As the title of this post suggests, I have a book deal to announce!
At the end of October 2018, I went on sub with my women’s fiction novel sort of out of the blue about an opinionated, strong, anti-traditional Indian woman who falls for the man she never wanted to fall for. And 2 weeks later, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, I was offered a 2-book deal from Hachette/Grand Central/Forever!
I’ve waited so long to write this post, y’all don’t even know! My journey to publication has been long and tumultuous, filled with jagged crevices full of negativity. I could give you pages of detailed distress and how often I’d found myself amid shady situations…but there’s no point. Except to say that perseverance matters, as does learning from mistakes. Glancing behind is a reminder of how far I’ve come, how hard I’ve worked, and a test to true friendships. Now, I’m looking ahead.
I signed with my agent in early 2018 for a YA. A couple of months later, a long lost editor popped up to say that she’d really enjoyed my women’s fiction novel that I’d pitched to her an entire year earlier during DVPit. She wanted an R&R but getting notes to me took her MONTHS because life happens. She was busy with work and vacations and injuries and illnesses. Finally, we had a great phone call to discuss some wonderful, small revisions. I turned those in quickly.
A month after resubmitting, I asked my agent if we could sub widely. But there was a slight hitch. Remember aforementioned tumultuous publication journey with shadiness? Without going into details, things had happened before, which led to our conundrum: had this book really been subbed? In which case, it couldn’t be subbed again, at least not without significant revisions. I thought the book was DEAD, except for this one last editor who’d asked for an R&R. But my agent is wise. She loved this book, and we took our shot.
We agreed on a submission list but I was wary of a positive outcome. So I decided to let things fall where they may and let submissions float to the back of my thoughts.
We checked in with the R&R editor, who hadn’t gotten around to reading yet, and went out on sub at the end of October. A week later, the R&R editor notified us that she’d changed publishers and left editing. Nearly 2 years waiting and/or working with her was gone. But oddly enough, I wasn’t distraught or even disappointed. It happens, and in line with my publishing journey, fit the norm.
A week after that, merely 2 weeks after going on submission, on a Friday before Thanksgiving mind you, the editorial director at Hachette/Grand Central/Forever emailed us to let us know how much she enjoyed the book and had passed it on to Lexi, and that we would hear from her shortly.
My author brain went down a rabbit hole of “But what does that even mean??!!” Did it mean that she really liked it but hoped another editor took it on because she couldn’t? Well, what if that editor didn’t fall in love with it? Or did it mean that even an ED had to get second reads? I don’t know! But in the end, whatever I thought would happen, didn’t happen…and nothing that I thought could happen, happened!
After many calculations and consulting with the cosmos, I let it rest. Except, half an hour after the email, another popped up. Lexi gushed about how she much fell in love with the book, as had her entire team, and how she couldn’t turn the page fast enough and all the elements, and…and… It was a wonderful email that made my heart swell. How long have I waited to hear such words from an editor? And from one of my top imprints at that! I adore their books.
Lexi wanted to chat about a few editorial notes. I was like, I’m available ALL day today, ALL day next Monday, etc… I figured she was very busy, and it was the Friday before a holiday, but she was able to chat that day at 4! I’d calmed down by then and joined a conference call with Lexi and my agent. I knew it would go well, seeing how her enthusiasm bounced off of her emails! I’d just hoped this wasn’t another R&R.
The call went superbly. We meshed so well, and the editorial notes were not huge, giant, endless revisions. We quickly went over them and then…she began discussing book covers! So, while we chatted, I was looking up the covers to a few of the books she’d mentioned and liked her idea. Then she started asking about a second book. Which I didn’t have one in mind, but she did! Before we hung up, she told my agent that she’d get in touch with her in about an hour.
My agent and I were very excited and impressed with Lexi. The fact she loved the book so much and we shared the same vision and that her entire team had read and loved the book within the last 2 weeks! Wow! But, again, it had only been 2 weeks so there were all the other editors who hadn’t responded. Forever had been the first.
About an hour later, and it was now 5:30 on a Friday before Thanksgiving, we get an email from Lexi. I expected an expected timeframe of when they’d go to acquisitions. I was glad to make it even this far. An editor loved my book and second reads loved the book and the entire team loved the book. But books sometimes die at acquisitions, so I’d calmed myself. Until I read the email. It was a 2-book offer!
Finally, something was happening and it was happening fast! But, we had the weekend to contend with and the following week was only half a week because of Thanksgiving, so we expected to wait a bit longer than usual to hear back from editors.
By Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we’d heard back from all the editors and it was done. I already knew no one would match the enthusiasm and vision that the Forever team had. I’d even outlined the second book. In my head, I was already a Forever author. And now, in reality, I am a Forever author.