This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
About one month before my book deal moment there was hardly anyone in the world who knew that I liked to write. I expect it’s the same with a lot of you author-to-bes. Admitting to the world, or even to your friends and family, that you’d like to, maybe, one day, if possible, be an author is mega-scary, and opens up a part of you to judgment and criticism (and praise, hopefully, but the threat of everyone you know thinking your story idea is bloody awful outweighs the potential positives). It’s scary because it invites two incredibly hard questions every time people see you: “How’s your writing going?” (to which you often shamefully answer, “I haven’t really done anything about it yet, I’ve been so busy with work/the holiday/my cat”) and “What’s your book about?” (and no matter how awesome your idea is, when trying to sum it up in a few sentences, it sounds utterly crap, you wish you’d never told them and quite want to run away from this evil person and hide under a duvet and cry).
I’d been pretty much silently hoping for years that I could get a book deal without having to actually put myself out there, and one day I thought, bugger this, and entered a short story into Belinda Jones’ Sunlounger competition. It was shortlisted! I am a genius, I thought. I didn’t win; the incredibly lovely and deserving Holly Martin did, but shortly after, I was contacted by Manpreet Grewal at Little, Brown Book Group, who I was lucky enough to have known a few years back when we both worked at Random House.“What’s your schedule like?” she asked.
“Clear…” Read: no social life.
“We want to do a serialised book at Christmas. Do you have a Christmas book in you?”
“O HOLY NIGHT, DO I?”
And from there I frantically wrote out my synopsis, some sample material and waited. The Little, Brown editorial meeting was happening on the Monday, and if The Twelve Dates of Christmas passed that it would go to the terrifying Acquisitions meeting on Wednesday. Monday afternoon ticked along while I sat at the desk of my day job watching the clock and refreshing my emails.
It made it through. Hooray! Shit! This just got serious.
Then came Wednesday, the Day of Lisa’s Fate (aka the Acquisitions meeting). I sat at my desk thinking about it all day, and then in the afternoon – right about the time I knew the Acquisitions meeting would be finishing up over there in Little, Brown Towers – I had to go to a meeting of my own. Gah, life is so unfair. I spent my meeting utterly unfocused on anything other than wondering what Manpreet was doing. What if they didn’t like my writing? What if they did? This would mean that a major publishing house actually wanted to publish me…
After I was let out, I had an email waiting for me from Manpreet, a very ominous “Can I call you? We need to talk.” Either she had good news, bad news, or was about to break up with me because my writing was so awful.
I stood in the corridor of my office and called her. “Hang on,” she said, moving away to somewhere quiet and prolonging my agony. Then, “You’re going to be an author!” It had made it through! MY LITTLE CHRISTMAS BOOK WAS ACCEPTED! *Quiet office squeal* So then it was just down to me to stop being a scaredy cat and tell everyone…
Part 3 of Lisa's new serliased book, You Had Me At Merlot, is out on July 28.