No, it isn’t my birthday.
OK, actually it is. It's my birthday. (Am I allowed to say that? Is that like some kind of big faux pas? Here's my whole thing about birthdays. You SHOULD get extra recognition on your birthday. You kind of need it to get through the day, because it's not like its a naturally fantastic moment in time. Sure, you might snag a few presents, but really it just means you're one year closer to death.)
(I would never end up having a Sixteen Candles forgotten birthday deal, because after about five minutes I’d be all, HELLO LOSERS, WHERE ARE MY PRESENTS?!)
(My husband likes to claim I forgot his birthday last year, but this is a wretched lie. He was getting ready to leave for work and I stumbled out to the kitchen. I was barely conscious, and he gave me a whole thirty seconds of head clearing time before he said, “I can’t believe you forgot my birthday.” I was like, “I didn’t forget your birthday - I’m not even AWAKE yet.” It’s not like I was going to forget it all day long. Probably.)
We celebrated my birthday on Monday, because Tuesday is one of our horrifically busy days, and today we were all home. Sarah used her actual piggy bank money to buy me a present. My husband tried to pay for it, but she insisted, and actually CRIED when he didn't use her dollar bills to pay the cashier. If that isn't so sweet it makes your teeth hurt, then you are DEAD INSIDE.
I answered some of the questions from the last post in the comments to the last post. Tonguu Mama was right - I’m kind of sick of talking about myself. (I KNOW! Who'd have thought?!) There are a few I didn't answer that I'll probably post about later. I know you can hardly stand waiting for my thrilling answers. Try to contain your excitement.
Aprel, Mandajuice and Melanie all wanted to know how things were going on the book front and I've been meaning to talk about that, because the whole thing is ridiculous. (Me + ridiculous = SURPRISING.)
So how things are going, how things are going, how things are going....
Wait. Before I tell you, first I'd better make sure we're all on the same page, that we're speaking the same LANGUAGE, that you know all about the whole publishing BAG.
Here is how traditional publishing works:
- In order to get published, you need an agent. They’re the gatekeepers for the publishing world.
- In order to get an agent, you have to write a query letter. Most agents get hundreds, if not thousands of query letters every month – so your letter has to be at least goodish.
- If the agent likes your query letter, she might ask you to send a partial manuscript – usually the first 30 to 50 pages or so.
- If the agent likes your partial, she might ask you to send her the full manuscript.
- If she likes your full manuscript enough, she might just go crazy and decide to represent you.
- If she represents you, she’ll shop your book around to publishers and you MIGHT get a book deal. And CHANCES ARE, if you get a book deal, she's gonna ask you for another cookie.
So if you've read for a while, you know that one night a few months back, I completely lost my mind and sent out query emails to a few agents in the middle of the night. Even though, uh, I hadn’t exactly written a manuscript. And by that I mean I’d written four pages.) But they were GOOD pages.)
I did not expect to get an answer, especially from a national agent who pretty much specialized in the kind of stuff I imagined I wrote. (I mean, I had no actual proof, but I was guessing - if I wrote something, it would be RIGHT UP HER ALLEY.)
But a few days later I did get a response, and she wanted to see a partial. So I got all blithery dithery and pounded out a partial, sent it to my critique partners (who told me exactly what I needed to fix), then sent it off to her after making my changes.
Now this agent said it would take her a couple of months to read the partial, and not to expect to hear from her before that time. So I planned to use the two months to finish the manuscript.
And I started. I did. I started to finish it. But when I didn’t hear from her for a few weeks, I started to have doubts. Because really, would it HONESTLY take her two months? Just because she'd said it would? Of course not. That was probably just her way of letting the bad writers down easily.
Obviously, the only reason she hadn't responded within the first two weeks was that she'd read it and decided it was the most horrible dreck that ever drecked. I re-read the partial approximately eighty times, and by the eighty-first read I was ready to stomp on it, burn it, curse it for the horror it was. There was no way she would like it, why bother finishing it, why bother even LIVING, blah blah dramatic blah.
So I stopped working on it.
And of course, a week or so ago she sent me an email. She really liked my partial and wants to read the full.
So now I'm working on the full, hoping that she'll still want to read it when I'm done. I figure – hey – what’s a little two month lapse, right? Right? RIGHT?
And so I sit here late at night after the kids are in bed and I’m done with my work, trying to write something funny and fluffy and my mind is a total blank. All I can think about is popsicles.
I’ve always wanted to be a real live published writer, and now that I have something close to an opportunity I’m completely frozen. It’s like those dreams you have where you’re back in high school and there’s this really important test you need to study for, and then suddenly you’re in the classroom and the test is right in front of you but you didn’t study, and also you’re naked.
My writer friends are all hating me right now, thinking "CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER," and "THIS IS KARMA" and such. And yes. Yes. THIS, THIS is why you don’t try to cheat the system, my friends.
WHY DO I DO THESE THINGS? WHY? WHY? WHY?
See, this is what being impulsive gets you. (Besides married. And owning a boat.) LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU.
PS: No – that isn’t my news. The news – I’m still percolating on that, but it’s nothing very exciting. I'll probably tell you about it later. I was just feeling a tad dramatic that day. (I like to be melodramatic, have you ever noticed? You probably haven't noticed. I'm subtle.)