Below, author Taylor Jenkins Reid tells Novelicious about the moment she got a book deal for her first book.
In the Spring on 2012, I had finished writing my novel, Forever, Interrupted, and I had queried and signed with an agent, but I knew the hard part was just beginning. I had to wait to see if it sold.
My agent sent me the list of the editors she was targeting. For weeks, I refreshed my inbox hoping for news – praying for good news. Instead, I got no news and bad news. Weeks of hearing nothing at all were interrupted only by the occasional update that an editor had passed.
One day at work, I got an email that someone else had passed. I took my lunch break early because the disappointment was almost too much bear. I pulled over in my car, onto a side street, and cried onto my steering wheel. I thought to myself, “It’s never going to happen. It isn’t in the cards for me.”
And then, days later, suddenly it was. I had an email from my agent saying an editor at Atria/Simon & Schuster was interested.
The thing they don’t tell you about book deals, the part they leave out even though it is perhaps the
most dramatic and excruciating, is that it doesn’t all happen at once. Sometimes, you find out on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend that an editor at Simon & Schuster wants to talk to you next week. And you spend the entire weekend unable to move, staring at the ceiling, daydreaming of the possibilities of what is to come, terrified you’ve gotten your hopes up for nothing at all.
That Monday, my husband insisted that I get out of bed and live a little. It was, after all, Memorial Day. So we got dressed and headed to the beach. We were on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles planning to have lunch on the water in Malibu when I got an email from my agent asking if I had a proposal for a second book. She told me if I did I should send it to her and we could try to get a two book deal.
A two book deal? Now we were talking about things beyond my wildest dreams.
We got off the freeway at the next exit and u-turned back home. My husband went out to get me some lunch and a virtually endless supply of Diet Coke. I wrote a proposal for another book in 12 hours, sitting at my kitchen table, doing my best work under pressure.
Days later, I had an offer letter: Simon & Schuster. Two book deal.
Days before, I had sat in my car and cried, believing I’d never achieve my dream. And now, right in front
of me, there was evidence that I’d somehow surpassed it.
Once you sign a book deal, and you get to work on sharing your novel with the world, your dreams change. They become bigger and broader; they become more challenging and sometimes more unlikely. I don’t know how well my two books will do out there in the hands of readers. But I try not to worry about it too much.
I’ve learned that it’s nearly impossible to predict your own successes and failures. Sure, there are some
hard moments that await me. I will no doubt find myself crying on my steering wheel again at some point in my life. But I also have no idea when the universe will surprise me, when it will offer an opportunity so exciting that I turn the car around to seize the day.