If my proposal survives Publication Board, then I'll be a step closer to publication. If not, then my agent will have to start sending it to other publishing houses.
Whatever happens, I've gained some valuable insights from my first experience getting my foot inside the traditional publishing door.
- Be flexible: The editor asked if I'd be open to writing a different third book than I'd originally planned. Although we all have our babies, the projects we love and labor over, I've learned that we can't get too attached. We have to remain open to new ideas and directions in our writing.
- Trust the experts: I don't understand the narrowness of market, the saleability of certain books, or the obstacles new authors face as they try to develop a readership. I have my opinions about what I think would be good for my books. But since I'm inexperienced, shouldn't I trust those whose blood pulses with the knowledge of the market?
- Stay humble: I've had to realize again and again, just how new I am. Like a recently hired employee, I have to start at the bottom. I have to work hard, have a teachable spirit, and respect the authors, agents, and editors who are further along.
- Grow in patience: I'm reminded that the writing life is synonymous with waiting. We wait for critiques, contest results, answers to queries, acceptance from agents/editors. Then once we have an agent/editor we wait for emails, phone calls, news on book proposals, editors to read our work, and committees to make decisions. The waiting is endless, which leads to my last point.
- Keep on writing: I've learned that I'm able to wait much easier if I move on to my next book and keep myself busy doing what I love--writing. Once we send off our work and it's out of our hands, then the best thing we can do for ourselves is start the next project and take pride in making it even better than the previous one.
What do you think? Do new authors have a right to make demands on agents and editors? Or do you think we should earn the right?