The Call 2.0

Unlike the first call story, this one ends with an actual phone call. But it started on Twitter.

At the beginning of April, Carina Press held a pitch event. The promise was that you’d hear within two months and if it was rejection, you’d received personalized feedback. I had just signed a contract with Crimson to publish Brave in Heart, but I was working through a contemporary manuscript with my critique partner, The Easy Part.

It’s a book that I love, but one I was convinced I would never be able to sell because it’s set between staffers in Washington, DC. It’s political, and it’s wonky, and there’s an Alzheimer’s subplot. I had already sent it to one publisher (name redacted), from whom I received the dreaded, “I like your writing, but…” rejection. That editor objected to the partisanship implicit in the premise. I was convinced if I wanted The Easy Part to see the light of day, I would have to self-publish it. So I pitched in #carinapitch mostly because I wanted a second opinion — I wanted to know if the book had a shot with a traditional publisher.

Also, among the epublishers, Carina was my first choice. I have loved all the Carina books I’ve read. Plus, I think Carina is just plain smart and savvy about today’s book market. For a manuscript like The Easy Part, which is very youthful and contemporary, it seemed like a good fit. But even with my hopes, I never anticipated that they’d make an offer.

My pitch was: “Millie — a shy labor organizer – is having a bad year; Parker – an arrogant congressional aide — is having an existential crisis. Together they’ll discover that compared to love, politics is easy.” And a few minutes after putting it on Twitter, I had a request for a full manuscript.

But then, the waiting began.

Continue reading “The Call 2.0”

The Call

It wasn’t a call at all, actually. It was an email. But you know what I mean: the moment you get an offer from a publisher. The moment you start dreaming of long before you finish writing a book and which haunts you for years, until you begin to doubt that it ever will come true.

Mine came a couple of weeks ago.

Let’s rewind. I started writing fiction during National Novel Writing Month in 2011. My first effort, Together is Enough, is a primal scream about graduate school and the politics of higher ed wrapped in a romance novel. It’s basically a hot mess.

Despite the fact that Together is Enough is cliched, badly plotted, and not infrequently hilarious when it shouldn’t be, I enjoyed the writing. A lot. After a lifetime of reading fiction — obsessively, compulsively, voraciously — I was creating it.

It was hard, yo. And I had a lot to learn. Oh did I have a lot to learn! Continue reading “The Call”