1. BE WHERE YOU ARE – When you get an agent, and then when you sell your book, there will be lots of hurrying to do something (such as meeting a looming deadline) and lots of waiting for something to happen (such as the release of your book.) With all of this waiting and hurrying, life starts to look like it’s happening on the horizon. The trick is to remember to be where you are all the time, which is in the present. Suggested tips for finding yourself now: Mindfulness Meditation. Walks, showers and playtime with kids and/or pets. Anything spontaneous.
a. Your book needs to be perfect before you query and/or go on submission. That is false. Your book actually doesn’t need to be perfect. Don’t get me wrong—make it as good as you can—but remember that when you get the book deal, you will be working with an editor whose job—nay, whose passion—will be to help improve your story. This is good to know because telling a perfectionist (like myself) that something needs to be perfect is like showing a puppy its tail and saying, Go get it!
b. Editors don’t edit anymore. Untrue. They do. At least in my very fortunate experience.
3. YOU MAY HAVE MORE THAN ONE OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE (OBE) – Seeing your book cover for the first time may result in an out of body experience. Even if it is just a mock-up. Same thing can be said for: receiving and signing your contract, receiving your first payment as a professional writer, receiving your first editorial letter, reading a review of your book by a perfect stranger. From the minute you get agent interest until…. I don’t know when it ends yet, emotional whiplash is a daily possibility. See next entry for suggested tips.
4. IT HELPS TO KNOW HOW TO BOUNCE - Writing is different when you know people will read it. All of a sudden, it’s not just your internal critic breaking you down but that person on Amazon, or Goodreads, or at the grocery store, who might actually read your book. So the good news is your internal critique now has friends! Hey, if you can’t laugh, then… cry. Which may happen. But it’s all good. You bounce back from stuff eventually. So, yeah. Be ready to bounce. Suggested tips for bouncing back: Laugh, cry, eat chocolate.
5. YOUR CHARACTERS BECOME REAL PEOPLE. You will have conversations with people who have formulated whole mental pictures of your characters. People may even have feelings for your characters. They may even think one of your characters is hot, which is very satisfying because you do, too. I digress. The point is that you realize they (your characters) matter more than you (the author), which is a Really Good Thing.
6. AS WRITERS, WE ARE ALL ALIKE – We all have the same bug. We live in our imagination. We make up fake people and give them goals and problems. We like words and we love stories. Getting to know people in this herd is a Really Good Thing because:
a. It’s fun knowing people who know what WIPs and MCs and POVs and ARCs are without you having to explain. It’s kind of like being in the military, but different. Maybe a little less cool, but it’s still cool.
b. Your friends will celebrate with you and you will celebrate with them, and life is better when there’s lots of celebrating. That is a proven fact.
7. AS WRITERS, WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT - Contracts. Publication Dates. Author Photos. Titles. Websites. Every writer’s journey is unique. Play the comparison game at your own risk. While you can learn from your peers, your path is your own. So wear comfortable shoes and be fearless.
8. A GOOD WRIST GUARD IS ESSENTIAL – What? you say. All of this extraordinary insight and this is in here? Wait until you are making a six-week revision sprint, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I like the Futuro, by the way. Fully adjustable, easy to wear for hours. Comes for left and right-handed, but why choose? Buy both, unless you type one-handed. If you do type novel-length works one-handed then we need to talk.
9. YOU JUST HAVE A NEW BELL TO RING NOW – I had this notion that getting a book deal was the equivalent of ringing the bell at the top of a rock wall. It’s not. There is a lot of work and worry that follows. You get a new rock wall, and a new bell to ring. Which is a Really Good Thing if you love to write, because now at least you’ve rung the bell once, and so your muscles are more limber and stuff, and you know about using your LEGS to climb and not your ARMS. In our case we are using our MINDS. Notice I said using them, not losing them, but that is also a possibility in this process. Don’t fear it. Embrace the insanity when you need to. (See reference to six-week revision sprint above.)
a. It’s all about the writing. I’d heard this before but it never resonated with me the way it does now. Writing is where it started for me and no matter where my adventures in publishing go, I’ll always have that. I’ll always have the ability to conjure up worlds and scenarios. There’s power in knowing that – in just the very act of doing something I love.
b. Patience, Persistence & Passion – Four score and seven years ago, during the welcome speech at my very first writing conference, literary agent Andrea Brown offered the three Ps listed above as the secret formula to getting published. She was right. These qualities seem to be crucial to just about every part of publishing, and really, all-around solid guidelines for life, wouldn’t you say?
And that is (almost) all. I’m following Talia’s lead. I leave you with apicture of Ivan, our new kitten. We get him in two weeks, at which point we will decide if he is Ivan the Great, or Ivan the Terrible.


I could totally relate to almost everything you mentioned. I'm at the first revisions with my agent stage, but looking forward to everything else that comes afterwards. We have to experience the good and the bad to know just how good good can be. (Hope that makes sense.) Thanks for this post!

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Thanks, Susanne! And congratulations, Nicole! Good luck with the revisions and yes - that makes total sense.

Great post--can't wait for it to apply to me! :)

These are really good to know. I love the 3 Ps. I try to remind myself these all the time. Publishing is nothing like you expect when you first try seeking it.

Ivan is adorable! Oh and great post! (Sorry I was distracted by all that fur). All of these points are so true.

Thank you! This is very helpful. Especially the part about your book not needing to be perfect before you submit. Even though perfection is obviously unattainable, it's still really great to hear someone say it.

You couldn't be more right. After the book deal an entirely new journey begins. Thanks for an amazing post and great advice. It's STILL all about the writing, isn't it?

So well said V. I'm definitely bookmarking this to come back to. Thank you!

Also: OMG-your-kitten-is-so-cute-I-want-to-scratch-his-little-cheeks! Oh, and as someone with 5 cats, I can tell you, they're all "the terrible." But that's what makes them great. :)

Ivan the cute, I'd say...great speech...should have saved it for

Shucks, guys. Thanks for your comments! I'm so glad there was something in here of worth. Even if it is Ivan ; )

I've never heard all of this summed up SO well! You're a genius, but I already knew that. ;)

Love the chance to share in the insights you've developed to this point! So exciting--and perspective-full. After a cup of coffee, I'll come up with a better word. :) Can't wait for the Ivan report! He's a looker!

It's good to read about what's happening to you now, as a writer and HUMAN BEING. Huh. Not sure why I capitalized those words. And the advice to stay-in-the-now is very helpful and wise. Ivan is utterly precious.

Haha, PB - I LIKE that you capped HUMAN BEING. Important words, those. Worthy of caps.And perspective-full is perfect, Julianne. And thanks, Jess. High praise from the likes of you. hugs all around.

This was a GREAT post! Thanks for sharing and in such detail. *loved*

Thanks, Naomi! Hope the writing is going well!

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