanne, all the way up to the president of the company whom I met back last September at a conference to kick-off this process, every single person set timeframes and were very specific in outlining the next steps. This appealed greatly both to my heritage and my former career in medicine. Ultimately, I’m just as satisfied by the work habits of everyone at The Wild Rose Publishing firm as I am to the book deal.
So what is your true need beyond a publisher ready to work with you to bring your baby to life? What is it you crave the most? When you find that, when someone comes along and offers it to you, beyond the contract, that’s when all the planets will align and you say “it felt like it was meant to be.” Keep grinding my fellow writers. You can only fail if you quit.

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